Engineering Physicists course – July school holidays

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A small snapshot of the Engineering course run through the Imaginarium in the July holidays:

The two-day Engineering Physicists course explored the principles of flight as participants learnt about Newton’s Laws and Bernoulli’s Principle. Hands-on experiments explored the concepts while divergent thinking considered how flying devices or living things use unbalanced forces to control their flight. Newton’s Laws and Bernoulli’s Principle were applied to sky diving with various physics equations such as gravitational force, the force of drag, the density of liquids and drag co-efficients for simple objects being applied to different situational contexts.

Qantas Engineer Mark Duyckers presented a session on the physics of flight, how different materials affect air resistance and his role as an aircraft engineer and also answered questions participants were curious about. An excursion to iFLY Perth saw many brave girls experiencing firsthand the physics involved in sky diving.

The Engineering Design process was used to create a prototype of an innovative flying device, which incorporated the principles of flight in its design. This allowed each participant to work independently and be creative with her design and application of concepts whilst considering the practicality and market for the design.

Ella said, “I enjoyed learning how planes employ the principles of flight to stay off the ground. I also enjoyed learning from an expert with the guest speaker from Qantas. The excursion to iFLY allowed me to feel firsthand how air pressure works and how much force was holding me up. Can you imagine doing this as your job every day?”

Charlotte said, “I enjoyed learning about the design of the plane, including the shape and different materials to ensure it is aerodynamic. I like designing and building my own device and found it challenging to implement the four principles of flight.”

Stella said, “I learnt how the wings of a plane work and move, which was different to my initial thoughts. I enjoyed learning the complex equations that relate to the principles of flight and experiencing the sensation of air pressure in the wind tunnel on the excursion.”

This is the second Imaginarium holiday course Stella has participated in that integrates a STEM focus. When asked why she likes to participate in these courses, she said, “I like participating because you learn a lot of complex things that you don’t get to explore in the classroom. The courses are always fun, we get to experiment, and we are taught differently.”