STUDENTS at Bulahdelah Central School were blown away by Questacon’s traveling Smart Skills workshop held at the school last week.
Using several wind tunnels, the students worked through a series of hands-on challenges involving a process of planning, designing and refining.
Smart Skills Presenter Josh Ezackial, said the workshop was all about engineering and technology.
“The aim is to try and engage the kids and boost their interest in STEM, (science, technology, engineering and maths) in a hands-on way which is fun to them,” he said.
“It’s about getting them thinking creatively and thinking about problem-solving.”
The challenges involved creating an object that would float in a wind tunnel, using a limited range of materials.
The budding engineers experimented with principles relating to air resistance, surface area and weight distribution, which were put to the test when trialling their models.
Year 8 student Annie Sullivan said it was a fun, practical way to learn about science and engineering.
“I was amazed at how different objects can hold up in a wind tunnel simply by changing the surface area,” she said.
“The challenges needed a bit of creativity and showed the detail and processes involved with aerodynamics.”
Josh told News Of The Area, an important part of the innovation process is learning from mistakes.
“It’s definitely all about trial and error and problem solving,” he said.
“A big part of it is that it is okay to make mistakes as this is how we learn.”
The Wind Tunnel Challenge supported the STEM courses currently studied at the school.
The Smart Skills program is run through the National Science Centre with backing from Samsung and the Ian Potter Foundation.
By Daniel SAHYOUN