Innovating in National Science Week

From the first inventors to those of the future, innovation drives science.

It’s National Science Week, and this year’s theme is Innovation: Powering Future Industries.

For students in Year 7 at IGS, National Science Week has revolved around learning about innovation and how it allows us to work in our environment.

“We learned about the first inventors, and we thought about how they shaped their environment to help them catch food,” said Head of Science Ms Liz Turner. The first inventors are the Gunditjmara of southwestern Victoria. They are known for the Budj Bim Aquaculture, a complex network of channels and dams used to sustainably trap and store eels for thousands of years.

“Now in the age of space exploration, we want to use these same principles to think about how we can move around in space, in this case on Mars,” she said. The students were tasked with building planetary pasta rovers using dry pasta and glue. The rovers must be able to handle a variety of terrains, just as the NASA rovers on Mars do. Students also had to build their rovers within the constraints of a budget, where pasta parts come with price tags. Thankfully, glue is considered an incidental expense.

“We decided to make a rover with six wheels,” explained one student. “The axel in the middle is a different size of penne pasta from the other two axels, which will help it to not get stuck on uneven surfaces.” As preparation time expired, students lined up in the back of the classroom to test their rovers on a ramp.

National Science Week festivities are set to continue into the next couple of weeks here at IGS with experiments and activities involving drones, dry ice and rockets.