Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) week

This event has already taken place.

Monday 30 May 2016 to Friday 3 June 2016

Victoria University's College of Engineering and Science invites your school to join us at our Footscray Park Campus for Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) week 2016.

Create, explore and learn!

Students will perform fun, hands-on experiments and challenges involving principles of science, engineering and technology.

Be a chemist for a day

30 May – 3 June 2016 morning and afternoon sessions

This program has been developed for Year 9 students. They will performs hands-on experiments that illustrate what real chemists do in their jobs.

Students may even be inspired to pursue studies and careers in science that they might previously not have considered.

The experiments, designed to engage students via their senses, might see students:

  • separate dyes in pen inks
  • make metals emit coloured light
  • remove oil from bird feathers with a magnet
  • convert aspirin into Dencorub
  • generate electricity from lemons
  • make a chemical clock.

Science & Engineering Challenge

2 – 3 June 2016 from 9am – 3pm

The Science and Engineering Challenge (The Challenge) is a set of fun and competitive hands-on activities involving principles of science, engineering and technology.

The concept is to immediately engage students in the activity with a minimum of introduction and theory.

Participating schools select their representative teams of between 24 and 32 students from Years 9 and 10.

A total of eight different activities are set for each day, and each school allocates three or four students to each activity.

The students are encouraged to explore scientific principles for themselves rather than being guided to a predetermined answer. Teams are divided into eight groups that compete in one full day or two half day activities.

Read more about the Science and Engineering Challenge.

Challenge activities

Teams are divided into eight groups that compete in one full day or two half day activities.

Bridge (Finale event)

Build a small bridge from balsa, pins, tape, paddle pop sticks etc. Points are awarded for strength and load-carrying capacity (tested with dynamic loads).

Catapult (Full day)

Construct a catapult from dowel, elastic bands and weights to launch a tennis ball. Points are awarded for distance and accuracy.

Hover Frenzy (Full day)

Construct a small hovercraft from motorised propulsion units, styrofoam, balsa, plastic and tape. Scoring is based on maneuverability, speed, and ability to negotiate obstacles.

ElectraCITY (Half day)

Students will be given a board with which they can simulate power distribution. Students will be provided with different quality cables and are required to make all loads operate. Students are assessed on the cost of their network, and how many loads are shed due to the failure of a power source.

Grasping at straws (Half day)

Students are required to design, build and use a 'bionic hand' built from PVC pipe, string, straws, and timber coffee stirrers. Each group will then assess the effectiveness of their construction in several tests.

Mars Buggy (Full day)

Make a suspension system to enable a small buggy to carry loads across an undulating simulated Mars surface. Points are awarded for speed and stability.

Helter Skelter Shelter (Half day)

Using only basic materials, sound engineering principles and ingenuity, students have to construct a tall earthquake-proof tower. At the end of the session the towers will be put to the test on an electric earthquake simulator.

Stringways (Half day)

The aim of this half-day activity is to develop networks that join a series of points in the most efficient way possible. The higher the efficiency of linkage (i.e. minimum travel distance) the more points your team earns.

Family science night

Thursday 2 June 2016 starting at 6pm

The VU Science Spectacular Family Night showcases the Professor Science Troupe and their repertoire of big bangs, chemical reactions and fire tricks.

The free show will be followed by hands-on science activities for parents and kids. Troupe co-coordinator Nick Athanasiou says the event is designed to inspire and generate a love of science.

"The way we engage young people in science is through big bangs and raw science where it's all about hands-on discovery," he said. "It's much more appealing than traditional high-brow science events and the usual reaction after our first experiment says it all!''

The troupe is made up of VU students studying for a degree in science, and the show provides them with invaluable teaching and presentation experience. It has been travelling to schools around Victoria and interstate for the past seven years, promoting science through a range of exciting demonstrations.

"It's great for the university students because it gives them some practice with communicating science knowledge to a diverse audience, which bolsters their confidence," Nick said.


Register now

Register for STEM week activities, we'll send you more details once locations are confirmed.

See all events


This event has already taken place.

30 May - 3 June at various times.

Check each activity for times and locations.

Get in touch

Lovelesh Ramsahye
Coordinator, Industry & Community Liaison
College of Engineering & Science