Teamwork the key at Science and Engineering Challenge

GREAT MINDS: Kala Simpson, Jessica Lancaster, Tahlecia Gallagher and Jessica Tickle, all in Year 10 at Lismore High School. They are finalists in the Science Challenge at SCU Lismore.
GREAT MINDS: Kala Simpson, Jessica Lancaster, Tahlecia Gallagher and Jessica Tickle, all in Year 10 at Lismore High School. They are finalists in the Science Challenge at SCU Lismore. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

THE nation's brightest young minds were put to the test yesterday at the Science and Engineering Challenge National Final.

More than 250 students from eight high schools from as far away as Hobart and Perth travelled to Southern Cross University for the one-day event.

Competing in the game of smarts were 29 Year 9 and 10 students from Lismore High School.

With eight different challenges set up, in one area LHS Year 10 students Kala Simpson, Jessica Lancaster, Tahlecia Gallagher and Jessica Tickle were all working on was a water distribution and flow challenge during the morning.

Fellow LHS Year 10 classmates Jesse Lennon, Tyson Rose, Bridget Lowden and Seth Carroll were working with a power simulator and input boards, adjusting the power supply to meet the load.

The student's science teacher, Scott Allen, said while he'd noticed the kids were all a bit nervous, it was set to be a good day.

"As long as they have fun and come out of it feeling proud, that's all we want," Mr Allen said.

What the challenges really taught the young science-savvy students, he said, was the importance of teamwork.

Foundation Professor of Engineering at SCU, Scott Smith, said the challenge was designed to inspire students. "Australia, along with the rest of the world, is in a technology era, yet we are facing a shortage of students studying science and engineering in the final years of school and at university who are ready to step into the jobs of the future," he said.

"The challenge's hands-on activities are designed to replicate real-life problems by demonstrating the varied and practical elements of careers in the disciplines of science and engineering."

He also noted the critical importance of teamwork within the challenges: "Working together - that's how they're going to succeed."

High Schools are testing their science and engineering skills at the National Final at SCU in Lismore.
High Schools are testing their science and engineering skills at the National Final at SCU in Lismore. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Challenges

Back to the Future 2: Students are given a stationary vehicle which they must modify with makeshift fans or propellers to drive along rails.

Helter Skelter Shelter: Students must construct a tall earthquake-proof tower using only basic materials, sound engineering principles and ingenuity.

Gold Fever: Students must make a bridge using balsa, pins, tape, paddle pop sticks and the like - bridge tested at the end of the day with rolling weights.


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