Resources

Aiming for awesome: radar technology

Introduction

Funded by the Chancellor using LIBOR funds

RAF 100: Aiming for Awesome celebrates the centenary of the RAF and explores its engineering achievements over the last 100 years. There are 10 resources, each covering a different decade of RAF history. Each resource allows Key Stage 2 and 3 pupils to explore, through hands on activities, the applications of the knowledge they learn in science, design and technology, mathematics and computing.

1928 - 1938 Radar

The aim of this resource is to give students the opportunity to investigate the impact of STEM on radar technology.  Students will explore how radar works, investigate different shapes when building towers as well as working in groups to design and build their own radar towers.

Student activities

Activities

Time to demonstrate: through the resource students will understand why radar is important and how it works (reflection).  Students can be introduced to the idea of reflection through a simple demonstration by throwing a tennis ball at a wall and catching it on its return.  This is how radar works.

Time to investigate: radar systems are on the top of towers so that the signal can travel longer distances without being stopped by land features such as hills.  Students will act as engineers, using artstraws to build and test different shapes for radar towers.  They will conduct a series of tests to assess the strength of the different shapes, logging their observations in a table and identifying which is strongest and why.

Design challenge: through group role play, students will be part of the first response team to Typhoon Haiyan and have been deployed to set up communications.  With each team member being assigned a role, they will work together to:

  • Part 1 - work to a set budget to identify what materials are required to create an initial design for a radar tower
  • Part 2 - build the radar tower the team have designed by purchasing materials from the shop - teams can amend their design and revisit the budget if necessary.
  • Part 3 - create a poster to explain the changes made to the initial idea, including a diagram of the initial design and finished tower, why changes were made, and how the cost has changed.

Duration

The activities are expected to last 120 minutes.

What you'll need

The following per team:

Student guide

The student version of this resource can be downloaded here: Radar - student guide

Supported by

  • Royal Academy of Engineering
  • RAF 100
  • 2018 YoE