Expo cultivates our next generation of engineers

Last month nearly 1000 students from Oakleigh South, Clarinda and Huntingdale Primary Schools gathered at Monash’s first-ever Engineering Expo for this age group. Prep to Year 5 groups rotated through a range of interactive sessions where Engineering students shared how they’ve creatively solved real-world problems using maths and science. The Expo, hosted by OSPS, encouraged youngsters to consider how they too might shape the future through engineering.

Last month nearly 1000 students from Oakleigh South, Clarinda and Huntingdale Primary Schools gathered at Monash’s first-ever Engineering Expo for this age group. Prep to Year 5 groups rotated through a range of interactive sessions where Engineering students shared how they’ve creatively solved real-world problems using maths and science. The Expo, hosted by OSPS, encouraged youngsters to consider how they too might shape the future through engineering.

Precious Plastic brought along a recycling machine that can shred plastic to turn it into some other valuable product (for example, jewellery or a bowl). Nova Rover showed off the talents of their Mars rover robot and robotic arm. Unmanned Aerial Systems commanded some futuristic drones. Monash Human Power pushed the limits of human speed with a streamlined recumbent bicycle. Monash Motorsport gave kids a go on their race car simulator. And High Powered Rocketry launched small rockets from the school oval!

Additionally, Robogals ran a robotics workshop for all Year 5 students, with a chance to work with small programmable robots. They also engaged Year 4 teams in a competition to build – from spaghetti strands and tape – the highest tower that could support a marshmallow at the top.

To highlight the pressing need for clean water and water treatment techniques, Engineers Without Borders asked Year 3 students to make a basic water filter. They assigned each team a different country, with budget and cost of materials reflecting its gross domestic product and literacy rate. The goal was to produce the cleanest-looking water possible.

The driving force behind the Expo was Prof Elizabeth Croft, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. “To maintain our living standards, we need more engineers to build a technologically innovative economy,” she asserts. “Let’s start by recruiting them in our primary schools.” If the Expo has inspired even a handful of future engineers, it has been a resounding success.