Discovery Days

 Event Postponed

We wish to announce that due to the ongoing risks associated with the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) the University is postponing events in line with the Prime Minister’s announcement on March 15.

For Southern Cross University updates please visit:
COVID-19 updates


Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 June 2020

Science and Engineering Challenge logo

Rotary - Alstonville Club

School of Environment, Science and Engineering

Southern Cross University will be holding the 2020 Northern Rivers Science and Engineering Challenge – Discovery Day at our Lismore campus.

The Discovery Day provides fun and practical hands-on activities for Years 5-6 students. It has provided a positive experience for inspiring young people to think about choosing STEMM subjects in high school and the career opportunities in science, technology and engineering.

Eight school groups are invited to participate each day. Schools can have up to 32 students in each group can participate in one or two activities ranging from design-and-build projects to logic, teamwork and task orientated activities. Students should be on-campus between 9.15 am and 2.45 pm. School cost is $550 per school including morning tea and lunch (up to 32 students).

Important information:

Cost: $550 per school. This includes morning tea and lunch for up to 32 students.

Schools must make travel arrangements for students to be on the Lismore campus between 9.15 am and 2.45 pm.

Students need to bring their own snacks and drinks.

Conditions: Once you have received confirmation of your registration from Southern Cross University, an invoice will be issued and payment must be received within 14 days. Cancellations received before 15 May will be given a full refund however no refund is given for cancellations after 15 May.

Numbers are limited, so make sure your school registers as soon as possible.

Due to the event being postponed registrations have been closed.

Discovery Day activities

Activity Name


Bridge / Get Over it

Students are stuck in an old mine shaft and have discovered a trolley of gold and will need to build a light and strong bridge to transport your gold ingots to the other side and the outside world. Materials include balsa, pins, tape, paddle pop sticks etc. Points are awarded for strength and load-carrying capacity.

Stringways / String-along

A large new area in Central Australia is being developed for settlement. Students must develop a high-speed railway network and airborne network to connect the new cities and towns in the most efficient way possible. The higher the efficiency of linkage (i.e. minimum travel distance) the more points your team earns.

Grasping at Straws / Get a Grip

Students are required to design, build and use a 'bionic hand' that will give independence back to patients who have lost a hand through injury or illness. Built from PVC pipe, string, straws, and timber coffee stirrers, the effectiveness of construction of the artificial fingers and thumb (digits) will then be tested by completing several tasks.

Confounding Communications / Light Comms

Students are elite spies sent to acquire top secret information from the enemy. They must transmit fast and accurate coded messages back to headquarters along fibre optic rods using only pulses of coloured light.

Future Power / Max Power

Future City’s power company is no longer able to supply power to the city. Residents, essential services, and industry face disaster if the power cannot be supplied! Students must ensure that the power supply is maintained and supplied as cheaply as possible. Students plug “power stations” into a large board and then control the supply of power to a variety of infrastructure on the other side of the board. 

Helter Skelter Shelter / Earthquake

Your team will design and build an earthquake-proof apartment block for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Before production begins you want to test your design by constructing models that are tall and strong using only a small amount of basic materials, sound engineering principles, and ingenuity ensuring your towers are resistant to shaking on the earthquake simulator.

Hover Frenzy (Challenge Days only)

Students design, build and fly a model hovercraft to evacuate personnel from the Australian Antarctic base in the event of an emergency. It must be fast and manoeuvrable with a good hover height and will be tested against other models.

Turbine / Water Wheel

Student engineers must design and build a replacement turbine to be used in the power stations at the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme. Turbines will be tested to see which one generates the greatest amount of power as water flows over it.

Minipult (Discovery Days Only)

Students are guards and must design and build a miniature catapult to defend their castle from attack. The minipult will be built from sticks, plastic, rubber and tape and must accurately fire rubber projectiles the farthest distance.

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