On Tuesday the 8th and Wednesday the 9th of December students from schools in the Penrith, Blacktown and Hawkesbury areas took up the challenge to test their knowledge and learn about engineering in a two-day event at Western Sydney University.
Some of the schools were: Penrith Selective High School, Springwood High School, Windsor High School, Evans High School, Patrician Brothers Blacktown and 16 students from St Andrews College.
At registration the students were placed in a group. In this group students moved to various workshops and competed in a mathematical and physics quiz. Students from St Andrews College were in the group Curie.
Marie Curie was a Polish-born French physicist and chemist and a pioneer in the study of radiation. She and her husband Pierre discovered the elements polonium and radium. Marie Curie was the first female Nobel Prize winner and the first scientist to win the Nobel Prize twice.
The day began with presentations on Computer-Aided Engineering, Green Energy and the World Solar Car Challenge. After morning tea students left the lecture theatre and visited other learning spaces on the university campus. St Andrews College students visited the Robotics Laboratory. Here students learnt how to instruct a robot to move in a straight line and in a square. Bailey Gravina, Christian Canete and Simran Jit Singh were able to use their skills and knowledge from their Industrial Technology – Engineering (Robotics) class to command their robot very quickly.
After lunch the students visited the 3D Printing Laboratory here they were able to use the computer-aided software to design and draw a key ring. These key rings were printed the next day and students were able to take them home.
Over the course of the two days students heard talks from Western Sydney University graduates, Jade Horsley and Katie Shield who are working at Sydney Water. The graduates talked about their journey to tertiary study and their experiences in the workplace. Students also heard from Julia Ratnayake who works for the Sydney Harbour Bridge and how her engineering career took her from Eastern Europe to Australia.
The second day was all about building a bridge and completing the quiz. Students worked in groups of four and were given the same number of paddle pop sticks and the same length of masking tape. They were given dimensions for the bridge and told that the competition would include how much weight the bridge could hold.
Only one St Andrews College group passed the first stage in the bridge building competition, meeting the correct dimensions. These students were Chetna Jangra, Bradley Roberts, Lochlan Gaunt and Jack Bartlett.
The bridge building competition may have resulted in our students needing to further develop their bridge building skills and knowledge. However our students’ mathematics and physics skills tell a very different story. After day one our students were placed first with two other groups. At the end of day two the Curie group were out-right winners.
Engineering Frontiers was a great event and I wish to thank Western Sydney University for their invitation. I’d also like to thank Mr McBride for taking two days out of his teaching to join us and Mr McLoughlan and Mr Said for their time to drive us to the University and get us back to school.
I extend a special thank you to the wonderful students who took up the challenge and were fantastic ambassadors of St Andrews College. I wish you all great things in the future a look forward to the day when your discoveries are mentioned for a Nobel Prize.
Engineering Frontiers students were:
Simran Jit Singh