Pupils up to the challenge

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Fernworth Primary School pupils (from left) Katana Russell (8, Year 4), Dylan Ruri (10, Year 6) and Mana Watt (7, Year 3) build teapot racing body prototypes out of building blocks in preparation for teapot racing next month.

TROLLEY derby racing this month and the possibility of racing teapots next month has upped the challenge of morning technology for some Fernworth Primary School pupils.

Fernworth teacher’s aid Matua Hita said the technology club at the school, which began last year, was held half an hour before school started to give the pupils “something to do”.

“They can come along and pull something apart…” or be part of creating something, such as a trolley racer.

Mr Hita said the pupils had lots of fun designing, building and racing their trolleys during the South Alive Trolley Derby on Rimu St this month and were keen to take on another project.

This was the second year pupils had entered the trolley derby, he said.

“Unfortunately, the first year the trolleys did not pass the scrutineers”, but it was all part of the learning process, Mr Hita said.

This year five trolleys were entered, but because only three drivers were available on the day, only three trolleys were raced, he said.

“It was good to see them go down the hill [Rimu St] finally.”

Year 6 pupil Dylan Ruri, who was one of the racers, said, “it’s all about having fun”.

While at the trolley derby, Mr Hita was approached by a steampunker, who was also taking part in the derby, and was one of the organisers of the steampunk club’s annual teapot racing which will be held in Queens Park next month.

She suggested his pupils enter the teapot racing.

Mr Hita jumped at the idea.

“It’s another exciting thing the kids can get in behind… part of the reason we have the technology club is to show kids there are other things to do other than sport or just sitting on the couch at home – it’s about getting them active and out and about,” he said.

Teapot racing “is another option to get them out there”, and gave them the chance to think outside the square, he said.

Competitors can build a racer, beginning with a remote-controlled vehicle and replacing the original body with a teapot which fits on the chassis. Then it is up to the imagination of the racer to dress the teapot and rig it up in a steampunk theme.

Technology pupils were brainstorming, designing and building prototypes of racers out of building blocks for the event and had a practice run using an i-Pad remote control.

Although the pupils had a variety of teapots, they were short on remote-controlled vehicles, so would appreciate any donations, Mr Hita said.

Because the race was just over a week away, the racers might not be completed in time to take part. However, Mr Hita said although the pupils may not finish them in time for this year’s event, they would “definitely” be ready for next year’s annual race, and challenged other schools to join in the fun.

If anyone had a remote-controlled vehicle to donate, they could be left at the school’s office, he said.

He was also keen to learn of other community events the pupils could take part in.

Southern Society of Steampunk Steamologists presents teapot racing, Queens Park Band Rotunda, Sunday, April 8, 2pm. BYO teapot racer. For more information and teapot racing rules, go to the SSSS Facebook page.

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