SWITCHED ON: Byron Bay High School students Vincent Sebastian and Drayko Medlyn participate in the the 2018 Northern River Science and Engineering Challenge at Southern Cross University.
SWITCHED ON: Byron Bay High School students Vincent Sebastian and Drayko Medlyn participate in the the 2018 Northern River Science and Engineering Challenge at Southern Cross University. Marc Stapelberg

Bright sparks light up

Bright sparks, young Einsteins, whiz kids and problem-solvers were challenged with everything from bridge stress tests to bionic hand creation at the 2018 Northern River Science and Engineering Challenge at Southern Cross University.

It is a national competition with eight schools competing over six days participating in the competition.

More than 1500 students from 48 primary and high schools across Northern NSW experienced aspects of science and engineering that they would not usually see in the classroom.

"Students get to use their skills in problem-solving and teamwork and get a feel for considering STEM-based career choices," said acting Head of School of the School of Environment, Science and Engineering Associate Professor Amanda Reichelt-Brushett.

"It is designed to hopefully get them to think about future careers.

"Given that our work force is going to be 70 per cent focused on STEM orientated subjects it is really important to be engaging our students now in problem solving skills, critical thinking and exploring things in a practical sense."

Byron Bay High School student Drayko Medlyn said at first he thought his allocated task of connecting city 'houses' with different voltage cables was going to be very basic and boring.

"But then I saw there were ten different scenarios we have to do in a certain amount of time," he said.

"It really keeps you on your toes."

This year, Southern Cross' has developed accredited programs for teacher training in STEM subjects.

Shearwater The Mullumbimby Steiner School was the first winner to emerge from the Wednesday's activities.



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