School students will share solutions to real-world problems and the results of epic experimentation at University of Tasmania campuses this month.
The Science and Engineering Investigation Awards is a State-wide competition that challenges young minds between years 5-12 to explore a hypothesis.
Held annually, students exercise scientific and engineering ways of thinking as they research, problem solve, explore their curiosity and practise new methods.
Participants have been working individually and in teams over several months to conduct experiments and engineer designs that investigate and test their theories.
They will now present their findings to judges from across education, industry and the community in the form of displays and written reports.
The competition kick-off in Burnie today (Tuesday, 3 September). It will travel to Launceston (Thursday, 5 September) and then Hobart (Thursday, 12 September).
North-West Coordinator Cate Rejman said Cradle Coast campus was excited to be welcoming nearly 600 students across two judging day events.
“The awards provide students with a unique learning experience which builds on their interests and curiosity, develops their understanding of scientific and engineering processes, and equips them with valuable life skills,” Ms Rejman said.
“This competition would not be possible without the tremendous support of our volunteer judges and many sponsors whose continued investment significantly enhances the experience of our young participants.”
Students can enter projects across the categories of Physical Sciences, Health and Wellbeing, Engineering, Agricultural Science, and Environment and Marine Science.
This year a new category of Engineering Design has been introduced, appealing to students who would not have traditionally participated in the competition.
“This category enables participants to identify a problem or opportunity, and design and build a prototype as a solution,” Ms Rejman said.
“Projects entered in Engineering Design include a robotic vehicle that detects and disposes of explosive material and a mobile alarm clock that moves in random directions to force its owner out of bed.”
Other entries for Burnie include projects which explore what microplastics are present in toothpaste, if the five-second rule is true, whether vegetation stops erosion, if hunger affects short-term memory, how to improve wind turbine blade efficiency, if eco-friendly products are eco-safe and whether heavy-metal music affects blood pressure.
Professor Brian Yates, Executive Dean of the University’s College of Sciences and Engineering, said the competition was helping grow local STEM literacy.
“The competition supports students at all stages of their learning journey in broadening their understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Professor Yates said.
“By hosting the awards on our campuses, they also have an opportunity to experience a university setting, which we hope inspires them to consider and pursue higher education in the future.”
Each leg of the competition will culminate in an awards evening where students are presented with prizes which include the prestigious Young Scientist and Young Engineer titles.