Coast students get a taste of science life

Students Brydon Crouch and Eloise Bullard with USC's Daniel Meloncelli at a 2016 chemistry workshop at USC.
Students Brydon Crouch and Eloise Bullard with USC's Daniel Meloncelli at a 2016 chemistry workshop at USC. Contributed

COAST school students will experience what it's like to be scientists and roboticists this week as the University of the Sunshine Coast stages a range of events to celebrate National Science Week.

The program starts on Monday when 60 Year 8 students from local high schools attend a robotics and coding day at USC's Innovation Centre Auditorium.

They will learn coding and sensor skills, before using their new robotics knowledge to put a Lego EV3 robot through a series of challenges.

On Wednesday, USC will treat high school students to dozens of workshops, such as hands-on chemistry experiments, a biomechanics 3D motion-capture exercise, app building and using virtual reality technology.

A special auditorium tent on campus will showcase women working in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and will be the venue for panel discussions, career talks and presentations from innovative female scientists.

USC Science Education Project Officer Sue Lanham said the day's theme, "Fly Far and Beyond”, aimed to show high school and undergraduate students the diverse career opportunities available in STEM.

"Science and technology stretch into such a broad range of fields, and STEM skills will be critical to many of the careers of the future,” she said.

"We'll highlight that by showcasing a huge range of USC research - from serious games to using detection dogs for conservation projects.

"There's a lot more to science than sitting behind a microscope in a lab.”

The scientific extravaganza will continue on Thursday, with USC's annual Science Research Awards for high school students starting at 4pm at USC's Innovation Centre.

More than 70 high school students will present their research posters detailing their school-based experiments to judges, with many of them also competing in the fast-talking Three Minute to Win It contest at 6.30pm.

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