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Nearly 100 Year 7 and 8 students put a series of mechanical, electronic and robotic devices to work last week at Marsden State High School, during two Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) workshops designed to improve design thinking, creative problem-solving, and communication skills.
Developed by the QMEA, the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), the Mining for Code and Pulleys for Productivity workshops held on 1 and 3 June were run at Marsden State High School thanks to the generous support of QRC member companies through an education levy.
QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Katrina-Lee Jones said from constructing simple machines such as the pulley to using advanced miniature computers called Arduinos, students worked together to understand how the principles of mechanics, electronics, robotics and programming are used in the resources sector.
“The Mining for Code workshop saw students program in the coding language ‘C’, where they successfully generated a series of flashing lights, representing a safety feature found in the helmets of today’s resources industry workforce,” Ms Jones said.
“Students then worked together to determine the best sequence of lights to indicate certain emergency situations, allowing them to connect the innovative applications of technology in a real-world environment.
“The Pulleys for Productivity workshop then gave students an understanding of how traditional mechanisms such as pulleys use the concept of ‘mechanical advantage’ to make work easier, and the maths behind it.”
Marsden State High School Principal, Mr Andrew Peach said running these two workshops consecutively was a fantastic opportunity for the students to experience the tangible applications of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
“Students of this age are remarkably inquisitive and have a real thirst for activities that are well presented, interactive, and motivated by real world situations and its beneficial for them to learn about the variety of skills required to be a part of the resources sector,” Mr Peach said.
“Abstract notions of force and work take on personal meaning when you are lifting a heavy object with a rope and a pulley, or making a robot do your bidding!”
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.