18 June 2018

Mauritius: Third model glider competition attracts crowds of students

The finals of the third edition of the model glider competition, organised jointly by the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre (RGSC) and the Aeronautical Society of Mauritius (AeSM), was held at the Maryse Justin Stadium, Réduit, on Wednesday 6 June.

Contestants had to design, construct and fly a model glider. The aim of the competition is to give students, working in teams, the opportunity to learn some of the physics of aerodynamics in an out of-classroom environment. The model glider competition thus seeks to be an example of learning by doing - and therefore understanding.

The 2018 edition started in February when some 400 grade 10 and grade 12 students from 67 schools took part in workshops dispensed by the RGSC and the AeSM. The rules of the competition and the science of flight were explained and illustrated by a variety of model gliders; tips on design and construction were also given. The organisers subsequently received 166 team entries. In May, models were presented for a quality assessment of design and construction features like balance, finish and originality. The 38 best models from grade 10 and grade 12 were then selected to battle it off at the fly-off finals last Wednesday. Each model was expected to cover the longest distance possible - 30 to 50 metres were expected - from a series of hand-launches.

In grade 10, Sookdeo Bissoondoyal State College topped the pile thanks to their design and build score, with New Eton College acting as runners-up. In grade 12 on the other hand, Floréal State Secondary School (SSS) won it hands down with a remarkable flight of 49.8 metres; Phoenix SSS finished second. The University of Southampton sponsored the prizes, presented by the university's regional director, Melissa Gibson. The winners received a trophy and Rs8,000 as cash prize, while the runners-up were awarded a trophy and Rs4,000.

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