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News from the Science Faculty
The Science and Engineering Challenge – Written by Year 10 students Liam Downs, Ewan Magill and Isaac McCudden.

During Week 9, St Edward’s hosted the annual Science and Engineering Challenge. Year 9 and 10 students from various Central Coast schools competed over two days for glory!

On Tuesday, students from the following schools participated:

  • St Edward’s College
  • Narara Valley High School
  • Gorokan High School
  • Wyong Christian College
  • Morisset High School
  • St Joseph’s College
  • Gosford High School

On Wednesday, students from these schools competed:

  • Lisarow High School
  • Kincumber High School
  • Green Point Christian College
  • Central Coast Adventist College
  • Central Coast Grammar School
  • St Peter’s College
  • Erina High School
  • Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College

For the first time in the Science and Engineering Challenge, St Edward’s College entered two teams: one Year 10 team and one Year 9 team, sparking a fierce rivalry. The Year 10 team aimed not only to win overall but also to decisively beat the Year 9 team, as their science teacher (who shall remain unnamed) warned they would never live down a loss!

The first half of the day featured activities such as:

  • Flight: Students designed an autonomous glider to deliver supplies to a specific landing zone, simulating a scenario where a flood had cut off a regional town from food and medical supplies.
  • Fish Traps: A new activity where teams built structures using 3D-printed rocks and sticks to catch specific types and amounts of “fish” (marbles) as they swam along the river. This activity highlighted the engineering skills of First Nations people in Australia, referencing the well-known fish trap in Brewarrina, NSW.
  • Helter Skelter Shelter: Teams designed and built an earthquake-proof apartment block for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

At the lunch break, the score check revealed that St Edward’s Year 10 team was being beaten by the Year 9 team and was actually in last place. However, after a pep talk from their science teacher, they returned to the competition with renewed vigor.

In the second half of the day, the activities included:

  • Wind Turbine: Designing and building a model wind turbine that generated the greatest amount of speed and power.
  • Confounding Communications: Designing efficient codes to send messages along fiber optic rods using only pulses of colored light.
  • ElectraCITY: Providing electricity to as much of the city’s infrastructure as possible at the lowest possible cost, ideally making a profit.
  • Job Juggle: Completing and optimising schedules for scenarios such as an adventure camp, an airport, and a music festival. Despite their usual difficulties with scheduling school tasks, the team excelled in this activity.

The ultimate event was bridge testing, where teams spent the whole day building a bridge to carry “gold” ingots from one side of the test rig to the other.

The Year 10 team’s bridge was the third lightest and held the second highest weight. Combined with wins in Confounding Communications and Job Juggle, this led to a significant improvement in the overall standings. The Year 10 team made a remarkable comeback from last place at lunch to finish second overall, just 80 points behind Gosford High. Most importantly, they beat the St Edward’s Year 9 team!

Well done to all competitors for a great day. Special thanks to Mr Foster for organizing the event and Ms Mantellato for her wisdom and encouragement.