STEM Learning Gets Supersonic Boost From Swagelok

Posted by Alecia Robinson on Thu, Sep 28, 2017 @ 14:09 PM





An attempt to set a new land speed record inspires students in the classroom


 bloodhound.jpgSwagelok is partnering with a Northeast Ohio school district to bring access to BLOODHOUND-themed STEM education programs, watch the video here.


Teachers in Hudson, Ohio, have a great tool for pepping up math and science lessons for fourth-graders: a supersonic car called the Bloodhound.

The Bloodhound is a British-built attempt to set a new land speed record. Swagelok parts are crucial in the car's hydraulics, and especially the brakes. (Good brakes are important in any car, but especially one designed to reach speeds of up to 1,600 km/h.)

So two years ago, Swagelok approached Hudson Superintendent Phil Herman to see if the district would be interested in exploring science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) content available through Swagelok's work on the Bloodhound. Through a series of meetings and brainstorming session, the school decided that fourth graders would make an ideal audience.

High-powered learning

“We examined the Bloodhound STEM content through the lens of project-based learning and then reflected on what essential questions could be posed to incorporate the content,” says Christina Wooley, PK-12 curriculum coordinator, Hudson City School District.

Throughout the 2016-2017 school year, two teams of fourth-grade teachers have integrated Bloodhound lessons across a wide range of subjects: earth, physical and life sciences; physics; chemistry; language arts; social studies; and English. The program ends with the students designing, building and racing Bloodhound model rocket cars.

Take a look

You can see the excitement in the kids' faces in this five-minute video from Swagelok

"The education side of the project is paramount. If we build the car and just went racing but didn't inspire anybody, I don't think the project would have the value that it has now," says Tony Parraman, sponsor liaison with Bloodhound SSC.

The Bloodhound gives the students' imaginations a big boost. As curriculum coordinator Christina Wooley put it, a typical science lab would give the students a series of steps to follow, and that's that. With the Bloodhound as a focus, students can explore in many different directions.

They also get to see how problems are tackled in the real world.

"I liked the design and building part, how you can design something on paper, and then if it doesn't work you can start over," says one student in the video. In other words, making mistakes is a normal part of learning, and it's not a reason to give up when tackling a problem.

Inspired learning at East Woods School 

“We are so grateful to Swagelok for bringing Hudson students this inspirational learning opportunity,” says Phil Herman, superintendent of the Hudson City School District. “I’ve seen first-hand how our students light up with enthusiasm when they’re solving a STEM challenge tied to Bloodhound.”

Swagelok's role on the car

The gigantic Bloodhound is more than 13 meters long and weighs 7.7 metric tons. It has three engines generating a combined 135,000 horsepower: a jet engine, a rocket engine, and a V8 just to run the fuel pump.

Swagelok components will be relied on to open air brake doors after the rocket car reaches its top speed, and for final breaking below 600 km/h. The company’s products will also play a vital role in the safety of the fueling system and re-fueling rig. Swagelok products on the car include 60 series ball valves and RL series relief valves, QC and QF quick connects, tubing, gauges, hoses, and tube fittings.

You may not be working on a supersonic car, but Edmonton Valve & Fitting can still help get your next fluid system project up to speed. Set up an appointment through our website or call us at 780.437.0640.


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Topics: Training, Value Added Services