Micro-computer training inspires young scientists

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Micro-computer training inspires young scientists


Senior Lecturer in Environmental Engineering Dr Helen Fairweather.

7 September 2016

An eco-friendly transportation study by a team of Brightwater State School students will receive a helping hand from an environmental engineering expert at the University of the Sunshine Coast tomorrow (Thursday 8 September).

Senior Lecturer in Environmental Engineering Dr Helen Fairweather will teach 12 Year 5 and 6 Brightwater students how to program a micro-computer so they can count the number of cars that drop students off at their school each day.

Media are welcome to film/photograph the students, who are leaving their school on bicycles at 11.15am and will be at USC from 11.45am-2.45pm.

Brightwater State School Deputy Principal Marc Baker said the students had worked since Term 2 collecting data on the number of students riding to school and were now turning their attention to vehicle use by parents.

“The students have been split into smaller groups and are now developing strategies to have a positive impact on their local community,” he said. “With the assistance of USC, our students will create a code to count the number of cars exiting the school car park on a daily basis using ultra-sonic sensors.”
Mr Baker said the project was funded by the Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow program, an initiative of Advancing Education: An action plan for Queensland schools.

“Brightwater State School was successful in receiving a large grant to provide more access to programmers, innovators and resources,” he said.

“The Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow program will incubate the next generation of information technology entrepreneurs by providing students with opportunities to build entrepreneurial skills through real-world experiences.

“This will generate real pathways for our students into the world of work and further study by inspiring them to be the creators of Queensland’s future.”

Dr Fairweather said the Brightwater students would be trained by her and one of her students, James Ghent, in using an inexpensive Raspberry Pi (RP) computer.

“While the students are here, we will connect a very cheap (less than $10) Ultrasonic Range Sensor to the RP and program it to count the number of cars that deliver students to their school,” she said.

“Over time, the students will use these data to calculate the greenhouse footprint associated with this form of transport of children to their school.”

— Terry Walsh

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