Matchstick missile contest winners announced

2011-10-27

Professor Liviu Moldovan handed out the award in the matchstick missile contest in a ceremony at HiST. This concluded a project collaboration between HiST and the Petru Maior University in Tirgu Mures, Romania, in which mechanical engineering students at HiST were commissioned by Professor Moldovan to design a rocket from matchsticks and aluminium foil.

The project was part of an introductory physics course at HiST in which the students use the digital learning lab for exercises and assignments every week. One of the exercises for week 41 was designed by professor Moldovan, in which the students were given the task of designing a rocket which would maximize the horizontal range.

The primary purpose of the project was to  give an open-ended assignment where the students had to use their accumulated physics skills and creativity to work out a problem-solving strategy. To let the students discover the link between theory and a real-world problem, the exercise was designed as a practical assignment rather than a teoretical problem.

Furthermore, having Professor Moldovan as an external "client" or "customer" requesting a solution to a real-world problem, motivated the students to make a genuine and enthusiastic effort to solve the problem - more so than if a teacher at HiST had set the problem.

The students used the digital learning lab to do the theoretical considerations and calculations as a group effort on the digital whiteboards.

The students came up with some novel rocket designs, and the winning group managed a staggering horizontal range of 6,7 m. This video clip shows their award-winning design.

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