Bright sparks explore UOW on summer break

• Illawarra school holiday guide

Whether they were discovering the secrets of Egyptian hieroglyphics or working out the mathematical probability of selecting their favourite coloured M&M, some of the region's top primary school students got their first taste of tertiary study this week.

About 130 students in years 3-6 attended the University of Wollongong's Early Learning Labs program, taking on subjects such as Lego robotics, debating, digital media and creative writing.

Run by Faculty of Education project officer Sarah Smith, the gifted and talented workshops are now in their third year and have become so popular that even the waiting lists are full.

Ms Smith said kids were willing to travel from as far as Queanbeyan, Eden, Cooma and throughout the Illawarra to attend the workshops because they were crying out for more stimulating school holiday activities.

"There is a lack of opportunity for high-achieving students in this region with academic holiday programs in the Illawarra and South Coast. This is a region with a lot of very bright students," she said.

"We plan to give gifted and talented students from the region something different to what they can achieve at school.

"[It's] a real university experience with a variety of dynamic and challenging workshops."

A higher-level program continues today at the university's Innovation Campus for students in years 7-12, covering topics including nanotechnology, astronomy, law and 3D printing.

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