The University of the Sunshine Coast gave us an amazing opportunity to spend five spectacular days over five weeks to participate in their STEM Program. On the first day we had an activity about the G Forces of Grasshoppers presented by Dr Christofer Clemente. We learnt about how animals move, in particular the grasshopper. In this activity, we got to catch our own grasshopper, and record how fast it could jump. Once we had the video of the grasshopper, we got to calculate the G Force of the insect using a computer program and mathematical calculations. This was very interesting and some ways difficult. This was a very engaging and practical start to the program and was a great eye opener to the different STEM careers available to us.
On the second workshop of the STEM program, we had Dr Javier Leon teach us about 3D information. We learnt about the importance of 3D information and how it can help us measure things like sea level rise. In groups, we took many photos of a lego display from multiple angles to create a 3D image on the computer. After taking these photos, we used a special platform where we were able to upload them onto a data base and they were transformed into pixels. The more photos the better as a more accurate 3D representation will be made. This presentation showed the importance of technology and how it can help us see the world.
On the third week we had a playing with light spectroscopy activity. Dr Carolyn Jacobs gave a riveting presentation about how she got to where she was, working at the University of the Sunshine Coast. She has travelled and worked in so many amazing places because she is an engineer. We did an activity where we made our own light spectrometers that we could put on our phones, and when we took photos you could see a rainbow. It was a lot of fun. This presentation was very eye opening to the many different STEM careers.
In the fourth week we had an interactive lesson on maths and science with Dr. Aaron Wiegand. He taught us about the fundamental differences between maths and science and how nothing can be proven with science, but it can with maths. We did an activity with smarties in which we came up with a hypothesis on the number of smarties in one box.
This was probably one of the best lectures, as it was quite interesting and we learned some tricks with equations that changed how we viewed the world.
On the last amazing day of the STEM Program, we had a series of lecturers from the University of The Sunshine Coast talking to us about their passions and how they achieved them. One of the lecturers Dr. Christofer Clemente, told us the he began researching spiders. Dr. Clemente then told us that after he got bored with spiders he began researching other animals too, such as lizards, bats and grasshoppers. All the speakers shared inspiring and helpful stories that helped broaden our knowledge and understanding of the many different STEM career pathways out there for us. Overall, it was an experience very worthwhile! Finally we must thank Mr Doolan for driving us to and from the University each Monday afternoon for the last 5 weeks.
Kacey Dickens, Ariana Doolan, Kate Jackson, Sarah Mens and Casey Woods.