[ASC-media] Calling ACT teachers and parents with Year 9 students in maths, science, IT

Heather McEwen Heather.McEwen at anu.edu.au
Tue Nov 14 04:27:09 CET 2006

**Looking for a fun way to end the school year that is also  
educational, makes good use of your time, costs nothing, and is still  
entertaining for students who just want the year to be over?  These  
interactive modules include presentations, film, games and prizes led  
by early career researchers and hand-picked undergraduate and  
postgraduate students who've taken six months to carefully craft  
interesting and fun workshops for Year 9/10 students.

Invite the NICTA Taskforces out to your ACT High School!

The ANU College of Engineering & Computer Science and National ICT  
Australia (NICTA) have developed educational workshops covering  
robotics, computer vision, probabilities and thermal imaging for high  
school students in years 9 and 10.

Each module lasts approximately 50 minutes and can be tailored to  
meet school requirements.  The modules are designed to be  
interactive, small on theory, and big on participation.

Developed by award-winning engineer, Dr Douglas Aberdeen,* and staff  
and students of the ANU and NICTA, the aim is to enthuse students  
about where studies in maths and physics can take them and open up  
the world of possibilities in engineering and computer science.

Module 1
Revealing Robotics
(50 minutes)

Have you ever wondered what the first Robot was? What is a Robot  
anyway? What are the mathematical and engineering difficulties that  
need to be solved? This show takes students through a short history  
of robotics, from the 18th century to the near future; including live  
demonstrations of why robotics is challenging but of great usefulness  
to humankind.  In this module students learn of many recent advances  
in robotics, but also that we have a long way to go before producing  
truly intelligent machines like those we see in the Hollywood movies.

Module 2
Robots that can see like a bee
(50 minutes)

How can we build robots that see?  How do we get robots to make sense  
of what they see? Robot engineers often use human vision as  
inspiration for building seeing robots, but humans have very powerful  
brains to help with this, and a lot goes on behind the scenes that we  
still don't really understand.   What can we learn from insects?   
Insects have tiny brains in comparison to the human brain, but still  
manage to find their way around.  Can we build robots that can see  
like honeybees?   This interactive module examines how robot  
engineers use biological inspiration to build better robots that will  
eventually be able to see and act completely on their own.

Module 3 (consists of two parts)
Fun Maths!
(50 minutes)

Do you wonder how mathematics is useful in the real world?  This  
module aims to present some basic maths concepts in a fun and easy  
way by giving Year 9 and 10 students two mathematical games to play.   
One of the games, called “The Horse Race Game” is a dice-rolling  
probability game, and emphasizes the advantage of using maths to  
solve real-life problems (or in the case, increase the change of  
winning a game).  The second game, called “The Three Jugs Problem”,  
emphasizes the use of mathematical modeling to better understand real  
world phenomena.

If you could see what I see!

Most of us are familiar with visible light.  It is the light that our  
eyes can see, namely red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and  
violet.  Infrared is a type of light that we cannot see with our  
eyes.  However, we experience infrared light every time we feel the  
heat of the sun on our skin.  Infrared light tells us information  
about an object’s temperature and how much heat it has.  In this  
module, with the use of an infrared camera, we will carry out various  
simple activities to explore how things look using infrared light.

Nil.  The Taskforces visit ACT High Schools for free.

School resources
Nil.  Teachers are only required to set aside a minimum of 1 hour  
classroom time and provide a suitable large space for the  
demonstration.  Teachers (preferably the teacher usually in charge of  
students and not a relief teacher) must be with the students  
throughout the demonstration.

No of students
Max 30 students per module.

Why book the taskforces?
The NICTA Taskforces are a fun way to end the school year.  They may  
help teachers and students to look at technology differently.

To book a module for your school contact
Katharine Pierce 6125 6221 Katharine.Pierce at nicta.com.au

For more information about the Taskforces contact
Heather McEwen 6125 6601 Heather.McEwen at anu.edu.au

*Doug Aberdeen is the winner of the ACT/NSW 2006 Young Tall Poppy  
Award for communicating science and engineering to high school  
students via the NICTA Taskforces <http://www.aips.net.au/tallpoppies>


Heather McEwen
Marketing Manager
ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200
T: + 61 2 6125 6601
F: + 61 2 6125 8824
W: http://cecs.anu.edu.au
CRICOS Provider # 00120C

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