Gathering of geeks shows some E=MC2

September 15, 2017

Isobell Leech (left) and Ella Ash (right) examine snails under a microscope.

LITTLE scientists in the making gathered at Echuca College last week for its second annual maker’s fair.

More than 1000 primary school students from 10 schools learnt how to design, code and make a range of gadgets, gizmos and robots.

The fair’s organiser Paul Gallimore said he was geeking out over all the new technology, particularly the 3D printer and the programmable Lego robots.

“It’s fantastic technology that these kids are definitely going to need to use in the future,” he said.

“I was just telling the kids that NASA uses 3D printing in space, which I think is really cool.”

The fair was run with the help of 45 Echuca College student leaders who taught the workshops.

At one workshop children took toothbrush heads and wired them with tiny motors to make ‘buzzbots’, which raced across the floor.

At another, children learnt how to write code for ‘discovery bots’, which were programmed to serve humanity and play robot soccer.

“The discovery bots were kindly lent to us from the people visiting us from La Trobe University,” Paul said.

The college was also visited by people from Campaspe Shire Council, eSmart Schools and TwistED science who lent their equipment and scientific know-how.

“We wanted to make this a big community engagement activity. We asked various organisations if they wanted to be part of it and we were thrilled when they all said yes.”

The maker’s fair brought in children from Lockington Consolidated Primary, Tongala Primary, Mathoura Primary, Nanneella Estate Primary, Echuca East Primary and Echuca South Primary.

Assistant principal Melissa Gould said the maker’s fair was intended to inspire the children to pursue a career in science, computers or technology.

“We want to teach our students to code, problem solve and get in touch with 21st century skills,” she said.

“We’re integrating more of this technology into our classes as we get them. A lot of these kids have been brought up with basic coding in primary school so we’re making it a part of our curriculum to make sure they’re ready for the jobs of tomorrow.”

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