LEGO helps build students' interest in STEM

20 April 2022

Regional Queensland's brightest young minds have spent part of their school holidays immersed in LEGO® as they explored the exciting engineering and science careers of the future' thanks to CQUniversity's Young Engineers program.

The program travelled to six regional towns between Mackay and Noosa' attracting over 180 school students from Years 1 to 8.

Program organiser CQUniversity Deputy Director of Online Systems and Future Proofing Pavle Jeric said they kicked off the two-day workshops by combining the use of LEGO® compatible building blocks and coding to create models of real-world devices.

"We started by building models that illustrate working in some of the older professions such as civil engineering before moving onto mechanical' electrical' and mechatronic engineering'" Mr Jeric explained.

"Students constructed devices that help builders overcome gravity such as cranes' and equipped LEGO® forklifts with smart sensors.

"Some of our students did a deep dive into electronics by learning how to wire a seven-segment-display to show digital numbers just like on a microwave or digital clock' and we saw how mechanical and electronics engineering come together by building smart robots that use sensors to chase objects."

Mr Jeric said the students also explored engineering in the real world when they were faced with various scenarios that had problems that needed to be solved.

"The students designed mechanical grappling tools and smart bowling alleys that counted how many balls were thrown at it."

When it came to creative thinking' Mr Jeric said the students worked together as a team and impressed the instructors.

"The students demonstrated excellent teamwork. Those with building skills worked closely with those with coding skills and through very good time management' built and coded models of airplanes and fans' to name only a few'" he said.

Different levels of the program cater to a range of ages and abilities. The students had a lot of fun while getting to experience what mechanical' mechatronic' software and other engineers do every day.

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