On the 10th March, Questacon Smart Skills Workshops came to our school to run practical activities for students from Years 6-11. Albury science students from Years 9-11 joined us for the day. It was a great hands on session that enthused students to have greater interest in and understanding for the relevance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects in real life situations.
The leaders explained the Questacon Innovation cycle which is useful in identifying and working through design problems. They put this into the context of military drones and their development. The students were then given an iPad to use in pairs to solve engineering problems regarding bridge construction. The Bridge Constructor was utilized during this session. Limitations and objectives were given which the students had to incorporate including budgets and access to materials. The students had to consider tensions and compression forces, stress points, material advantages and disadvantages and which shapes are the strongest in construction. Finally, the students were able to construct a real model using a metre of tape, 8 thin paddle pop sticks, an A4 manila folder, a hole punch and two pieces of dowel to design and construct a landing pad for a drone that would hang off the side of a building. The designs were then tested to see if they were successful. It was a great opportunity for students to use a strategy for designing and problem solving using technology and practical hands on skills. It was well received by all the students and we are looking forward to participating with Questacon when the opportunity arises again. Many thanks to the community members from Albury who transported the students to Wagga for the incursion.