Local school students have matched wits with their science rivals and taken on tough tasks for the Kempsey Science and Engineering Challenge 2019.
In the twentieth year of the science and engineering challenge local students from Hastings Secondary College collected a Champion School trophy for their work across eight activities.
The trials included designing and building a cardboard table and chairs for a heavy set animal, code breaking, making a bionic hand and a Mars rover that travels on rough terrain.
More difficult challenges included constructing a tower of paper and straws to withstand an earthquake and a bridge using balsa and sticky tape, which Port Macquarie did particularly well in.
Year ten students Vianne Batchelor and Shaynae Murray, both 15 said the challenges were fun but uncommon in everyday life.
"It was fun, it taught us more about science careers and what they would be like," said Ms Batchelor.
"Some scenarios that you wouldn't expect in day to day like morse code.
"It was good to see our school competing with other teams, great seeing other students and it was definitely competitive."
Ms Murray said she was interested in a science career and hopeful to study towards becoming a surgeon.
"I love biology and robotics as well,"
"Although the challenges were different to science in everyday life.
"It was a surprise for us to win the champion school because earlier in the day we had placed seventh, then fifth and then first."
Year nine student Tiffany Carstairs, who was particularly interested in creating the bionic hand said it was made from straws, masking tape, string and an elastic band.
"The bionic hand was very active and could pick up straws or balls," she said.
"We also had to perform sign language.
"It was really good at bending but couldn't make a fist or pick up a heavy ball."
Ms Carstairs said the team finished most of the hand in a rush during the last twenty minutes of the timelimit.
Twenty two students from HSC took part from year nine and ten assisted by three year eights and one year seven student.
They included Natalie Barrett, Shaynae Murray, Jorja Schofield, Phoebie Brown, Sarah Christian, Vianne Batchelor, Kimberley Hughes, Chloe Sinclair, Talisha Tubman, Ethan Unasa, Michael Civic, Jadzea Gooch, Sophia Mavros, Cooper Coad, Cody Barber, Connor Gordon, Luke Aguilar, Cameron Pickering, Zac Morgan and Ben Stevenson.
HSC community liaison officer Leanne Jeffery said the school has been participating for a number of years.
"(It's) an opportunity to experience practical applications of science and engineering," she said.
"It opens their eyes to careers and opportunities in science and allows them to understand they are capable of participating in science at a higher level.
"The highest scores from the regional challenges will attend the state challenge in Newcastle (in August)."
The Challenge is presented by the University of Newcastle in cooperation with Kempsey Advisory Training Enterprise, Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast, Engineers Australia Newcastle, Gordon & Heather Chirgwin, Rotary Clubs of Kempsey, South Rocks, & Kempsey West, Kempsey High School.
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