Back in July, the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) invited local schools to participate in its Water Rocket Challenge, an educational event that raises money for Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.
Since the year 2000, over 1,000 school, family, public and NPL teams have participated in the challenge, with an estimated 20,000+ rockets launched.
NPL recognises the need to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, by promoting the importance of metrology (the science of measurement) and ensuring they are equipped to use it correctly to solve some of the greatest challenges of our time.
Metrology and measurement are fundamental to every aspect of our lives, from our healthcare and the manufacturing of products we use every day, to mitigating climate change and reducing waste.
Through the Water Rocket Challenge, NPL aims to create a measurement community that brings a lively practice of STEM skills into the lives of all involved.
The teams bring their own rockets, which they have designed, and then they compete in the challenge to launch and land their rockets the furthest and aim to repeat their results in each round. Points are also awarded for best team name, best banner and rocket design.
The challenge consists of three rounds and the aim is to land an air pressurised rocket, using water as a propellant, exactly 70m from the aim is to land an air pressurised rocket, using water as a propellant, exactly 70m from the launch point.
To achieve this, all participants undertake measurements: the more accurate the measurements, the more successful the launch and land of their rockets.
Once again, NPL donated the proceeds of the event to local charity Shooting Star Children’s Hospices. The charity cares for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families, across Surrey and London. The charity has two purpose-built hospices, Christopher’s in Guildford and Shooting Star House in Hampton, offering the very best in specialist facilities and equipment in a comfortable and homely environment.
Their bespoke support is free of charge to families and includes a comprehensive range of therapies for the whole family, specialist nursing care and respite, end-of-life care and bereavement support. The children’s hospice charity is a lifeline to over 700 families and the demand for their care service is forever increasing.
Of the donation, NPL’s Outreach Manager Andrew Hanson MBE said: “As a local resident, and having worked with people with complex needs, I’m personally delighted with our ongoing support for this charity. The daily impact they bring to so many people is astounding.”
Shooting Star Children’s Hospices Community Fundraiser Ellie Constable stated: “We are so grateful to everyone at NPL and those involved in the Water Rocket Challenge for once again supporting Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.
It’s such a brilliant initiative – what a great way to inspire the next generation of budding scientists, all whilst raising money for your local children’s hospice charity. We feel so lucky to have had the support from NPL for a number of years now, and it’s only thanks to our amazing supporters that we are able to continue providing vital care to children and their families who need us, now and in the future.”