Clubhouse School Holiday Excursion – Questacon
By Lach Howarth
Featured Image: Clubhouse members creating paper cup helicopters to launch on a fan at Questacon.
This school holidays we took seven of our members on an excursion to Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre. Questacon has over 200 interactive science and technology attractions as well as interactive shows designed to inspire and engage young people in science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) fields.
We started with an hour of free time to wander through and explore all the exhibitions on display. The current exhibitions include; the Gallery of Australian Inventiveness, H20 – Soak Up the Science, Q lab, the Science Garden, Awesome Earth, Excite@Q, Wonderworks and Spiders. There was also a giant, larger than human animatronic spider in the lobby along side some moving sculptures and a robot that can repeat lines and actions from famous movies.
Excite@Q was a particularly popular exhibit where members, and one slightly nervous coordinator, were able to go down the 6m free fall slide. There was also an air-hockey table where you could test your skills against a robotic arm (It had scored over 600 goals and conceded only 54 by the time we got to it), a disorientating room with lights that made you feel like the room was rotating, a 4 way air-hockey table and more!
The disorientating tunnel in Questacon’s Excite@Q exhibition.
After our first hour exploring we went to a 30 minute science show, Move It. This fit in very nicely with our theme for the 2nd week of the holidays, Rube Goldberg Machines. The show looked at Newton’s laws of motion, in particular Newton’s first law:
|Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.|
This is also known as the law of inertia, or as the show put it, “Stuff don’t do nothin’ unless you do something to it”. The show featured a variety of equipment such as levers, pulleys, sleds, wheels, helmets as well as one of our members and myself!
After the show we had another hour to explore the rest of the exhibits. I spent a lot of time with a couple of our members using the microscope in the Gallery of Australian Inventiveness. We looked at skin, prawn eggs, money, hats, hair and coins, among other things.
Tom and Leroy check out a $1 coin and a 50c coin under the microscope in Questacon’s Gallery of Australian Inventiveness
Q lab was another very popular exhibit that is all about creating and puzzle solving. There is a timelapse video station where you are able to control the playback speed of a number of videos, a mini soccer table with a spinning wheel in the middle, a whole range of puzzles and challenges and much more. One particularly fun attraction was cup helicopters. There were scissors and paper cups available to create a helicopter inspired form which could then be placed on top of an upwards pointing fan. Some of our members came up with very creative and effective designs as you can see in the video.
Overall the Questacon was a great success and very popular with the members. It was fantastic to see everyone enjoying themselves so much and learning about science and technology at the same time. Thanks very much to everyone, staff, Questacon employees, Clubhouse supporters and members who made this possible.