Year 7 History

My name is Sofia and I’m in Year 7. This term I had the opportunity to build the Great Wall of China for my History assignment.

We had to do build an artefact or an invention that was used in Ancient China. I chose the Great Wall of China because I thought that it was a very interesting structure that was built in Ancient China.

Gathering the material to build the Great Wall was expensive but it was worth it. I started the Great Wall as soon as I got the Assessment Notification and I spent most of my time on it.

The first thing I did was get some wooden blocks, glue and some paddle pop sticks. I followed a YouTube video to build the wall and paint the cardboard piece green. That was the base of the wall and I then added some fake moss on the cardboard so it would make it look more realistic.

It wasn’t all that easy as the glue takes a while to dry and the blocks moved around
a lot. Even one side of the beacon tower wall fell at one point. I painted the Wall a brownish, skin colour and thought that I could do better so I extended the wall making it twice the size.

My teacher suggested that I should add a mountain. I thought it was a great suggestion. I scrunched up some newspaper in balls and stuck it together with sticky tape, added some watered down glue, then waited for that to dry so I could I paint it. I also added a little hole in the wall to put some “dead bodies”, as a lot of people died while building the Wall.

Finally, I added some signs made out of cardboard and skewers and labelled important things on the wall.

That’s how I built The Great Wall Of China for my History assignment!


Sustainability:Whose Responsibility?

Our STEM Academy team have been working hard over the past six months to plan an integrated unit that will be trialled with one of our Year 7 classes next term. This is part of our move to have more STEM learning experiences happening across the College as well as prepare for the Newman Program commencing in 2019.

The driving question our students will be answering is, ‘Sustainability: Whose Responsibility’? The driving question will be investigated  through the  Sydney Stingless bee species. In Mathematics, Science and Technology students will study the bee species and answer a range of essential questions that will help answer the driving question.

Our Mathematics Coordinator, Christopher Pocock, talks about his involvement in STEM Academy and what the students will be doing in Mathematics.

Our Administration Coordinator and Science guru, Michael Peck,  discusses his involvement with the STEM Academy and how his students will be going about answering the driving question.

Finally our TAS Coordinator, Taryn Smith, reflects on her involvement in the STEM Academy and how it has made an impact on her department.

This is a very exciting project for us as we begin preparations for our Newman Program. Working across disciplines has had an enormous impact on our teachers and we expect it will have the same impact on students.

We look forward to sharing more of this project once it gets underway next term.


STEM Academy

Last week our six STEM Academy teachers spent two days at Sydney University reporting back on the planning that we have been involved in since we last gathered in late 2017.

On Thursday we presented our planned integrated unit happening in Term 3 to the STEM Academy team, a panel of experts across a range of disciplines and the other STEM Academy partner schools.

The planned unit is based on the theme of ‘Sustainability’ and will be a pilot project for our upcoming Newman stream starting in 2019. Our Year 7.1 class will be working on this unit throughout next term.

On Friday we were immersed in the various STEM related fields Sydney University has across its campus. We spent most of our time in the Engineering and IT precinct, touring the VR lab and aeronautical labs, while also hearing about a joint partnership between Qantas and the university around the new non-stop route from Perth to London.

The two days were very beneficial as we were able to connect with a number of experts across numerous fields. This networking will enable us to build new connections between the College and industry as we forge ahead with our STEM initiatives across the College.

The Fromelles Project

Our Fromelles Project has taken an unexpected but exciting diversion that could take us back to the very place where the soldiers our students are researching spent their final hours.

Following our Fromelles workshop with Lambis Englezos, one of our special guests, Patrick Lindsay approached us with an idea for a documentary based around the research our students are undertaking.

This week we started filming for the project. Initial filming focused on the research aspect and the girls worked in their teams to map out their scripts. Creating the script is the most important part of the project and it was amazing to see the way many of the groups had mapped out their soldier’s journey.

Telling the story of the battle through female eyes would be a very unique perspective on what has traditionally been a very male dominated domain. There are very few stories of Australians at war told from a female perspective or that highlight the plight of the women left behind to grieve the loss of loved ones.

