Generating electricity from lemons and converting vinegar into banana essence have been among the activities for North East students taking part in a Victoria University Science roadshow.
For a number of years the VU2U event has been visiting regional schools, providing access to state-of-the-art equipment.
This week university academics were based at Wangaratta High School, with secondary students also coming from Bright, Mansfield, Mount Beauty, Yarrawonga and Shepparton to take part.
VU2U roadshow manager Barbara Opar said the sessions focused on STEM and biomechanics, which is a key component of VCE Physical Education.
“The roadshow has always been about high-end chemistry analysis, using some very sophisticated tools,” she said.
“The activities are directly related to the year 11 and year 12 curriculum.
“Because no secondary schools in the state have access to this sort of equipment, kids in the country don’t get to use it unless we bring it.”
Ms Opar said the gear has been used regularly in research done by the post-graduate PhD students among the team who visited Wangaratta High.
“We look at energy drinks and the amount of caffeine in them, and we also brought robotics.
“There’s lego design work, and one of the jobs with the robots is to control it and pop a balloon – it sounds easy but so far no one has managed to do it.”
Ms Opar said fitness testing, like a scaled-down version of the AFL draft camp test, was also offered.
“We’re using an organisation who work with Victoria University called Global Performance Testing,” she said.
“They work with the Australian Sports Commission and those kind of organisations.
“The kids here yesterday had a chance to be involved and at the end they got a certificate, and if they did the same test again tomorrow it would come up with consistent results.
“A few students were in the Murray Bushrangers, so they were excited they had official test results they could use.”
- ELLEN EBSARY