Palaszczuk Government grant allows Toowoomba kids to code drones

Published Saturday, 17 March, 2018 at 11:54 AM

Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

A Toowoomba program that teaches children to code drones is one of the recipients of the latest round of Engaging Science Grants from the Palaszczuk Government.

In Toowoomba today to also participate in World Science Festival activities, Minister for Environment and Science and Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said Toowoomba Regional Libraries was one of 16 STEM-education agencies, community organisations and schools to share in $148,442.

“This is such a great program - Toowoomba Regional Libraries has partnered with Samford-based science educator STEMPunks to deliver 12 free school holiday programs about coding drones,” Ms Enoch said.

“Children will learn how drones can be programmed and will explore the physics of multi-rotor flight.

“The library and STEMPunks will also deliver a professional development workshop for teachers later this year where teachers will learn how drones can be used to teach science, technology, engineering and maths.

“This is really amazing science and tech.

“What I like about this project in particular is that the children will also learn how drones are being increasingly used in agriculture – a big employer in the Toowoomba region.”

Toowoomba Regional Libraries will receive $9817 for the Drone Coding project, as part of Round 2 of this financial year’s Advance Queensland Engaging Science Grants program.

Ms Enoch said there wasn’t a better time to celebrate this drone program, with the World Science Festival currently being held in Toowoomba.

Toowoomba Regional Councillor Joe Ramia said the holiday program for children would be held across the region’s 11 libraries during the September holidays this year.

“Using drones is a great way to show children the real-world application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Children will also get the chance to apply what they learn to complete a drone search-and-rescue mission, which will be a lot of fun,” Cr Ramia said.

He said agricultural drones with advanced sensors and imaging capabilities were giving farmers new ways to increase crop yields and reduce crop damage and could be as common as tractors within the next few years.

Program Director at STEMPunks Michael Holmstrom said STEM was already an important part of the Australian educational landscape and would continue to grow in importance as Australia embraced the opportunities and challenges of global digital revolution.

“It’s very important that we equip our kids for an economy where robotics, artificial intelligence and the internet-of-things are coming more to the fore. But it’s not just about providing knowledge, it’s also about encouraging their curiosity and their problem-solving skills,” Mr Holmstrom said.

“So a big focus of our programs is to teach children the fundamental building blocks of STEM in a fun and engaging environment.”

Minister Enoch said the Toowoomba community has shown great support for the World Science Festival’s second outing in Toowoomba.

“The World Science Festival has had its home in USA for 11 years, and in 2016 the Palaszczuk Government was proud to secure the festival in Queensland. It’s the only festival of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region,” Ms Enoch said.

“Yesterday’s student activities were a big hit, with young people engaging in all kinds of experiments and today Cobb+Co has opened its doors to share the wonders of science through Street Science shows, the Da Vinci Machines exhibition and guided tours.”

The World Science Festival Brisbane regional program visits Ipswich 22 March, and Townsville 25-26 March, with the main festival program in Brisbane 21-25 March.

For more information on the World Science Festival Brisbane 2018 program, including regional activities, visit


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