The Fraser Coast Science and Engineering Challenge regional winning team, Aldridge State High School, competed for the state title in Townsville.
The Fraser Coast Science and Engineering Challenge regional winning team, Aldridge State High School, competed for the state title in Townsville. Jocelyn Watts

Aldridge students snag second place at engineering contest

IT WASN'T gold but the second-place podium finish by Aldridge State High School students at the Queensland Super Challenge Series still elicited cheers from all those associated with the competition.

"We were pipped at the post by St Joseph's Nudgee and came second after leading almost to the end," ASHS head of science department Iain Carson said.

He said the students were gracious in defeat yet thrilled they took out the second top spot in such a prestigious event.

The Queensland Super Challenge Series, held in Townsville earlier this month, is designed to raise awareness of students wanting to pursue careers in the sciences and engineering.

"My colleague Ruth Graham and I are so proud of the effort and determination of our own group of geniuses," Mr Carson said.

"Special praise was given to our bridge-building team's innovative design by the organising engineer from Newcastle University."

The ASHS students earned the right to compete at the event by winning the regional title in May at a competition hosted by University of Southern Queensland Fraser Coast, the Combined Rotary Clubs of Hervey Bay and the University of Newcastle.

Sixteen regional winners were selected to attend the state challenge at James Cook University in Townsville last week.

Mr Carson said the day's activities included designing a Mechano Mars rover vehicle that could traverse rocky terrain while carrying a rickety load of wood cubes without falling off the 2.5m track.

"Other activities included building a large medieval trebuchet using dowel and string," he said.

The siege machine had to throw projectiles at a large bullseye 25m away.

"Students also had to design and build a small eco-friendly Antarctic research station, which could collect its own water, withstand cyclonic winds and be able to withstand a heavy load on its roof, simulating a helipad.

"They also designed air-powered cars, used aeronautic theory to design the perfect paper plane, designed a tall tower able to withstand earthquakes and looked at powering a small city, using four different energy sources in the most eco-friendly and cheapest way.

"Our students had loads of fun and displayed exemplary team and problem-solving skills."

Mr Carson said ASHS had now competed in the Queensland Super Challenge Series finals three times in the past four years.

"I would like to thank the support of organisers as well local Rotary clubs who kindly donated to our fund-raising efforts and our principal Ross Higgins for his continued vigorous support and encouragement of this activity," he said.

"The children's parents and teachers should be very proud of them. I know I certainly am."
 



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