Physics Activities

Astronomy Club

The student led Sixth Form Astronomy club has been designing and preparing to attach a High-definition video camera to a Helium-filled weather balloon in an attempt to get actual video footage of the stratosphere from between 100,000-110,000 feet above Ocean level.

Pupils have researched and ordered the most suitable equipment including a video camera, heat-packs to survive wind temperatures of -60 degree Celsius, a polystyrene insulator casing, a GPS tracking system to find and recover the project, and an automatic-release parachute mechanism. Parachute tests have been conducted using weights being dropped from the top of the Blundell's Clocktower and students are hoping to make a successful launch and payload recovery in the Summer term.

Astronomy - observing the night sky on Exmoor
Astronomy - observing the night sky on Exmoor

Local observing sessions are also run using our 10-inch reflecting telescope in the school grounds. The Physics Department also has a smaller, more portable reflecting telescope for pupils to use.

For ‘deep sky’ Astronomy we have access to the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT). At present this consists of the two 2m Faulkes Telescopes, one in Hawaii (FTN) and the other at Coonabarra in Australia (FTS). These are accessed via the Internet and can be used in the daytime in the UK. Students are also welcomed at meetings of the Tiverton and Mid Devon Astronomy Society (TivAS) who hold their monthly meetings at Blundell's.

K’NEX Club

Building a roller-coaster with K'NEX
Building a roller-coaster with K'NEX

K'NEX is a well-known maker of model construction sets. It inspires creativity, builds self-confidence and encourages interaction among children and adults. The K’NEX Education sets that we use in the department are effective learning tools that help teach pupils wide ranging science, technology, engineering and mathematical concepts. The club encourages teamwork through the target of building a large group project over the course of a term. Individual sets also enable individuals to experiment and explore their imagination.

Electronics Activity

Electronics     Electronics
Electronics

In a digital world where so much of our lives are governed or assisted by complex electronics, a basic understanding of the way resistors, capacitors, transistors and chips are arranged onto circuit boards is vital if we are to train and encourage the next generation of electrical engineers and IT specialists. The department has a full suite of soldering stations where pupils can learn to create and repair basic electronics. A structured introduction to electronics using breadboards, starter kits and PICAXE microcontrollers will leave pupils intrigued and wanting to learn more about the capabilities of electronics in projects.