If you’ve recently driven down the School driveway, you may have noticed a beautiful transformation: our garden beds are now bursting with colourful flowers and bountiful vegetables. But these gardens represent just a fraction of the exciting learning experiences taking place in our Junior School under the expansive umbrella of STEM, orchestrated by our Design Leader of Science, Mrs Nicole Parker.

Our Year 2 students are diving into the world of problem-solving, engaging in fascinating garden engineering projects within their very own vegetable plots. Currently, they’re immersed in discovering innovative ways to thwart a snail invasion on their lettuce crop!

STEM opportunities are abundant throughout our school. We recognise that building a robust foundation of STEM knowledge and skills is crucial for our Generation Alpha and Z students as they prepare for the workforce. In a recent visit to the HackLab, I observed our Year 1 students fully engrossed in coding with Bee Bots. Their resounding “yes” when asked if they were enjoying the experience speaks volumes!

Moving up the grades, our Year 3 students have been exploring renewable energy through wind turbines and solar power. Real-world applications see them designing, creating, and testing solar ovens as a sustainable way to cook food in areas lacking safe indoor cooking facilities.

The world of robotics is becoming increasingly integrated into our lives. In Year 4, students are delving into more advanced coding, working with Scratch to code Sphero balls. Years 5 and 6 introduce more complex Lego robotics. For example, our Year 5 students have been engineering with Makey Makey circuits, experimenting with electrical conductivity, and designing circuits for various purposes. One notable challenge was creating an adaptive game controller for those unable to grip with their hands.

Further up the School, our Year 9 students in the Cube elective EnvironArt have been utilising art to convey complex data related to various interests, all aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Some have ventured into the realm of Virtual Reality to visualise data on the prevalence of bushfires in Australia over the years. Their incredible work along with other students will be showcased at the upcoming “It Takes a Spark!”  STEM Conference, where they’ll present their projects to other teachers and students from different schools.

In a competitive spirit, a team of our exceptional students recently took part in the state finals of the REA F1 in Schools competition. They tackled the challenge of designing and crafting model F1 cars, adhering to strict regulations set by REA F1 in Schools. Moreover, the heart-pounding excitement reached its peak when our students put their model F1 cars to the test, racing them against their peers from different schools. The dedication, skill, and teamwork that went into the creation of these miniature speedsters were truly commendable. Their unwavering dedication, unique roles, and articulate presentations left a lasting impression. We are proud to acknowledge the exceptional performance of Arien Manuel, Ahmed Tawfik, Alex Stefanakos, Justin Ji, and Joshua Davies, who represented our School with distinction in the state finals. We also like to thank Mr Darragh Sheehan and other staff who have guided and mentored the students throughout this journey.

In the entrepreneurial field, our Year 4 to 10 students participated in the enriching FutureLearn Spark workshop, which also included a discussion with local entrepreneur Nathan Malloy as well as the former Young Australian of the Year, Lucas Patchett who co-developed the social enterprise Orange Sky, a charity that supports the homeless. During this workshop, students honed a multitude of entrepreneurial skills and collaborated in teams to develop pitches addressing specific challenges.

We wish our team of 8 students well who will be competing against other schools in the upcoming BrainSTEM Innovation challenge on 24 November.

We eagerly anticipate the continued growth and success of our STEM and entrepreneurial ventures, both within and beyond our curriculum.

Ms Liana Gooch
Head of Teaching, Learning, and Innovation