Keira High School won this year’s Illawarra South East Region Science and Engineering Challenge and will be heading off to Newcastle to compete in the state Super Challenge Series at the end of August 2016.

The Science and Engineering Challenge is a nationwide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program.  It offers students a series of fun and competitive activities involving principles of science, technology, engineering and maths. A competitive environment is created as representative school teams are pitted against each other and against the clock in a range of science and engineering tasks. The concept is to immediately engage students in the activity with a minimum of introduction and theory. Students explore scientific principles for themselves rather than being guided to a predetermined answer. The Challenge is designed to inspire students to study science and engineering at a senior level.

Over 400 year 9 and year 10 students from 16 local high schools attended over the two days, held at URAC Sports Hub at the University of Wollongong.  The students had the opportunity to take part in one or two activities for the day and they were assessed as to how well they completed these tasks, competing against students from other schools.  Some of the tasks included designing and building a bionic hand, constructing a small hovercraft, wiring up a virtual city, building a bridge, or building an earthquake-proof apartment block to withstand static testing and seismic testing.

Winners of the first day of competition were Keira High School and St John the Evangelist High School won the second day of challenge.  Keira High School were overall winners and they achieved the second highest score of the year. The team won 7 of the 8 activities overall and achieved a score of 1553.77 which is amazing when over 480 schools have competed so far in the Challenge across Australia. We wish them luck at the state Super Challenge.

The Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences would like to thank all those involved in the Challenge, in particular the Challenge Team from the University of Newcastle, the Rotary Club of Wollongong and UOW student volunteers.