Science and engineering challenge for Gympie students

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Science and engineering challenge for Gympie students

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Published on 12 March 2014

About 130 children from eight local primary schools will be building bridges, mini-catapults, space vehicles and earthquake-proof towers on Thursday 13 March at an event presented by the University of the Sunshine Coast Gympie.

USC Science and Engineering Outreach Coordinator Marina Fitzpatrick said there had been great interest in the second annual Science and Engineering Discovery Day for Year 5 students following its popularity last year.

“We had great feedback from the first event at USC Gympie in 2013,” she said.

“The students loved attending this competition at the University in their area and getting involved in exciting applications of science and engineering.”

This year’s event will be held at The Pavilion Conference and Reception Centre, Gympie Showgrounds, from 8.30am to 2.30pm.

Activities will include:

  • Building small bridges out of balsa, pins, tape and paddle pop sticks. Points are awarded for strength and load-carrying capacity. The finale is when students test their bridges with weights in a little cart, to see how much the bridges hold before snapping.
  • Constructing mini-catapults from timber, packing tape and rubber bands. Points are awarded for the catapults’ ability to propel items over distance to hit targets.
  • ‘Mission to Mars’ is constructing vehicles to see how quickly they can transfer over a surface, using rubber bands for the suspension system.
  • ‘Helter skelter shelter’ is building earthquake-proof towers using basic materials and engineering principles, before testing them on an earthquake simulator.

Gympie’s Discovery Day is linked to the two-day Science and Engineering Challenge for high school students on this week at USC’s Sippy Downs campus.

 The Gympie competition is organised by USC’s School of Science and Engineering in conjunction with the University of Newcastle and Rotary Club of Gympie.

Julie Schomberg

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