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Waikato Science and Engineering Open Days

11 July, 2014

Lolly sorting a sweet challenge at Waikato Science and Engineering Open Days

Sorting different sized lollies without touching them by hand was just one of the tasks encountered by school students at the University of Waikato’s Science & Engineering Open Days this week.

During the two free events nearly 200 Year 11-13 students and many of their parents, moved between sessions learning about the subjects offered by the Faculty of Science & Engineering. The selection of workshops gave potential tertiary students a taste of the fun and varied subjects available to study during a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science(Technology) and a Bachelor of Engineering(Honours), while emphasising the small class sizes and hands-on papers on offer.

Workshops emphasise engineering practices

The lolly sorting workshop was part of Engineering Open Day on Thursday 10 July. The Chemical and Biological Engineering session challenged groups of students to find a suitable strategy to sort a range of lollies using separation processes such as air classification, filtration and gravity. The project emphasised how engineers must separate materials such as plastics and synthetic fibres to recover useful product within them.

Visitors from Northland

Karena Nisbet and her daughter Tennille Nisbet made the journey down from Whangarei for the Engineering Open Day.

“Because engineering isn’t offered at school, the open day has been a great opportunity for Tennille to try the different types of engineering in a truly hands-on way. We’ve been really impressed with what we’ve seen and the opportunity to check-out the Waikato University campus,” says Karena.

Engineering Open Day workshops

Also on the programme at Engineering Open Day was a Mechanical Engineering workshop where students built model race cars, a Materials and Processing workshop during which students were shown the importance of reinforcing materials, an Electronic Engineering workshop based on programing an electronic mousetrap and a Software Engineering workshop inspiring students to consider how to make sure that the software and user interfaces for critical devices such as medical infusion pumps are correct.

Science Open Day workshops

The previous day on Wednesday 9 July, Science Open Day covered the Faculty’s science majors. Students learnt how stream animals can be used to determine the health of a stream in Biological Sciences; explored earthquakes and liquefaction in Earth Sciences; experimented with liquid nitrogen in Chemistry and learnt the science of metrology in Physics.

This was the ninth Engineering Open Day, and the fourth Science Open Day. The events are held annually in July. Registration packs are sent out to schools each May and registration is completed online at

Image caption: Sorting different sized lollies without touching them by hand was just one of the tasks encountered by school students at the University of Waikato’s Science & Engineering Open Days this week. Left to right, Monique Schouten (Hauraki Plains College), Nicola Baker (Tauranga Girls’ College), Danielle Watson (Waihi College), Kelsey Ferris (Whangarei Girls’ High School) and Tennille Nisbet (Whangarei Girls’ High School).

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