Swindon College crop circle experiment

By Anita Jaynes on 7 March, 2014

Swindon College Lecturer Bob Ashworth visited Malmesbury School to work with pupils to create crop circles on their school field using Maths and Engineering calculations.

Coordinates were found using a Global Position System, and then using a Total Station to locate points around the school field to set out the crop circle.

A Total Station is a very accurate protractor with a telescope so that the points can be seen precisely, as well as a laser to measure the distance of the point of interest.

Once on the field, 20 pupils working in two groups used the Total Station to relocate the points and used pins to track the design. The lines were then drawn with spray paint between the pins to create the crop circle.

Bob Ashworth, Lecturer for Professional Construction courses said:

“I created this as part of the college STEM initiative and schools outreach programmes. It is intended to inspire students to understand a number of simple Engineering and Mathematical tools to help understand the world around us.”

Partners in the project were SkyCo Imaging, who filmed the whole experience using a UAV, unmanned air vehicle. The UAV took flight after the crop circle was created to film the aftermath of the project from an aerial position.

After the exercise, a group of pupils from the school then had the opportunity to stay behind to talk about the Engineering and Maths aspects, ask questions and get more involved.