Pupils create their own hovercrafts

A hovercraft challenge will see a group of Northumberland students competing for a national award for excellence in technology this week.

Over six weeks, the group of 15 Year 8 pupils at Hirst Park Middle School in Ashington, have created ride-on hovercrafts that have been cruising around the playground.

Their commitment to the project has seen them awarded 12 bronze and three silver Crest awards by science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) ambassadors at Northumbria University.

The 12 and 13-year-olds have this week presented their ideas in the regional heats of the national science and engineering competition at Northumbria University.

Karen Dunlop, Key Stage 3 maths coordinator at Hirst Park Middle School, said: “What the students have achieved is outstanding and I am immensely proud. The project helps develop problem-solving skills, communication and creativity and in a short space of time I have seen it having a positive impact on pupils’ work in other lessons such as maths and science.

“When we first said they’d be building a hovercraft I think they thought it would be a model with balloons but when the power tools came out it started to get interesting.

“The science and engineering competition is a fantastic opportunity to compete with their peers on a regional, and hopefully, national level and showcase the engineering talent we have here in the north east.”

If successful, the group will go to the finals in March 2016.