Gath­er­ing of geeks shows some E=MC2

The Riverine Herald - - NEWS - By Kenji Sato

LIT­TLE sci­en­tists in the mak­ing gath­ered at Echuca Col­lege last week for its sec­ond an­nual maker’s fair.

More than 1000 pri­mary school stu­dents from 10 schools learnt how to de­sign, code and make a range of gad­gets, giz­mos and ro­bots.

The fair’s or­gan­iser Paul Gal­limore said he was geek­ing out over all the new tech­nol­ogy, par­tic­u­larly the 3D printer and the pro­gram­mable Lego ro­bots.

“It’s fan­tas­tic tech­nol­ogy that th­ese kids are def­i­nitely go­ing to need to use in the fu­ture,” he said.

“I was just telling the kids that NASA uses 3D print­ing in space, which I think is re­ally cool.”

The fair was run with the help of 45 Echuca Col­lege stu­dent lead­ers who taught the work­shops.

At one work­shop chil­dren took tooth­brush heads and wired them with tiny mo­tors to make ‘buzzbots’, which raced across the floor.

At an­other, chil­dren learnt how to write code for ‘dis­cov­ery bots’, which were pro­grammed to serve hu­man­ity and play robot soc­cer.

“The dis­cov­ery bots were kindly lent to us from the peo­ple vis­it­ing us from La Trobe Univer­sity,” Paul said.

The col­lege was also vis­ited by peo­ple from Cam­paspe Shire Coun­cil, eS­mart Schools and TwistED sci­ence who lent their equip­ment and sci­en­tific knowhow.

“We wanted to make this a big com­mu­nity en­gage­ment ac­tiv­ity. We asked var­i­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions if they wanted to be part of it and we were thrilled when they all said yes.”

The maker’s fair brought in chil­dren from Lock­ing­ton Con­sol­i­dated Pri­mary, Ton­gala Pri­mary, Mathoura Pri­mary, Nan­neella Es­tate Pri­mary, Echuca East Pri­mary and Echuca South Pri­mary.

As­sis­tant prin­ci­pal Melissa Gould said the maker’s fair was in­tended to in­spire the chil­dren to pur­sue a ca­reer in sci­ence, com­put­ers or tech­nol­ogy.

“We want to teach our stu­dents to code, prob­lem solve and get in touch with 21st cen­tury skills,” she said.

“We’re in­te­grat­ing more of this tech­nol­ogy into our classes as we get them. A lot of th­ese kids have been brought up with ba­sic cod­ing in pri­mary school so we’re mak­ing it a part of our cur­ricu­lum to make sure they’re ready for the jobs of to­mor­row.”

CLOSE UP: Iso­bell Leech, left, and Ella Ash were work­ing with the mi­cro­scopes to get up close and per­sonal with some spec­i­men snails.

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