CREATING a catapult and crafting a ‘bionic hand’ from straws, string and a PVC pipe were among the activities awaiting participants in this year’s Science and Engineering Challenge.
About 200 students from seven central Victorian schools descended on the Girton Grammar School Gymnasium on Friday for a day of competitive learning.
Teams of Year 9 – 10 students put their knowledge to the test with activities like building a weight-bearing bridge, building a tower capable of withstanding not only weight, but a simulated earthquake; balancing commercial and consumer-driven pressures when connecting a power grid; and devising a route connecting the maximum number of points using the least possible resources.
A water turbine challenge called for the participants to pit their models against a simulator.
Science and Technology Challenge director, Dr Terry Burns said the activities incorporated skills and scenarios students might encounter working in the industry.
Engaging and encouraging students to pursue their interests in science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics is among the initiative’s aims.
A study of participants found the challenge was not only rewarding for the majority of students, but that it had inspired a number of young people to pursue further studies in science or mathematics in VCE.
Dr Burns said the program had been developed and refined during its 18 years of life.
The Science and Engineering Challenge has been offered in Bendigo for 12 years.
Rotary Club of Bendigo South president Rod Spitty said raising the $12,000 required to run the program was not easy, with a number of organisations pitching in to ensure the opportunity remains available to young people in the region.
He said the schools, La Trobe University, the City of Greater Bendigo, the Rotary Club of Eaglehawk, the Rotary Club of Strathdale, the Rotary Club of Bendigo, the Rotary Club of Rochester, VicRoads, Coliban Water, and the Bendigo Manufacturing Group were among the partnering organisations.
“We want to see science and engineering promoted within central Victoria,” Mr Spitty said.
“It’s one way we can help maintain the supply of skilled talent in the region.”
Bendigo South East College took out the day’s honours with a score of 1383.
Girton Grammar School came second with 949 points, while St Mary MacKillop College in Swan Hill placed third with 902 points.