STEngineering: All Things Forces, Friction & Gravity

STEngineering: All Things Forces, Friction & Gravity

Year 7 STEngineering students were tasked with designing a mini golf course, which had a set theme and needed to include at least two obstacles.

The girls were given 10 lessons to complete the golf course and showcased their final product in the Super Lab to teachers and their classmates.

Julianne Haggerty, Science Teacher and Year 7 STEngineering Coordinator, talks more in-depth about the aim of the project.

“Designing and building the golf course required them to apply their knowledge of forces, in particular gravity and friction. They had to consider how increasing or decreasing friction and adding ramps, and slopes would increase or decrease the ball’s speed. The course had to be playable in more than two strokes, which meant they had to consider the difficulty level of their course and how they could alter the level using their chosen obstacles.”, says Julianne.

“This task required the girls to integrate their skills from several disciplines, including science, maths, and design technologies, and allowed them to demonstrate their understanding of theoretical topics such as measurement, forces, and angles in a hands-on manner. The project encouraged them to think innovatively, utilise creativity and work collaboratively to create their product, whilst working through the engineering design process; identify the problem, brainstorm, design, build, test and evaluate, then share the solution.”, adds Julianne.

Principal, Jennifer Oaten, paid a visit to students to see what they produced. She even managed to play a course or two!

“STEngineering encourages our students to tackle problems with a creative mind. Trial and error, considering alternatives, and using real world applications enables students to develop skills which are a great foundation to not only engineering, but many other pathways”, says Jennifer. 

“The program develops confidence in our girls and exposes them to so many possibilities and opportunities for their future. The world needs more girls in engineering and this is a great starting point!”, adds Jennifer. 

Here is what some of the girls had to say about their experience:

One of the challenges we faced while completing this task was executing all our ideas in the time frame. It was very difficult to manage and juggle all the jobs and little details, especially the spinning wind turbine. We had to divide some jobs and work at home for bits as well. Adayna Fozdar

During the construction of our mini golf course, I learned a variety of skills, including collaboration and how to effectively use my time. A highlight for me personally was when our motor began working and started spinning our motorised wind turbine when the ball fell into the hole. My entire group was very excited, and we were so proud of ourselves for getting our circuitry working. This wind turbine was a bit of a challenge as well. At the start, it was too heavy and was unable to effectively support itself. But the elation and satisfaction when it finally worked were worth all the effort we put in! Sophie McCarthy

Creating my mini golf course with my group, I have learned about the engineering process and all the steps involved, including how many times you must test and redesign your project! My favourite part of the project was seeing the final product and getting to play all the mini golf courses. A challenge of the project was the durability of materials as we only had access to materials like cardboard and Styrofoam. I really enjoyed the project and recommend choosing STEngineers as an elective! Alyssa Thomson

If your daughter enjoys problem-solving, designing, and building things, then this elective is for her! For more information, feel free to reach out to Julianne Haggerty at 6330 0239.

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