Robots getting kids fired up over science and engineering
ROBOTICS whizzes, young Einsteins and bright sparks from across northern NSW took part in the 2019 Northern Rivers Science and Engineering Challenge at Southern Cross University.
Summerland Christian College won the first challenge of the six day competition, which saw more than 1500 primary and secondary students from 48 schools participate in all aspects of science and engineering not experienced in the class room.
The science and engineering challenge is in its 13th year, in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Alstonville and, according to SCU Foundation Professor of Engineering Scott Smith, was started as a way of increasing the popularity of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in schools.
"The challenge has played a large part in fostering an interest in the sciences and also give teachers a chance to enhance the teaching experience and show what can be done in the classroom.
"It has also been a great way of introducing local students to the SCU campus, get them enthused, de-mystify and spread the good work of STEM."
Associate Professor Amanda Reichelt-Brushett, Head of School of the School of Environment, Science and Engineering said: "Interest in the Challenge hasn't diminished over time, in fact the event is fully booked each year. Schools from as far as Tenterfield in the west, Tweed Heads in the north and Grafton in the south bussed into Lismore to compete.
This year, the annual STEM showdown had a humanoid robot named, Ami, greet the students each morning and Mindstorms LEGO robot building kits were offered as prizes to provide opportunities for innovative student thinking about building structures together with real-work robotics technology. The eight challenge activities carried out by the students were: bridge building, flat-pack modelling, confounding communications, future power, grasping at straws, helter skelter shelter earthquake simulating, return to Mars and stringways rail networks.