Pupils have lift-off for Space Week

Winning team with their rockets, Maxine Toffar, Luke Matthews, Lucia Davids and Amaal Kimmie.

Teens from a Constantia Hills school had a taste of what it’s like to be Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk last week when they launched their own rockets.

The youngsters from the Cape Academy of Maths, Science and Technology spent three days doing space-themed experiments in the I-Innovate programme under the Sakhikamva Foundation, during World Space Week, from October 4 to 10.

Held annually, World Space Week draws in over 95 nations.

The activities ended with pupils launching specially designed water rockets.

I-Innovative chief executive Shivar Rajoo said they wanted to go beyond the classroom and make science exciting. They set up a livestream with Nasa astronaut Gregory H Johnson on the International Space Station.

For pupils Maxine Toffar, Amaal Kimmie, Lucia Davids and Luke Matthews, the programme was also about teamwork. They were selected as the winning team in an exercise to create a detailed mission plan to travel into space.

The event ended with them building a rocket with a live fuse. However, the wind had picked up by lunchtime on Thursday October 7, so they could not fire the rocket.

Lucia said although she hadn’t always been interested in maths and science, the activities had piqued her interest enough that she was considering a career in science and engineering.

Pilot and founder of the Pinelands based Sakhikamva Foundation, Fatima Jakoet, said the event was also an opportunity to launch the Sakhikamva Space Agency for the Youth (SSAY), a three-year aviation leadership camp for youth, exposing them to the aerospace environment while developing essential skills such as leadership.

“And it was the first time that pupils had launched rockets. It’s a wonderful hands-on way to both celebrate World Space Week and ignite a love of space and curiosity about space travel. And to prepare learners for the 21st century workplace.”

For information about the Sakhikamva Space Agency for the Youth (SSAY), contact info@sakhikamva.org

The teams build their water rockets.
Taufeeq Mohamed and Athar Harris propelling their water rocket about 20 to 25 metres above the school field.
Grade 9 pupil Amaal Kimmie building her rocket.
Straws and balloons featured in the space themed experiments. Pictured are Ismail Ibrahim and Deklyn Palm.