ASPIRE – Jump into Uni! Dubbo 2018

5 November 2018

One of our Postdoctoral Fellows, Wen-Fan (Sally) Chen, was chosen to represent the School at the ASPIRE - Jump into Uni! program - an important regional event run by ASPIRE UNSW.

At Jump into Uni, Year 7 students from regional ASPIRE partner schools are invited to attend  this program which is aimed at increasing awareness of what higher education has to offer and to give the students confidence to see university as a place for them.

Sally developed a fun, hands-on activity to introduce the students to Materials Science and Engineering and recounts her experience below:

The “Jump into Uni” Dubbo Event was held on 26th -27th September 2108 and was attended by Year 7 students from regional ASPIRE Partner schools.  Due to the location of the schools in regional towns, it is often difficult for the students to visit universities or gain hands-on experience with scientific or engineering activities conducted in the laboratories.

I was part of a team who were responsible for conducting different activities at the event.  We aimed to deliver engaging classes which would build enthusiasm, motivation, and confidence in the students and increase their awareness of the positive aspects of attending university in the future.  I was representing the Faculty of Science and as part of my role, I organised the session “Catapult Design”.  The learning objectives involved determining the effect of the applied force on the capacity of load that can be launched, the effect of varying lengths of the lever on the distance travelled by the load, as well as the scientific concept behind the catapult design.  During the session, I taught the students to design their own catapults and then I organised a fun competition to find out which catapult design was most successful in terms of launching plastic balls the maximum.  The organisation of this competition increased their enjoyment significantly and this was clearly visible from their excitement and enthusiasm when their designs succeeded and failed.

In addition to my activity, the students participated in a range of fun and interactive workshops focussing on court scene re-enactment, painting, solar car design, and applying plaster casts.  From the response of the students, it was very clear that they enjoyed these activities thoroughly.  Everyone (including the presenters, volunteers, ASPIRE staff, and students) had a great time in meeting the students and in conducting and participating in the activities.  Overall, it was a great experience and something I would be keen to participate again in the future!