Students put to test in engineering and science challenge

DEVELOPING high-speed railway networks, constructing hovercrafts and building bridges were all among activities year nine and 10 students from the region took on as part of the Ballarat Science and Engineering Challenge on Tuesday. 

Sam Patrono-Minel, Kyle Badari and Angus Smith work on their project, a vehicle for Mars. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

Sam Patrono-Minel, Kyle Badari and Angus Smith work on their project, a vehicle for Mars. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

Eight schools competed for the title, with Ballarat Grammar School taking out the top spot and going on to compete at  state competition. 

Event organiser Julie McKay said the event was in its seventh year and included four half-day and four full-day activities. 

“There was one new activity added this year, eco-habiteque,” Ms McKay said. 

Eco-habiteque challenged students to design a high-tech, ecologically friendly home of the future to stand up to extreme and wild weather conditions seen by global warming. 

She said the main challenge of the day required students to build a bridge, on which loads would be tested for the finale. 

Phoenix College year 10 student Sam Patrono-Minel was involved  in the Mission to Mars activity. With his team, he had to design and construct a vehicle which carried an unsecured load across the undulated surface of Mars. 

He said the team used a suspension system to try to have the vehicle move across the rough surface smoothly. 

“I hadn’t done anything like this before.

“Just creating the vehicle was a challenge,” he said. 

The challenge is co-ordinated by the University of Newcastle nationally, but sponsored by many businesses at a local level.

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