LIMESTONE Coast students reached into their science, technology, engineering and mathematics toolbox last week to craft gadgets and gearboxes during the inaugural Sustainable Engineering Challenge.
Ten eager teams of Year 6/7 students from St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School, Mary MacKillop Memorial School and Tenison Woods College tested their creative skills as part of the Regional Catholic Schools initiative.
Hosted at Tenison’s Pam Ronan Centre, teams were required to construct a simple gearbox and wind turbine, using kits which contained gears, axles and blocks.
To turn the gears, participants also needed to create blades that could catch the wind – an experimental process for the groups.
A partnership with Vestas and Infigen Energy allowed Tenison to welcome delegates from both companies as not only challenge supporters, but also judges.
Vestas area service manager Glen Wilson said he was impressed by the level of dedication students showed.
“It was also great to hear this challenge helped inspire students to pursue an engineering career,” Mr Wilson said.
“Green jobs are certainly a huge part of the future and it is great to see the positive influence our company has had on these students at a grassroot level.”
College science and mathematics coordinator Jason de Nys – who organised the event – said there was a “positive atmosphere” from the moment teams arrived.
“There were some spectacular achievements by these students seen on the day,” Mr de Nys said.
“Our judges were impressed and overwhelmed by the talent and passion shown by students from all three schools.
“The dedication shown by staff must be commended and our sincere thanks must go to Vestas and Infigen who have helped provide rich learning experiences the students will never forget.”
Vestas Lake Bonney Wind Farm technician John Hutchison shared a wind turbine presentation before winners were announced.
“The challenge was such a great day to be part of and the students really surprised me with their ability to think outside of the box,” Mr Hutchison said.
“We wanted students to have fun and show classroom learning can be used to for real-life solutions and skills.
“They are the future and if Vestas and Tenison can continue to minimise the distance between the classroom and the workplace this must be encouraged.”
The Mary MacKillop Memorial School team claimed victory, earning an all-expenses trip to Melbourne to visit Vestas’ head office and some of its Victorian sites.