Sky is the limit for budding scientists

Published 4:30pm 18 August 2023

Sky is the limit for budding scientists
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

Dozens of plastic water bottle rockets could be seen flying high above the skies at Bray Park State High School this week as students took part in the hands-on experiment during National Science Week.

The students had a blast launching the rockets during their break, which were brought in by the team from It’s Rocket Science Adventures.

Bray Park State High School Principal Peter Turner said the rocket launch on Wednesday was one of many fun activities held throughout the week.

“Science Week this year has been a real celebration of all things STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), with the theme for this year being Innovation: Powering Future Industries,” Peter said.

“Grant Nicol, who is Head of the Science Department, and who also goes by the name of Professor Braystone, energized the school and the students to come out and experience a wide range of activities that related to the theme including flying drones in the hall, the annual Bray Lego Masters Challenge, building cardboard rockets, stargazing at our astronomy night and even getting our senior students to dress up in their best science-themed costumes.

“Lots of students across all year levels were involved with the festivities, which was a fun way to learn about science and innovation.”

To see more photos, click through the gallery below. 

Green scheme wins youth award

Peter said National Science Week topped off an excellent year for the school in the science department, especially after two students were recognised for their efforts and innovation at the 2023 Moreton Bay Business and Innovation Awards.

Project Bray Green, which encourages students to recycle plastic on school grounds for points, won the Telstra Award for Youth Innovation Excellence at the gala ceremony.

Students Omar Abdelaty and Corey Biggers, who are part of the school’s Innovate science program, came up with the concept after realising how many plastic bottles were sold through the school’s tuck shop.

The boys, who are currently in Year 8, started developing the idea for their project last year to stop the bottles ending up in landfill.

As part of the Innovate program’s prerequisites, their idea had to be both innovative and sustainable, and they also had to build a business plan and an app to support their project.

“It started with a simple school assignment – we innovated it more with the teachers and Year 7 and 8 students,” Omar says.

While many businesses encourage recycling amongst their staff, rewarding students when they recycle has not been considered in schools.

“We have stands set up around the school with QR codes on them and developed an app and a website to take it outside school,” Corey says.

“The students recycle their bottles at the stands and scan their QR code to accumulate points and those can be used to redeem rewards such as handballs, gift cards and tuck shop vouchers.”

The model not only helps clean up the school, but it also gives the P&C a chance to benefit by taking the plastic bottles to recycling centres and exchanging them for cash.

Omar and Corey hope to partner with other corporate businesses to get further support for their project.

With a target age range of five to 18, the system can be used in primary and high schools anywhere.

Sky is the limit for budding scientists
Above: Omar Abdelaty and Corey Biggers who won the Telstra Award for Youth Innovation Excellence at the 2023 Moreton Bay Business and Innovation Awards.

About National Science Week

Established in 1997, National Science Week provides an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of Australian scientists to the world of knowledge. It also aims to encourage an interest in science pursuits among the general public, and to encourage younger people to be fascinated by the world we live in.

Held each year in August, it features more than 1000 events around Australia, including those delivered by universities, schools, research institutions, libraries, museums and science centres. These events attract a wide audience from children to adults, and science amateurs to professionals. Over one million people participate in science events across the nation.

To find out more about National Science Week, visit the website.

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