Blog Page


Engineers of the future – Central Queensland Today – Central Queensland Today

By Matthew Pearce
About 40 young students learnt some space-age skills while having fun with LEGO blocks at the CQU Young Engineers Summer Holiday Camp this week.
Held at the CQUniversity Rockhampton North Advanced Technology Innovation Centre, the two-day event on Monday, 17 January and Tuesday, 18 January was designed to ignite students’ passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
Event organiser Pavle Jeric said the workshops, which have been held every school holidays since last April, allowed children from Years 1 to 8 to use hardware, LEGO compatible building blocks and coding to create prototypes to solve real-world problems.
The theme of the latest workshop was space and the space industry.
“We thought the holiday camp was a cool way of explaining to kids that there’s more to space than just becoming an astronaut, it’s a $370 billion industry worldwide and there’s a number of opportunities in a range of STEM careers in that industry,” he said.
“Australia and Queensland in particular is a very cool place to be if you are interested in space.
“Essentially, the theme is a way to get students engaged more generally and more broadly in a range of STEM topics.”
The children are split into three age groups, with the oldest students building an airplane for their first activity of the day, while the middle age group built a moon rover or Mars rover.
“The youngest kids are working on a challenge, they’re on Apollo 11, it’s an emergency, they’re in the spaceship canteen and all they have is a blender and they have to transform that blender into a drill machine,” Mr Jeric said.
“As engineers and scientists we reuse a lot of ideas from things that came before and there’s a lot of similarities between some day-to-day objects and the very complex machinery that engineers use.”
The older students also made use of a LEGO-compatible electronics kit, allowing them to design and build their own circuits.
“LEGO is the international language of play, most kids would have come across it at some point so you don’t have to teach how to put two LEGO pieces together, you can focus more on the science because they already have the fundamentals there.”
A computer engineer, Mr Jeric is CQUniversity’s deputy director for online systems in the Digital Services Directorate but takes time out from his ‘main’ job to host holiday camps around the region.
Similar programs are held after-hours in schools as extracurricular activities.
“We have a lot of returning students this time but there’s always a few new ones as well,” he said.
“There are some students who were here all of last year who have graduated to a more challenging program, while others come and go.”
The workshops also feature a strong focus on opportunities for girls in STEM.


× How can I help you?