Eager young minds immersed themselves in the warmth and energy at recent Young Engineers Club workshops.
The event, organized by CQUniversity, was a two-day workshop attended by a number of Bundaberg students.
The pupils, aged 1 to 8, came together to explore absolute zero, the temperature at which gas particles stop moving, by combining the use of LEGO, hardware and coding.
CQUniversity Deputy Director of Online Systems and Sustainability and Young Engineers Coordinator, Mr. Pavle Jeric, said absolute zero was the perfect theme for this year’s series of winter workshops.
“Absolute zero, which is -273°C, has never been reached in the laboratory, but scientists and engineers are persevering and getting closer and closer,” he explained.
“Our young engineers also had to persevere in the face of coding challenges that were new to many.
“Similarly, students were given instructions to complete the basic models, but then, through trial and error, they had to iteratively improve them and fix design flaws, just like real scientists.”
Mr Jeric said they investigated the states of matter and energy to better understand how science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) power our society.
“Students also explored the importance of changes in the state of matter in understanding energy production and learned how engineers often change and adapt their inventions to be versatile by turning lawn mowers into snowblowers and building LEGO snowmobiles designed to travel on snow,” he said.
Once students honed their understanding of how gears work, they put their coding skills to the test by programming smart flip-flops, traffic systems, and utility vehicles.
The students were given free rein to create their own inventions, with a tilt-sensor-activated projectile system being one of the most complex and creative designs.
Mr Jeric said the instructors were impressed with the knowledge the students had already demonstrated.
“As the instructors prepared to talk about how matter changes from solid to liquid to gaseous, they were very impressed when the elementary school students could already explain in detail what plasma was,” he recalls.
“We are sure that some students will pursue their STEAM interests very far.”
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