FASTRACK News - Term 2

​​​​​Shark Chat with Dr Guilda aka 'Dr Shark' (June 4)

​​​Most of the interactions of people with sharks are through media and the movies and sharks are often depicted as something scary.  A live chat with shark expert, Dr Leo Guilda from the Australian Marine Conservation Society changed the mindsets of our e-STEAM students to recognise the importance of these marine creatures in our ocean ecosystem.  One very important message was to correct a misconception that 'Sharks are out to attack humans'.  In fact, sharks do not attack; they bite.

This live 'Shark chat' was moderated by Year 8 student researcher, Ella Marshall, whose innovative entrepreneurial project is focused on designing a solution that uses permanent magnets as a shark deterrent device.  Ella found out that sharks have a special sense organ called the ampullae of Lorenzini,  located on their snouts and around the head and functions like a sixth sense picking up electrical fields of its prey.  She hopes to use biomimicry and use strategies found in nature to solve the problem about sharks getting tangled in shark nets and other barriers.

Sunflower Blooms Weigh-In Begins​​

You might remember the cultivated sunflower plants that e-STEAM students planted late February, which had survived the ISO period blooming with tall, yellow gold flowers in our school's greenhouse?  Well, here's an update on 4 of these experimental plants which underwent weighing-in most recently.

Our next generation plant and agricultural scientists got down and busy harvesting the sunflower heads ready to be submitted to the University of Queensland School of Agriculture and Food Sciences.  All parts of the sunflower head above the cotyledonary node were cut and weighed in and videoed in an uncut 45 sec max recording.   Below shows some of the group's hard work coming into fruition.

​Sparking Curiosity with Rube Goldberg Machine

Sparking Curiosity is a project by BCE intended to inspire students in a challenge that extends a student's creativity.  They sure find active participation in the challenge a way to showcase their skills and innovative thinking. 

The current challenge is to build a Rube Goldberg Machine designed to perform a very simple task.  e-STEAM students were ecstatic to have built a rube Goldberg machine within 100 minutes and successfully 'watered the sunflower plant', after 8 trials.

​Kids Cancer Project - Write a Book in a Day (27 August)

Fastrack is proud to present our 2 teams of Year 12 and Year 9 students who are on a mission to share their story writing talents to promote Kids Cancer Project and to fundraise via Team sponsorship - this national charity that funds scientific research to improve treatments and find a cure for childhood cancers.

For 12 straight hours on August 27 (Thursday), the following students will brainstorm, create, proofread, illustrate and book bind their own original book from start to finish.  Here are this year's Fastrack writers:

Yr 12 Students
​Yr 9 Students
​Louis de Groot
​Ashleigh Beatty
​John Henderson
​Paulene Cezar
​Lillibeth Horkings-McMinn
​Jia Gao
​Jayden Moore
Olivia Humphries
​Jasmine Neal
Sophie Mead
​Angela Vanderwoude
Sienna Mellor
​Ruby Waye
Bridget Rogers

​Annika Vermeulen

I am very proud of our own community champions whose fantastic efforts will certainly make a difference to the lives of children with cancer in hospitals.


Term 3 Enrichment Opportunities

All STEM excursions for Term 3 are unfortunately, postponed until further notice.  I will advise whether we are able to proceed with the event components in their traditional or revised format should changes occur at a later date. 

  • QUT STEM for Schools Cars of the Future workshop will be re-booked for Term 4.  New dates to be confirmed by QUT.
  • We are not participating in the Optiminds Sustainability and Creativity Challenge this year but looks forward to be part of this competition again next year.
I hope you all find different ways to inspire yourself and feed your brains and curiosity in the upcoming school break.   Stay safe and keep well.


Nelia Manansala

Academic Talent Development