Marine Engineers Club

This year, students in the Marine Engineers Club have been working hard on their entries for the UWA Girls in Engineering and Oceanworks Emerging Engineers Competition.

Led by their Year 8 mentors, Years 5 and 6 students were split into two teams and tasked with finding solutions to biofouling.

Biofouling is defined as the unwanted growth of marine organisms on man-made structures in the ocean.

Both teams followed the engineering design process, overcoming failures and challenges to develop practical submissions, which they then pitched to a panel of judges via Zoom for the competition final on Tuesday 15 September.

The Brainy Barnacles team came first for their excellent research and solution, while Bio Bosses also had an Honourable Mention!

Junior School STEaM Co-ordinator, Jesse Ussi, said it was a “pretty amazing effort”.

“The girls can be very proud of what they have achieved in such a short period of time in the Marine Engineers Club,” he said.

“[These students] have developed excellent solutions to the problem of biofouling.

“Congratulations to the girls for their wonderful team spirit and drive to get complete the project.

“Our two Year 8 team leaders, Stella and Matilda, were excellent role models.”

Year 5 student Holly said her parents initially encouraged her to take part in the Marine Engineers Club, but she quickly discovered how much she loved it.

“I really enjoyed it. It’s been difficult, but it’s been worth it,” she said.

“I love the ocean and I wanted to be a part of helping to save it, I wanted to find a way to help animals continue to live.”

  • Marine Engineers Club present their solutions
  • Marine Engineers Club present their solutions

Year 6 student Elizabeth described her team’s journey as challenging, but enjoyable.

“We presented a solution to biofouling that had bristles on a boat that would move with the ocean’s current and repel algae because they won’t settle on moving surfaces,” she said.

“If the algae make it past the first layer, they form a sort of biofilm. We use a microbial fuel cell that generates electricity from the algae and we use that to send a shock down the boat which kills it.

“There’s nothing quite like the Club – it’s been really interesting and a good opportunity.”

Year 8 student Matilda, who was one of the team leaders, said she hopes to explore more engineering opportunities in the future.

“Mr Ussi needed some mentors and I wanted to join in because it looked like an interesting topic but also because I think I want to get into engineering and I thought it would also be cool to go back to the Junior School,” she said.

“We had a good time but there were definitely plenty of challenges. It was tricky to stay motivated every Wednesday lunchtime, but it was interesting stuff to learn about.

“It was a good opportunity to explore something I might be interested in later in life.”

Congratulations to Year 5 students Jamie, Alessia, Rose and Holly; Year 6 students Abigail, Chloe and Elizabeth; and Year 8 leaders Matilda and Stella!