Physics in Flight 1

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The sky was the limit for engineering prowess today as over 40 Year 5 and 7 students from seven Gladstone schools embarked on a gravity-defying quest at ‘Physics in Flight’, an exciting workshop orchestrated by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy’s (QMEA), the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).

This unique learning experience made possible thanks to support from ConocoPhillips Australia, the downstream operator of Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG), sought to ignite a passion for science in the hearts of students through hands-on physics activities integrated with some healthy competition.

QRC Director of Skills, Education, and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said these young aviators gained profound insights into the various science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) career prospects the resources and energy sector holds.

“The stage was set for an aerial extravaganza today as teams of students from Toolooa and Calliope state high schools, Chanel College, St John’s Catholic College Gladstone, St Francis Gladstone, Star of the Sea, and Calliope State School competed to build the best paper aeroplane,” Ms Jones said.

“Just like the laws of physics, science knows no bounds when it comes to creativity and fun, and though this challenge may seem elementary, the concepts and skills participants walked away with are extremely beneficial for their professional development.”

Manager of Communities and Sustainable Development at ConocoPhillips Australia, Mr Robert Gibb said each team got the opportunity to use two “test flights,” harness the wisdom of industry mentors to fine-tune their prototypes, before they ascended toward the grand prize.

“Crafting a paper aircraft can be simple, but this event enabled students to witness firsthand the tangible results of incorporating expert advice and working collaboratively as a team to achieve a common goal,” Mr Gibb said.

“These are valuable traits that the students can take with them especially in the resources and energy sector, and we hope this STEM-inspired workshop has encouraged the cohort to consider a rewarding career at APLNG.”

Chanel College Principal, Ms Susan Bunkum said the school was proud to be hosting the event today, and students were quite excited to compete for first place.

“Today, prizes were awarded for the longest individual flight time, the most splendid team costume, the most harmonious team cheer, and the most ingenious individual plane design, fostering an atmosphere of inspiration and innovation for these bright young minds,” Ms Bunkum said.

“This event epitomized the spirit of camaraderie among neighbouring schools and was an engaging way for students to experience how dedication, perseverance, and cooperation can help you achieve any goal you set your mind to.”

As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and schools initiative, the QMEA seeks to broaden student and teacher knowledge of career opportunities in resources.

The academy encourages a talent pipeline of employees into vocational and professional careers, with a focus on female and Indigenous participation. The QMEA currently engages with over 90 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.

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