Engineering

We have a number of Engineering outreach programs for students in Year 8, 9 and 10 available at our Melbourne and Bendigo campuses.

Our workshops are created alongside academics and high school curriculums.

To ensure students and teachers alike get the most out of our workshops we have endeavoured to create a series of sessions that cover a broad range of subjects including robotic software and hardware, wearable technology, bridge design, automobile crumple zones and 3D printing.

Our workshops give students a chance to learn about new and emerging technologies through hands-on experience.

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Middle years

Bristlebot

Curriculum: 8–10, General Science, Robotics

Locations:

Duration: 2 hours

Cost: $25 per student

Class capacity: 30 students

Robotics is one of the fastest growing and exciting fields of technological advance of our age, supporting and radically changing our lives. In this robotics workshop students will:

  • build and calibrate their own light-seeking robot
  • learn how the robots operate and how various robotic components are used in industry to deliver low-cost, high precision, rapid solutions to problems
  • learn the fundamental aspects of robotics design with the sense-think-act method

The robot is a small light-seeking robot that uses differential vibration to glide across the table towards a light source. A short lecture explains the theory of operation and how robots are already used in society. Students are instructed in recent ‘cutting edge’ student robotics and may later take their project robots home.

Crash-worthy vehicle design

Curriculum: 9 and 10, General Science

Locations:

Duration: 1.5 hours

Cost: $20 per student

Class capacity: 25 students

In this activity, students explore the ideas used to design cars that better protect drivers and passengers. Working in small groups, students:

  • design and construct a ‘crumple zone’ to be attached to the front of a miniature test car
  • aim to minimise peak acceleration reached during a frontal crash
  • test their design by propelling the car into a ‘crash barrier’

Design an economic bridge

Curriculum: 8–10, General Science

Locations:

Duration: 2 hours

Cost: $20 per student

Class capacity: 25 students

Besides maintaining the safety and serviceability of structures, the profession of Civil Engineering typically embodies economy and efficiency. This workshop challenges students to:

  • apply knowledge of balancing forces
  • design an economic bridge structure

Working with user‑friendly software, students experience some of the basic skills employed by structural engineers in designing the many commanding structures seen in the built environment.

Lasertag

Curriculum: 8–10, General Science

Locations:

Duration: 2 hours

Cost: $25 per student

Class capacity: 30 students

LaserTag is a worldwide game where each player has a laser zapper and has to try to zap the other players’ zappers before being ‘shot’.

In this workshop students:

  • solder together their own laser zappers
  • test their zappers in battle, to see who has the best aim and the fastest reactions

Students get to keep their zappers, so the laser battles may well continue after they leave La Trobe!

Program content can be adjusted to suit year level on request – e.g. for more advanced students, a 15-minute mini-lecture explains some of the theory behind how the zapper works, and how light is modulated using Infrared (IR) data packets.

*Please note these devices are safe. Only Infrared (IR) LEDs are used for transmission, not lasers.

Robots rule!

Curriculum: 8–10, General Science, Robotics

Locations:

Duration: 1.5 hours

Cost: $20 per student

Class capacity: 25 students

Robots are radically changing the world we know. This workshop puts students in the driver’s seat. Students in small teams test an all-terrain, wireless-controlled robot platform, inspired by the Mars Rover ‘Curiosity’. The robot is fully manoeuvrable via a wireless interface on a PC.

In this workshop, students:

  • use the controls to drive their teams’ Curiosity Bots through a series of obstacles
  • take photos of their journey via a wireless camera along the way
  • compete against other teams

Students also discover how robots are assembled and how they function. This activity illustrates how robots are revolutionising everything from cleaning systems to medical technologies.

Wearable technology - the new accessories

Curriculum: 9 and 10, General Science

Locations:

Duration: 2 hours

Cost: $25 per student

Class capacity: 25 students

Along with the smart phones that are becoming almost an inseparable lifestyle accessory, consumers are rapidly incorporating all kinds of new wearable technology into their lives, either as accessories or as part of the materials used in clothing. Wearable technology is found across many industries, from professional sports to health care and fashion.

Using a small programmable microcontroller called a LilyPad Arduino, students in this workshop:

  • cut out their own wearable design from felt material
  • sew on a set of electronic modules that can be stitched together with conductive thread
  • program the modules to create a new and innovative up-to-the-minute wearable accessory

Quake-proof a skyscraper

Curriculum: 8–10, General Science

Locations:

Duration: 2 hours

Cost: $20 per student

Class capacity: 25 students

Skyscrapers continue to grow taller and taller, pushing the limits of modern engineering technology.

In this workshop, students:

  • learn how civil engineers design buildings to manage the effect of earthquakes, strong winds and storms
  • are challenged to reduce the vibrations in a model skyscraper

For enquiries please contact SHE outreach (03 9479 6516), join our mailing list, download our brochure [PDF 2.3MB] or program summary [PDF 0.3MB].