Written by Mr Jim Curwen, Science and Mathematics Teacher
Long Bay College entered sixteen Year 12 and 13 Mathematics and Physics students in the Auckland University NZ Engineering Science Competition recently. Over 120 schools take part nationwide (around 300 teams). Competing in groups of four, teams produce a 10 page answer to a set problem; e.g. “Just how fast can a human swim the 100m freestyle?” or “If we all changed to Electric Cars in NZ, how much CO2 emissions would be saved?” or “How long does something take to go viral?”
On Saturday, August 3 at exactly 10am NZ time, Auckland University Engineering Department released the question for 2019.
The students were off, battling to come up with ‘the answer’. They had eight hours to complete the task in four separate rooms in the College’s Science Department.
Using all their analytical skills and logic, plus drawing on their Mathematics and Science knowledge, the students needed to collaborate and work together as a team to produce a 10-page report by the 6pm deadline (no re-subs and no re-sits). Leadership skills were tested out, as well as friendships at various stages of the day. The pressure grew as the groups had to decide what to put in the report and what to leave out. At stake was a $6000 first prize and $2000 for second.
Lose or draw, the students all relished the experience as they discovered first-hand what it is like to work in a pressured academic work environment where they had to rely on others to help meet a deadline. The sense of achievement for completing the task was huge.
Any applications the students may make to a University Engineering School in NZ or for any job in the future will be greatly enhanced by this experience.
I was mightily impressed with the persistence, energy and creativity the groups all put into the task, especially over such long hours. The school, the students’ parents and caregivers reading this should be very proud of them all for their efforts.
Harrison Walker Bell
Caitlin Erin Scott
Oh yes, and if you were wondering, the 2019 question was:
“If you had a million dollars to spend on online marketing, what percentage of the NZ population could you persuade to sign a petition that you wanted championed?”
Take a minute and think; how would you even start this question? …
Student quotes about the competition
The following are anonymous but true student quotes about the competition experience (some said it with panic, some with despair and some with a sense of relief):
“I am so confused about what we have to do”…
“I am drained.”
“A lot of this was about research after research and leading up to a dead end and a brick wall.”
“So many factors and variables.”
“We don’t have a graph! We don’t have a graph!”
“We have a number, a least we have a number!”
“We have five minutes, I need to upload it now so please stop writing.”
“The banana bread is absolutely amazing!”