IT was an engineering win with strings attached - and straws, tennis balls and balsa wood, too.
A group of 21 Year 10 students from The Armidale School took out this year's Highlands Science and Engineering Challenge at the University of New England on 3 March, applying logic and creativity to top the scores across eight different challenges.
"In one we did called Stringways, we had to use string to connect towns together in the most efficient way. There were several different scenarios and points given for the most amount of string left over," said Samantha Price, who with team members Tom Sheedy and Emily Buntine, scored the highest marks.
"In one scenario the towns also had different levels - so as well as looking at the connections, we did the ones that had the higher rankings first."
Making water turbines to create a certain amount of electricity, designing the lightest possible bridge to carry the heaviest possible load, and transmitting codes along fibre optic rods in the most accurate way were among the other challenges tackled by the five participating schools.
The favourite for Fred Kearney was designing and operating a bionic hand with a difference.
"We had to use simple materials like a straw and a ball to make a hand that could make sign language movements," he said.
Apart from the challenges, the day also gave a snapshot of possible career paths.
"The competition really opened your eyes and gave a different perspective about various pathways that could be pursued, by doing activities that you wouldn't normally associate with engineering," Fred said.
It was the eighth time in the past 11 years that TAS has won the event against other schools from the region. The Highlands Challenge is supported by the University of Newcastle, the University of New England, Rotary Clubs, Engineers Australia and retired engineers, scientists and others.
The TAS team will now compete at one of the state finals in Newcastle August.
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