KHF Outreach
Students Learn by Living Life in the Fast Lane
26th May 2011

"Zero Gravity" team with earlier F1 model car continues to prepare for
Saturday's Competition

It's one o'clock on a spring Saturday afternoon but 16-year old Tala Ramadan isn't out shopping or catching a matinee with her girlfriends at the mall.

Instead the 10th grader from the Jubilee School in Amman, Jordan is hard at work in the Jubilee Center for Excellence in Education's (JCEE) "F1 in Schools" lab.  Ramadan carefully aligns a block of light-weight balsa wood under the powerful drill of the lab's CAM machine, while checking to make sure that the model's design specifications correspond with the model Formula 1 car the large 3D printer is about to carve out of her block of wood.

Ramadan and fellow teammate Shorouq Ahmad explain that as team "designers" a lot of work went into preparing for this step in creating their model "Formula 1 in Schools" car.

"Before we make any design, we have to look at many designs of cars," Ramadan said, "maybe some real cars, [we] study aerodynamics, [we] study air friction, and other variables."

The design is created by using the 3D CAD software in the "F1 in Schools" lab in the Jubilee School.

The miniature balsa wood F1 cars weigh only 55-60 grams, are 50 millimeters tall, 65 millimeters wide and 170-210 millimeters long.

The goal is to create a model "F1 in Schools" car that will clock the fastest time along the stretch of a 20-meter track during "The Formula One Technology Challenge in Schools Jordan Competition 2011" on Saturday, May 28.

After the CAM machine carves the car, there is still plenty of work to be done; the wood has to sanded down, the model has to be painted, the wheels have to be added and stickers applied if the team is able to secure sponsors.

15-year old Shorouq says she’s learned a lot while trying to design the ideal racing car.

"I learned a lot about physics, about aerodynamics," she said, "and I learned how to work with a team that I never knew before."  Shorouq also remarked that the project has taught her how to manage her time more effectively.

Their "Zero Gravity" team is made up of four girls and two boys.

While they experienced some problems with the carving of this particular model F1 car, they both seemed pleased with the design they created:

"It looks almost like the real Formula 1 cars," said Ramadan, holding the light-weight model in her hand, "it's very very thin from the front, and it has wings that take away air resistance when it comes to the wheels, and it has these things on the side, they're almost like wings…when it moves its supposed to make its movement more smooth."

They ended up carving a 3rd model based on the same design for Saturday’s competition and Shorouq says she hopes their F1 car will clock a time of 1.5 seconds or less.

Both girls say they are excited about their team's chances in the competition, and they've completed one of the most difficult aspects of the project; securing sponsors for the team.
They actually managed to secure four sponsors.  So whose name gets top billing?

"The one who pays us more gets his name on the car, on the tee-shirts," explained Ramadan.

The miniature model F1 cars are powered by tiny silver cylinders of CO2 placed inside the body of the car.  The canister is pierced by depressing the start button, which launches the car down the track.  There is also an "automatic" launch mode.

Tala and Shorouq aren't the only ones hard at work in the "F1 in Schools" lab on Saturday; three teens from the Positive Thinking Center are also busy at work painting the model Formula 1 car they designed.

16-year old Ali Said says he likes spending Saturdays working on the project.

"I like things that relate with engineering," he said, "I like cars, I like Formula 1…and maybe I'll need it in college or in my work, I'm planning to be an engineer in the future."

Said says his favorite Formula 1 driver is seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, who currently drives for Mercedes.  He says he and his teammates hope to clock a time that’s "close to one second" during Saturday’s competition.

Program director, Ismail Yasein, hopes the excitement of the sport will translate into practical knowledge for students who participate in the competition.

"The 'F1 in Schools' competition is a true example of knowledge production which helps students learn to produce and implement creative projects and be involved in national and international competitions," he said.  "It is also an excellent tool to train students in research and perseverance, while providing them with hands-on training in the areas of design software, engineering, electronics, physics, and mathematics."

The JCEE purchased the franchise to run "F1 in Schools - The Formula One Technology Challenge" in 2010 and the Jubilee School houses the only lab and official track to be used by teams registered for the competition.

TheJCEEdevelops innovative curricula and training programs for students and teachers and administrators in public and private schools in the use of advanced educational technology.

11 teams are registered to participate in the Jordan competition; 8 teams from the Jubilee School, 1 team from the Amman National School, 1 team from the King Abdullah II School for Excellence in Salt, and 1 team from the Positive Thinking Center in Amman.

Winners will be judged on teamwork, research, design presentation, and speed of the model Formula 1 car they designed.

The winning team will secure a 1,000 JD prize and qualify to represent Jordan in "The F1 in Schools World Finals Malaysia 2011" in September.

"F1 in Schools" is an international program designed to encourage students to learn more about science and technology in a fun environment.

This program is part of the enhanced educational program at the Jubilee School, where students select 12 out of more than 40 elective courses.  At least half of the elective courses must be selected from the fields of math, science, design and technology.
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