Gold Coast students become world finalists in STEM learning challenge

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The Dark Matter team preparing for the world finals 2020/2021.

Students from Queensland’s Gold Coast Christian College (GCCC) have acheived outstanding results in the Formula 1 In Schools STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) learning challenge. Qualifying for the world finals in Melbourne (Vic) this year, they were competing with 17,000 schools, whittled down to 45. 

Mimicking the world of a Formula One team, the students are required to follow a pathway of engineering and manufacturing disciplines: design, analyse, test, make and race. “They’ve formed a race team which actually works as a race team. And they have to be able to promote their race team and actually gain sponsorship,” explained the school’s principal, Guy Lawson.

In the competition, the students aged 11 to 19 have to manufacture a miniature car out of the official F1 Model Block using professional engineering software and machines. The main goal is to develop the fastest car powered by CO2 cartridges. 

The GCCC students created the fastest car to have reached the Australian finals in the past five years. “We get up to 80 km/h on a 20-minute track,” says Caed Lawson, the team’s engineer.

The program also aims to improve the students’ skills in problem-solving, project management, communication, presentation, teamwork, innovation, self-promotion, collaboration, marketing and entrepreneurialism. With the experience acquired, many students engaged in F1 in Schools are offered employment by industry before completing their studies.