Somerset Times

Year 7 Billy Carts

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Somerset Times Edition

Week 2,
Term One, 2017

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While this year I have progressed to Year 8, I look back to what may have been the highlight of Year 7! It is the activity Year 7 students look forward to all year and just thinking about it makes me want to do a second time.

Year 7 Sciences, the construction of a billy cart and the racing on derby day was one of the best Year 7 experiences I had, and I believe my cohort would feel the same. Working from the College shed, each team collected their timber and set out to build a billy cart from scratch over a two week time frame, to then race on the last Wednesday of the school year. The Year 7’s were very fortunate to have a number of volunteers from the Somerset Community who graciously gave up their time to guide us, a big thank you to Mrs Lee, Mr Wheeler, Mr Graham and Mr Batho. We really appreciated them being at our lessons as well as the Somerset staff who were always on hand to give us tips and tricks to make our billy cart go faster.

The building of the billy carts was my favourite bit. I have always wanted to do a wood work class in school and now I have. I do not think many of my peers have had the opportunity to use power tools before this activity. Using the jigsaw was a new experience for me, it was loads of fun choosing our own design then cutting it out of wood and screwing onto our billy carts. The emphasis on this culminating task for Year 7 Sciences was linked to our Forces unit. Our studies included examining how technological developments have reduced impact forces in car safety features as well as investigating how simple machines have made our lives easier. My team’s building plan goal was to reduce friction to make our cart more efficient (the trick is to use WD-40).

The day of the big derby race day was so exciting. Racing your billy cart against your class mates on a time trial basis after 2 weeks of trying to make your billy cart it as perfect as possible is so exhilarating and exciting. A new venue for the racing was created this year on the field between the Tartan Track and the Koala House. The race began with a large downhill slope to get our speed up then there was a tight left turn. This was the best spot for spectators to be watching because it was where all the major crashes happen (and let me tell you Mrs Walker is definitely worried for our cohort when they start to learn to drive as our steering ability will need to improve). Next comes up the most exhausting part of the race through the thick grass going uphill and around the tree until the final straight to the finish.

As I said earlier this was an amazing experience and one that I am sure none of my peers will ever forget. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers that were down at the shed each lesson we had “Billy Carts” on, especially Mrs Walker for making this happen.

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