Raytheon’s support for hands-on, interactive education through the key partnership with Questacon
22nd May 2015
Raytheon’s support for hands-on, interactive education through the key partnership with Questacon - The National Science and Technology Centre has been recognised by the Australian Government.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Science, Karen Andrews MP, has acknowledged Raytheon’s contribution towards science, technology, engineering and mathematics education through the partnership.
“This unique initiative is an example of how government and industry can collaborate to bring tangible examples from business and research, and inspire young people to become the innovators of tomorrow,” the Parliamentary Secretary said.
As part of this partnership, Questacon’s latest Virtual Excursion project has connected 46 students from schools in the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Western Australia through videoconferencing with the task of creating body parts for a figurine using 3D design and printing technology.
At the beginning of the project, students were supplied with a torso featuring snap-in sockets and a blueprint ball-joint design, along with instructions to let their imaginations run wild – arms, legs, wings, and creating functioning limb prototypes for amputees were just a few parameters given. Students were challenged to develop lateral thinking to find solutions to the technical challenge before them.
Swapping ideas, engaging in virtual workshops and picking the brains of Raytheon mechanical engineer, Dallas Roderick, allowed the students to fine tune their designs.
Questacon’s Schmidt Studio, supported by Raytheon, facilitated the virtual learning initiative, which since its inception in 2010 has aided in the education of more than 13,000 students nationally; offering unprecedented face-to-face interaction with local and international scientists, including NASA astronauts, Nobel Laureates, polar explorers and CERN physicist.
In his appraisal of the initiative, Questacon’s Director of Science and Learning, Dr Stuart Kohlhagen says “additive manufacturing, including 3D design and printing, is revolutionising manufacturing across many industries worldwide. This project has given students an insight and hopefully motivated them to find out more about the increasing application of this technology and potential careers on offer.”
Demonstrating support for the education of Australia’s future engineers and scientists, Raytheon Australia Managing Director, Michael Ward said “it is vital we encourage and provide every learning opportunity and resource to aid their development. On behalf of Raytheon, I congratulate these students on the innovation their designs reflect and wish them all the best for their future studies.”
While this Virtual Excursion project may have concluded, the initiative is just beginning with a list of projects in the pipeline over the coming months, each designed to educate students on the value of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and encourage career development within associated fields.
Raytheon's quest to develop Australia's future engineers and scientists
Mrs Andrews said Questacon’s initiatives are a key part of the delivery of the Government’s broader science agenda, including the development of Australia’s first ever national policy to secure Australia’s skills base in STEM.
“These informal learning opportunities are a vital part of the broader STEM policy we are developing to help secure a highly skilled workforce and cultivate the science literate society that is essential for Australia’s ongoing productivity and prosperity,” she said.