A NSW Government website


Science and Engineering Challenge

UPDATE – The Science and Engineering Challenge has been postponed until later in 2020, as a result of COVID-19 and social distancing requirements.

The Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer is the principal sponsor of the Science and Engineering Challenge (SEC). This event is run by the University of Newcastle and allows NSW high school students in Years 9 and 10 the chance to experience how science and engineering can help to solve real-world problems in a fun, competitive setting. Teams of students from different schools compete against each other in a series of eight challenges, including:

  • Bridge: students construct a model bridge out of balsa wood and masking tape, which then has to support a railcar carrying increasingly heavy weights as it races across a test rig
  • Catapult: after constructing their swing-arm catapult out of dowel, students gain points for length and accuracy of the flight of their projectile
  • ElectraCITY: with a powered board, students use cables to connect power to a city's infrastructure at the lowest possible cost
  • Helter Skelter Shelter: towers are constructed from common materials and then tested for strength and stability, through the use of weights and a shaking base which simulates an earthquake.

Qualifying teams compete in the NSW Finals, with the NSW champion school participating in the Science and Engineering Challenge National Final.

Below, a selection of images show the fun, ingenuity and mayhem on display at an SEC Challenge Day held at Sydney Olympic Park's Quaycentre in March 2018.

SEC Challenge Day, Quaycentre, March 2018 - Image 1SEC Challenge Day, Quaycentre, March 2018 - Image 2

SEC Challenge Day, Quaycentre, March 2018 - Image 3SEC Challenge Day, Quaycentre, March 2018 - Image 4