Year 9 and Year 10 students have recently had the opportunity to gain an understanding of the thinking and skills involved in engineering by participating in the Science and Engineering Challenge either at school or on the statewide stage.
On Wednesday 31 August, 30 Year 10 girls represented the school at the Science and Engineering Superchallenge. This was the State Final of this competition, conducted Australia-wide by the University of Newcastle with the help and support of local organisations, tertiary institutions and volunteers from Rotary and Engineers Australia.
Our students earned their place in the final by achieving the outstanding result in the qualifying heats, held at UniSA Mawson Lakes last term. Eight schools from across the state competed in the final, including metropolitan schools and those from the Riverland, Mid-north, South East and Eyre Peninsula. St Peter’s Girls was the only single-sex independent school to reach the final.
This competition required teams of students to design, build and improve their solutions to various engineering-related problems in preparation for testing. Given a brief of the performance requirements, they had to work creatively and collaboratively to develop their best solution to the problem. The categories in the Superchallenge were:
• Bridge: build a model bridge to successfully carry a loaded trolley
• Catapult: build a model catapult to fire a tennis ball the greatest distance and most accurately
• Flat-pack: build a model table and chair to support the greatest mass;
• Hover-frenzy: build a working model hovercraft
• Electracity: connect a working model electricity network for a city and reconfigure it to deal with outages
• Helter Skelter Shelter: build the tallest possible model skyscraper that can support the greatest mass, even when subjected to a simulated earthquake
• Grasping at straws: build and operate a model bionic hand
• Stringways: design an airline network to connect together cities, responding to various design briefs
The first four categories were full-day activities. The last four were half-day activities, meaning two separate competitions were held for each of these. The extra level to the Superchallenge was that students didn’t know their category until they arrived at the venue.
The girls’ performance was again outstanding. They won the Bridge and both sessions of Grasping at Straws, were second in Electracity and third in Catapult. Overall we finished in second place, narrowly behind Immanuel College. They were disappointed to miss out on the opportunity to represent South Australia at the National Final in Hobart next month, however they were justifiably proud of their achievements on the day.
Next year the school will be represented by the current Year 9 students. All Year 9 girls had a taste of the flavour of the competition by taking part in the St Peter’s Girls Interhouse Science and Engineering Challenge on Friday 19 August. It was most pleasing to be helped out on the day by Science teachers, Year 9 teachers and also many of the Year 10 Science and Engineering Challenge team, who provided the Year 9s with the benefit of their expertise.
The Year 9 competition involved four activities; Bridge, Catapult, Helter Skelter Shelter and Flight (building model gliders). After much testing, including that provided by the storm and blackout that plunged the Arts Centre into darkness mid-judging, the final placings were:
1st: Kilburn 1581.36 points
2nd Kennion 1574.74
3rd Selwyn 1412.52
4th Patteson 1286.02
Head of Science