Eppalock Primary School’s Pushcart team have been awarded a coveted CSIRO Blue CREST Award! The Award recognises the fantastic way the students collaborated with Sam, a graduate engineer at THALES in Bendigo throughout their 2018 campaign. CREST stands for Creativity in Research, Engineering, Science and Technology.

How did the Eppalock team get involved with CREST?

CSIRO contacted Lydia Fehring and Jason O’Neill at Eppalock PS and invited them to participate in the CREST program (learn more here). They obviously said ‘Yes’ and were soon paired with a local organisation in THALES and Sam, a graduate engineer, was very keen to work with a school who might not have this type of opportunity/expertise in the community. In short it was a perfect match!

What did Eppalock PS do?

ABOVE: The students also visited Thales for an official hand over and met all of the people who worked on the pushcart and were lucky enough to get a ride in the Bushmaster!


The key things that they discussed for inclusions were:

  • A proper steering wheel
  • A better hand brake
  • A head rest
  • A better method of using the seat belt
  • Added ‘bumpers’
  • A chat about what size of wheels were best – the kids thought the smaller the better…

ABOVE: The original design which was done by the whole class, which Sam had to turn into reality!

Sam took the entire grade of 4 – 6’s through an engineering design process including designing, refining, CAD drawing, more refining and building. “It was so beneficial for our students to have access to the knowledge that Sam provided,” Lydia said. The students had very clear ideas about what needed to be improved and what was needed to improve the original design, but having access to someone who understands the engineering of vehicles was a key in making this happen! Sam is currently working on the new Hawkeye military vehicles and has a mechanical background and had some great insights and suggestions for the kids.

What is the CREST Awards?

The Creativity in Research, Engineering, Science and Technology (CREST) program aims to progress the development of an inquiry culture in our education system, particularly in the subject areas of science and technology (incorporating engineering).

Through the CREST program, students in Years 3 to 12 can progress from teacher-directed through to open inquiry. This gradual progression enables students’ development of inquiry skills, problem-solving skills, and procedural and conceptual understandings of and about science to the point of independence and innovation.

CREST recognises the inquiries of primary and secondary students with nationally recognised CREST Awards, which are competency-based and non-competitive.

(Source: CREST Website)

On behalf of the Energy Breakthrough team, we say a big ‘congratulations’ to the students and staff at Eppalock PS and thank you to Sam at THALES for his time and energy.