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Close to 75 students are today (8 June) taking to the skies as eight schools compete for first place at the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy’s (QMEA) Physics in Flight workshop, thanks to support from ConocoPhillips Australia, as downstream operator of Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG).
The QMEA, the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), runs this workshop to allow students to learn about science in a practical and enjoyable way, working alongside representatives from APLNG, with parents and teachers cheering the students on to greater heights.
QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said the friendly competition shows that science is fun, creative and suited to everyone.
“As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led initiative linking schools with the resources sector, we know programs don’t have to be highly technical or intensive to reach students – often applying simple concepts in an entertaining way is highly effective,” she said.
“Each school will field two teams of six students to design a paper plane with the goal of staying in the air the longest.
“Students will have two ‘test flights’ where they will be able to take on advice from industry mentors to improve their prototype, before competing for first place.”
ConocoPhillips Australia’s Manager Communities and Sustainable Development, Mr Robert Gibb said the team with the longest flight time will take home the coveted ‘Physics in Flight Trophy’.
“It sounds like a basic activity, but schools have reported seeing students take a direct path into science thanks to their attendance at previous Physics in Flight workshops,” Mr Gibbs said.
“There are other prizes up for grabs on the day to encourage students to design the best prototype including longest individual flight time, best team costume, best team cheer and best individual plane design.”
Chanel College Principal, Dr Susan Bunkum said the school is very excited to be hosting a workshop that helps students further develop skills in teamwork, communication, design thinking, and promotes healthy competition.
“It’s a great day of friendly contest between the schools, and some students have been practising since the start of the year,” Dr Bunkum said.
“Nearly anyone can make a paper aeroplane, but this workshop allows the students to see the tangible results of taking advice from an industry professional to improve their design, meaning every student has value to add at this competition.
“It’s an inclusive day that showcases how we interact with physics every day, and students learn more about careers in the resources sector while working alongside industry experts.”
As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and schools training 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.