Building bridges to the study of science

The declining number of students going on to study science and engineering at high school has led to some innovative programs designed to attract students into the field.

Students testing a bridgeOne such program is the Science and Engineering Challenge, which will take place at La Trobe University in Melbourne this Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 June, and at La Trobe University in Bendigo on Wednesday 12 June 2013.

The Challenge draws on the students’ competitive edge, with each school providing eight teams of up to four students who will work on different activities in competition with the other schools.

The one-day competition is designed to provide year 9 and 10 secondary school students with a positive experience of science and engineering.

There are eight different activities, one of which involves building the lightest bridge that can carry the heaviest load. Students must draw on their creativity as well as their understanding of scientific principles in order to complete the activities.

Professor Brian McGaw, Executive Dean, Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering at La Trobe University, says that the Challenge gives students a chance to consider some of the practical applications of science and engineering.

‘It’s important that students are inspired at a young age to pursue higher education in these disciplines,’ says Professor McGaw. ‘Part of this is demonstrating that science isn’t just about understanding formulas or memorising the periodic table, but that creativity and lateral thinking are also a key part of any scientific or engineering career.’

The Science and Engineering Challenge is presented by the University of Newcastle, in cooperation with La Trobe University and the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.


Media contact

Lisa Prowling, Marketing and Communications Officer, Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering
T  03 9479 2199 | E