Rising to the challenge
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LESMURDIE Primary School and Ellenbrook Secondary College are through to the next round of the Schools Solar Challenge after winning their heats in the eastern corridor semi-final at Mazenod College last week.
More than 1000 school children have taken part in the initiative, which aims to ignite excitement about learning science at school.
The challenge, a joint initiative between Synergy and the Science Teachers’ Association of WA (STAWA), enables Year 6 and Year 8 students to build and race model solar-powered cars against other schools.
The program is designed specifically to address the comparatively low number of students choosing to study science, technology, engineering and math (Stem) subjects.
STAWA chief executive John Clarke said given so many jobs of the future were going to be technology-based, the declining interest in Stem subjects was a problem STAWA was trying to address.
“The challenge resources teachers and enables them to inspire their students into continue studying science,” he said.
“A Federal Government report has highlighted the extent of the risk to Australia’s capacity to compete for thousands of jobs in the next decade as more industries become automated.
“The key to addressing what is going to be a global employment problem is having sufficient numbers of our students right now choosing to study Stem subjects.”
Synergy chief executive Jason Waters said the challenge was also an excellent way to educate students about the benefits of solar and renewable energy.
“The Solar Challenge teaches students basic engineering principles in a fun and interactive way and is a great initiative,” he said.
The grand final will be held on April 10.
Darling Range Sports College, Ellenbrook Secondary College, Helena College, Hillside Christian College, Lesmurdie Primary School, Mazenod College, St Joseph’s School (Northam), Swan Christian College and York DHS all took part in the semi-final.
Tom Hodgkinson, Maddy Gunawan and Emma Marshall of Lesmurdie PS.