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First place for Wenona’s team of Years 9 and 10 students at the competitive Science and Engineering Challenge.

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Nail-biting excitement characterised the 2022 Science and Engineering Challenge on Wednesday, as around 256 students from eight high-performing north shore schools, pitted their wits against a series of brain-building activities designed by the University of Newcastle.

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The tasks included building a bridge, devising an earthquake-proof tower, supplying electricity to a city, and designing a buggy for use on Mars.

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Each activity was designed for maximum creativity, collaboration and problem-solving fun, taking the students out of the classroom and opening their minds to the exciting and varied appeal of a science and engineering career.

Perhaps the highlight of the event was the bridge-building task. The students used their engineering and architectural nous to construct a bridge that could bear up to 200 times its weight from cardboard, balsa, twine and tape. The strength of each bridge was then tested in an edge-of-your-seat competition in front of the crowd.

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The Wenona team won both the bridge competition and the regional challenge overall, based on a calculation of points scored across each activity.

"For me, the biggest takeaway from the Science and Engineering Challenge was just how many applications there are for engineering, and STEM as a whole", said Year 10 student Bella. "I think our success was due to our preparation, ability to communicate and work collaboratively across year groups, positive attitude and competitive spirit. This enabled us to hype each other up for the challenge ahead, and maintain an optimistic outlook throughout the day".   

The Wenona team is now waiting to hear if it has qualified for the State Final in Newcastle.