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Year 8 STEM Day

Last Monday a large enthusiastic group of Year 8 students started their semester of STEM adventures with a STEM immersion day.  Students worked in teams as software engineers to solve a problem or to change or improve people’s experience in an area of their everyday lives. They were challenged to use their creativity combined with skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) to work together to develop a new product. They needed to use all of their STEM skills as well as skills in teamwork, perseverance, creativity and innovation.

Students were challenged to develop a product using their BBC micro:bit for the real-world within their chosen theme - Health, Sport, Travel or Home and Leisure - and then to pitch their products to the Coding the Future judges. 

After recess the brainstorming was complete and the shop was about to open so the 'accountants' could procure supplies whilst keeping track of the team’s limited budget.  Project Managers had been briefed by Mr Martinez, our industry expert in Software Engineering Management, and Marketing Managers had started work on the pitch to the judges as the team developed their prototype.  Mr Januarius from Nexgen Coding Camps was on hand to help with technical and coding issues regarding the micro:bit.  Joshua Stanwell (Year 12) together with Mrs Wright and Mrs Shaw provided STEM consultancy services at a reasonable (and sometimes negotiable) price.

Students showed determination, ingenuity and resilience as they built and improved their prototypes.  Teamwork was crucial and many teams noted how their skills at working together improved as the day progressed.  As lunch approached, the pressure was on as presentation and judging was immanent.

As the shop closed, accounts were finalised and submitted, students practised their marketing pitch and the judges started assessing submissions.  Then it was time for the presentations.  Prototypes presented ranged from baby monitors and pedometers to a device that a cricket umpire could have in his pocket to assist his scoring of matches.  An excellent skit performed by one team, illustrated how a device that alerts users to phones overheating during charging, could be used.  Two finalists were picked out of eight great innovations.

The finalists demonstrated the 'alarm designed for a house in a bushfire danger zone' and an 'electronic walking stick for vision impaired people.  The judges and the other students deliberated but came to a unanimous decision and the electronic walking stick, with its sensor and buzzer to alert the user to the presence of obstacles, won the competition.

Well done Year 8 and thank you to all the teachers and volunteers who made the day possible.