Young scientists show off their technological wizardry in secondary schools competition

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 April, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 April, 2001, 12:00am

Hundreds of keen young 'rocket scientists' from local secondary schools launched their own inventions at La Salle College in Kowloon Tong when they competed in the Water Rocket Contest 2001.

Jointly organised by and the Education Department, the contest aims to inspire students studying science and various physical concepts and give them an opportunity to learn via the Internet.

St Bonaventure College and High School emerged the winners, with a distance of 122 metres. Lai Chack Middle School and Tuen Mun Catholic Secondary School were first and second runners-up respectively, with 115 metres and 106 metres.

Water rockets have been popular around the world for many years, with many enthusiasts studying their technology. Without relying on fuel, water rockets can travel more than a hundred metres based on Isaac Newton's Third Law, the principle of conservation of momentum.

Water rockets are simple to make using a PET or soda plastic bottle, water and compressed air.

To give teams more information about making water rockets, and offer them a way to share ideas, the organisers set up a Web site with information and references on water rockets.

A teacher from Chan Shu Kui Memorial School, one of the competing teams, said the contest was a good way to learn about science. Last semester, the school's Science Club organised its own water rocket competition.

'Our school encourages and supports students participating in this kind of science competitions, as they can learn more actively and in a lively way and their interest in science subjects can also be fostered,' said physics teacher Michael Wong Bing- sze.

He said the competition revealed students' scientific talents, citing Form Four science students Wong Ka-po, Liu Chung-sing and Lam Chik-fung as proof of those hidden talents.

Although the three are not the school's top students , they won its water rocket competition and were chosen to represent it in the Water Rocket Contest 2001.

Their entry was one of the very few multi-stage designs. Most entries were designed in a single-stage mechanism.

Although the team did not win, Mr Wong said it was a valuable opportunity for them to learn from each other.

Aberdeen Technical School won the Best Design and Most Popular Awards. Best Design Award judge Dr Yuen Yau-yuen of the Hong Kong Institute of Education's Department of Science praised the rocket's idea, appearance, structure and material.