The day gave students the chance to experience the excitement of engaging in some high-interest activities quite different to those usually undertaken in the classroom.
These activities included making a robot hand using household materials, building catapults, building a boat to carry loads across the water, irrigating a model town, creating their own Frankenstein's monster (celebrating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's book) and developing a Pokémon-style card game based on reef animals (celebrating the International Year of the Reef).
Students also got to learn more about robotics and to participate in St Mary’s first-ever robotics competition.
The school, which obtained a diocesan grant to work with the Diocese of Broken Bay's eLearning Education Officer, Geoff McIver, was first visited by Geoff early in Term 2. Geoff brought along Edison robots and BeeBot robots which were given to the school as part of the grant. Geoff showed staff and students how to use them, taking away some of the fear of what can be perceived as a highly-technical concept.
Geoff visited students for the second time during their day of STEM activities to teach them more robotic skills and to help develop the school’s robotic competition which will become an annual event.
The students have really been enjoying the new devices and the program which helps them to develop their engagement and social skills while they work together to solve problems.
The efforts of the school’s Parents & Friends (P&F) Association in raising extra funds has enabled the school to provide more robotics resources which will make robotics even more useful and accessible in class activities
The grant also provided professional learning opportunities for staff to further develop ways to use the robotics resources in classrooms with current content.
St Mary’s sees STEM as an integral way of understanding the world we live in today and in which students will create tomorrow.
The evidence of STEM's impact is all around us - from the massive machines and design systems we see in the mines, the automation of our agricultural industries and the technology of horse breeding to the everyday use of computing, mobile phones and transport systems.
St Mary's aims to make these links clear to students to better enable them to design a strong future for themselves.