After four days of heated competition, St Ursula’s College in Toowoomba placed first in the Darling Down Science and Engineering Challenge on Friday, 26 May.

The challenge, in which the top eight schools out of 30 take part in activities such as building bridges, wiring cities, creating Mars rovers, creating earthquake-proof towers, and designing bionic hands, was designed to push students to explore the complexities of science in a fun and interactive way.

St Ursula’s overall win washard-fought, with schools such as St Mary’s College Ipswich and Toowoomba’s Christen College claiming victories on day one and day four, respectively.

While St Ursula topped the competition with the highest overall tallied score, more than 1000 students were awarded medals throughout the course of the challenge.

St Ursula year 10 student Anna Persian attributed the college’s win to the collective team effort of the participating students.

“This means so much to our team and school. We are very proud to be going to the state final to represent the Darling Downs,” Persian said.

“It has given me a new perspective for science and engineering, and make me look at opportunities in the field.”

Since the challenge’s start on Tuesday, 23 May, participants were encouraged to look beyond pre-determined answers to various issues and imagine the solutions instead using scientific principles.

Among the schools to participate on the competition’s final day were Clifton SHS, Assumption College, Bremer SHS, Christian Outreach College, Nanango SHS, Harristown SHS, and Dalby Christen College.

St Mary’s College Ipswich year 10 student Chloe Wise, who spent day one building a small bridge from only balsa wood, pins, tape and paddle pop sticks, found the competition both challenging and fun.

“It wasn’t easy at first while we considered what we were going to do [during the bridge challenge]. But once we were on track, we knew exactly how we wanted it to turn out and exactly what to do,” Miss Wise said.

“The day was really fun. It tests your ability and inspired you to think outside the box.”

The challenge was a collaborative effort between the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) and the University of Newcastle, with sponsorship from Nexus, Rotary Toowoomba East, Toowoomba Regional Council, Engineers Australia and Ashburner Francis Consulting Engineers.

The college’s winning team will be tested once again when they face off against groups from Northern New South Wales and Brisbane during a Super Challenge, which will take place later this year.

Read about last year’s Science and Engineering Challenge here.