Rotarians Lead at University Science and Engineering Challenge
Martyn helps a student in building an operational bionic hand
Merimbula Rotarians Brad, Martyn, Pauline and Gai with students from Bombala High School
Pauline assists students from St Patrick’s Parish School, Cooma
Local Rotarians assisted with the annual Sapphire Coast Science and Engineering Challenge, held at the Kalaru Turf Club Friday,
13 March.
The Science and Engineering Challenge, developed and run by the University of Newcastle, is a day-long competition providing Years 9 & 10 high school students with a positive, hands-on experience of science and engineering.
Four Merimbula Rotarians, including Brad Barker, Gai Byrne, Pauline Neville and Martyn Witton, led two groups of students in a challenge called Grasping at Straws. This activity required students to design and construct a working model of a bionic hand. Materials consisted of poly pipe, drinking straws, string, paddle pop sticks, masking tape, cotton wool and disposable gloves.  The students had about an hour to complete the task.
Other activities, also run by local volunteers, included building a small, functioning hovercraft; constructing a light and strong bridge capable of holding significant weight; and designing a system of efficient codes to send messages along fibre optic rods using pulses of coloured light.
This program importantly offers university-level science and engineering learning opportunities, not readily available in rural areas of NSW, for young local students.
Martyn showing Brad his finished bionic hand