Brett is a full time Physics and Engineering Studies teacher at Willetton Senior High School and a car enthusiast. He joined the team in August 2011 with the aim to inspire students by highlighting the science and engineering principles underpinning the Aussie Invader LSR project. Brett commented at the time that “Aussie Invader 5R is not only an excellent example of team work and human endeavour, but a highly stimulating example of applied science and engineering – a very fast example at that!”
Brett believes in “learning science by doing” ie he employs as many demonstrations and practical activities as possible in his lessons. As an ex scientific instrument maker with the CSIRO before he pursued his science degree, Brett has seen the importance of the mutually reinforcing connection between the workshop and the design office.
Willetton Senior High School is a highly regarded science and engineering school. Brett and the engineering department’s aim is to provide their academically strong engineering candidates with a solid grounding in the practical and theoretical aspects of engineering before they enter university. Brett is currently teaching Engineering Studies (a new tertiary entrance subject) and was extremely pleased to note that 75% of his students in last year’s class have been offered places in Engineering at Curtin University and The University of Western Australia (UWA). Five students were offered $20,000 scholarships from the local universities and two students won international scholarships – one at Cornell and one at Purdue.
In the spirit of “Hands on, minds on”, Brett originated the “eV Challenge” in 2000. The “eV Challenge” is primarily an inter school electric vehicle endurance event for full scale, student built vehicles. The event regularly attracts over 30 teams (approx 100 students) and is currently enjoying its 12th year. In addition to the “eV Challenge” competition vehicles, his student’s are tasked with designing, building and testing their “Eco Warrior” 12V DC, lean steer, electric commuter trikes. Brett and fellow Engineering Studies teacher Paul Hogg were recognised for this highly innovative school program last year when they won the prestigious Engineers Australia, National “President’s Prize” at Parliament House in Canberra.
Brett has not only given his students a grounding in the technology associated with basic electric vehicles, but he is getting his student’s to have a go at designing key systems on the Aussie Invader. Students will be challenged to develop designs for a skid brake, an air brake and a variable angle of attack canard wing system. In addition, selected groups will be asked to develop performance spreadsheets and to conduct an ergonomic study of Aussie Invader’s cockpit. Brett fully admits that the final designs may not be good enough to be employed on Aussie Invader. However, the student’s motivation and immersion in real life engineering problems will be “educational gold”. We look forward to review the output from this innovative and highly motivated group of aspiring engineers.
|Above – Brett’s engineering classes are always hands on.
Top right – Brett is building a 1949 Le Mans Frazer Nash replica from scratch.
Right – Brett’s passion for cars started early. Brett “fixing the Renault” in 1963.