As one of six schools nationally to be involved in the Subs in Schools Pilot Program, the Year 10 Subs class from St Peters Girls School in Adelaide visited the ASC at Osborne on 19 June to see first-hand the inside of a submarine and obtain information about the factors that need to be considered in its design. The Pilot Program will focus on the design of a submarine and the assembly of a submarine prototype, with an opportunity to present and market the engineering process.

The girls were guided through HMAS Collins by Paul Curtis and ex-submariner Kerry Fischer from Defence Materiel Organisation. Prior to this learning experience we knew little about submarines, so this was an eye-opener for everyone. The open space in a submarine is minimal and the girls navigated the three levels of the submarine by negotiating a number of steep ladders.

“It was interesting to learn about life on, and the mechanics of, submarines” said their teacher Barbara Hender. “We also made a number of connections between our school subjects, for example the use of trigonometry to locate other vessels and the behaviour of the colour spectrum in water. We also didn’t know that if an Atlantic submarine was painted red it could help with camouflage and stealth operation, because in this environment the colour red is the first to be absorbed making it harder to be visually detected.”

The girls were fascinated to discover that the submarine is steered simply by a joystick. It was also thought provoking for them to learn about the thinking behind the interior and exterior design of the boats.

Being ‘Next Gen’ and thus hard wired to their phones the girls wondered how the crew members could possibly survived having no communication with the outside world for the duration of the journey, which can be up to 3 months… no Facebook, Twitter or internet… how is this possible??

“Our visit provided valuable information for our Subs class providing the girls with the opportunity to see the science, technology and design concepts that underpin the design and development of a submarine. We thank Paul and Kerry for this once in a life-time opportunity” said Barbara.


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