Team skills and young minds were tested on day one of the 2016 Darling Downs Science and Engineering Challenge at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ). This event in Darling Downs is part of a series of challenges across Australia organised by the University of Newcastle.
Centenary Heights State High School came out on top after their final test called ‘The Bridge’. Josh Smith from Centenary Heights State High School’s bridge-building team enjoyed this activity. “It was brilliant to see everyone working so well on the activities: it has so much to do with teamwork and time management,” Josh said.
Other schools participating included Crow’s Nest State School, Faith Lutheran College, Laidley State High School, The Glennie School, St Mary’s College Ipswich, and Toowoomba State High School’s Mt Lofty campus, with around 30 students from each school taking part.
The students participated in seven activities which required scientific understanding and engineering principles. Teamwork and time-management were very important skills to be learnt on the day, with the tasks requiring students to work together to complete them within a limited time.
Year 10 student from Toowoomba State High School, Nina Ryan, said the challenge was also heavily involved with having to make do with the materials they were given. One challenge was to build a ‘Helter Skelter Shelter’. “Our challenge was to build two towers, one to bear a load and one to survive an earthquake,” Nina said, explaining that they had already learnt how to build bridges in their Science Quest unit at school. “Some of that knowledge was useful in understanding loads, but how you do it with limited materials is the hard part,” Nina said.
Head of USQ’s School of Civil Engineering and Surveying, Professor Kevin McDougall said that the event gives supervisors (including academics, PhD students and other staff) the chance to see some of the region’s brightest students at work. “What you see is the students who are really engaged and active, and have a passion for science and engineering — these are the ones we want to see at university,” Professor McDougall said.
The challenge will run daily until Friday, June 3 with 30 schools participating. Participating schools include local and surrounding areas as far as Ipswich and Millmerran.
Downlands College students (from left) Brendan Scotney, Georgia Lee, Zanthie Verrall and Ben Russell puts hands and minds to work in the Electracity activity
Fairholme College student Kate McNeil holds the bionic hand her team built in the Grasping@Straws activity
Hands and minds of St Ursula’s College students Haylee Dare (left) and Emili McGrath are put to work in The Bridge challenge
Pittsworth State High School students Hayley Nothdurft (left) and Chloe Baldazan get tied up in the Stringways challenge
St Ursula’s College students (from left) Isabelle Colema, Zoe Doyle, Grace Toombs and Amy Jocumsen put their heads together in the Hover Frenzy activity
St Ursula’s College Team 1 members are all smiles after winning Day Two of the 2016 Darling Downs Science and Engineering Challenge at USQ
Toowoomba State High School Wilsonton campus students (from left) Tunde Csabai, Amelia Davies and Ruby Howarth are ready to test their Flat Pack structure
A few laughs went into the making of the Warwick State High School team’s Helter Skelter Shelter. Pictured at work are (from left) Elizabeth Mulliss, Katelyn Hoger, Sophie Follett and Lily Rayer
Chinchilla State High School students (from left) Anna Dallmann, Bart Dickmann, Sophie Brandon and Andrei Lungay undertake some high-level discussions in the Mission to Mars activity
By Tara Chadwick
Images supplied by USQ Photography