Engineering

We have a number of Engineering outreach programs for VCE and Year 9 and 10 students 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, but not limited to 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 their own robotics system
  • calibrate their own robotics system
  • 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 various robotic components are utilised in industry to deliver low-cost, high precision and rapid solutions to problems faced by a 21st century society.

They 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 will:

  • 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  will

  • 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
  • taking photos of their journey via a wireless camera along the way

As well as manoeuvring a robot and competing against other teams, students 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
  • create a new and innovative up-to-the-minute wearable accessory

VCE

Designing for 3D printing

Curriculum: Year 11-12, General Science, Computer Science

Locations:

Duration: 1.5 hours

Cost: $20 per student

Class capacity: 25 students

The drop in price of home 3D printers and the availability of on-demand printing services has made additive manufacturing accessible for everyone.

Computer-aided design (CAD) uses software tools to create a virtual representation of an object that can then be printed. In this workshop students work in small teams with OpenSCAD, using a programming-like interface rather than a General User Interface (GUI) to construct the virtual object. In this workshop:

  • Students are guided through the creation of a virtual goblet (with a 3D printed sample displayed)
  • compete to create the best new soda bottle design

This activity includes a short presentation to highlight the use of CAD in industry, and at home.

For enquiries please contact SHE outreach (+61 03 9479 6516), join our mailing list or download our brochure [PDF 2.3MB]