Over 200 budding scientists filled the RSM Club auditorium on Friday, taking on a series of tricky brain teasers designed to stretch their problem solving skills.
Hosted by the University of Newcastle, nine schools took part, with students travelling from Gilgai, Glen Innes, Warialda and Tenterfield.
Equipped with limited materials such as straws, paddle-pop sticks and string, students were challenged to create dexterous bionic hands, weight bearing 'flat pack' tables and strong bridges.
"We spend quite a lot of time making sure that we can tie the challenges back to national curriculum so that the teachers can incorporate them within what they’re teaching at school, but also we provide something that they can’t do at school," team leader Helen Deckitt said.
"It’s a completely new experience that can be tied back into the curriculum, so it’s worthwhile they’re coming from a teacher’s perspective, and the students just have such a great day."
Holy Trinity's Emma McInnes, Mathew Dizon, Fletcher Byrne and Cam Gaukroger were confident their paddle-pop bridge could hold up to testing, while Tenterfield's Kiara Charlton, Hayley Carpenter and Amelia Wishart were excited to figure out the tricks to creating a bionic hand out of string and straws.
Aimed at high school-aged participants, Ross Hill, Inverell Public and Holy Trinity primary students rose to the challenge. Ross Hill's Ashlee Readett and Phoebe Atkins enjoyed sending coded messages to their classmates Rachel Forrester and Myleigh Franklin.
Although they struggled with their morning activities, Inverell Public's Hayley Latter, Sophie Gardner, Zac Riley and Tayla Batterbury found their forte in the Future Power challenge. Simulated with a board full of switches, students had to balance the power they provided to different facilities with their loading and costs.
"The primary students that come along here get no dispensations. So they are competing at a high school level," Helen said. Warialda, Glen Innes, Inverell Rotary and Inverell East Rotarians helped supervise the day.