THE regular cafeteria lunch crowd was absent from Deakin University yesterday.
More than 170 secondary students took over the space for the Victorian science challenge — a competition spanning hovercraft building to wiring power grids.
The regular competitions have gained more importance in recent years as the education sector looks to help fill a skills shortage gap in sciences and engineering.
Eight schools, including King’s and Brauer colleges, made the finals.
“It’s certainly perceived by students that the science and the maths subjects are too hard, too difficult to study,” challenge team leader Peter Fullagar said.
“Our day is to make them realise that science can be enjoyable and a great deal of fun.”
First place was taken by Ballarat Christian College, with King’s College claiming fourth spot.
King’s College year 10 science teacher James Osborne brought a regular class of year 10 students to encourage them to stick to the subject.
“It encourages them a lot. Those who didn’t think they were very good at science come along here and do quite well,” Mr Osborne said.