Here Patrick talks with our STC BTN reporter, Taylor, about his hopes for the project.

The Battle of Fromelles

As mentioned in a previous post, one of our Year 9 History classes has undertaken a journey of discovery, using their research skills to tell the story of a soldier killed in the Battle of Fromelles during World War One.

To get this project underway the students participated in a workshop led by Lambis Englezos. Lambis took the students through the battle in great detail sharing many anecdotes of stories he had uncovered in his research. Lambis of course is well known to most Australians for his tireless efforts in tracking down the Australian soldiers listed as missing after the battle. If not for Lambis the families of these missing soldiers would not have closure and would still be looking for their loved ones.

During the workshop we were joined by Josie Shelley. Josie’s emotional recount of her quest to find her grandfather brought us all to tears and reinforced that even though the battle was a century ago there are many Australians still affected by the war and the terrible toll it had on our soldiers and Australian society in general.

Another of our special guests was Patrick Lindsay. Patrick is now an author and documentary maker following a successful career as a journalist and TV presenter and her too shared stories he uncovered during the writing of his book on Fromelles.

The workshop was a wonderful way to start what will be a fascinating learning experience for our girls.

Biology Field Trip

On Friday 25 May our Year 11 Biology students had the opportunity to apply the population sampling skills they have been developing in class on the rock platform found at Kamay Botany Bay National Park, Kurnell with the help of Ms Ruan, Mr Peck and staff from the Botany Bay Environmental Education Centre.

This field trip is a mandatory part of the Year 11 Biology course where students prepare their own scientific questions to investigate on the day by collecting distribution and abundance data for a number of intertidal species. Questions students were investigating involve the biotic relationships between species and how abiotic factors influence where species are found.

Students will analyse the data collected on the day as part of their first formal assessment, in which they have the opportunity to show how their skills in working scientifically are developing. The opportunity to apply knowledge and skills in an authentic situation, as scientists would do as part of an environmental impact assessment, plays an important role in student learning and helps to inform their future choices regarding further study and employment. Student work will be made available for viewing once it has been submitted and marked.

Year 7 History

Year 7 History have been studying the topic “Ancient Egypt”. As part of their learning experience, they visited the Nicholson Museum and the Hyde Park Barracks. After being fascinated by the mummies, sarcophagus’ and artefacts, one of the Year 7 classes decided to experiment with mummifying an apple after learning about the steps needed to mummify a body in Ancient Egypt.  Although it took a long time to see results, the wait was worth it.

Education and the cult of efficiency —

As we are constantly bombarded with politicians giving their ‘vision’ of what makes a good education system it is timely to reflect that these types of conversations have been happening for the last century.

We are now almost a fifth of the way into this century yet we are still having discussions around how best to educate ’21st Century learners’. While we have leaders who are stuck in the 20th Century we will continue to struggle with our education systems.

I was having a conversation recently about why schools are still largely stuck in an industrial model. It prompted me to look for a book that I haven’t visited in a while but has been seminal in my thinking. ‘Education in the cult of efficiency’ by Raymond E. Callahan may have been published in 1962 […]

via Education and the cult of efficiency —

Data Analysis

Like most schools in the Archdiocese, staff at St Clare’s have been closely examining the data available to us in order to improve student learning outcomes. This can be quite an overwhelming task given the large amount of data now available to staff.

To try and make sense of all this valuable information we have spent considerable time completing data analysis scaffolds for each of the classes in the College. These scaffolds allow staff to make sense of the wide range of data available at a glance. They will provide a valuable tool for staff to ensure they are strategic in creating learning opportunities that meet the needs of each student in their classes.

The following post by the Executive Director of Parramatta diocese, Greg Whitby,  highlights this issue and how they are responding as a system.

Society is awash with data and so are schools and school systems. The good news is most of this data is available electronically. The gap in terms of our use of data in schools is we have never had an overarching framework which brings structure, clarity and flow to the analysis. While we may have […]

via Looking at educational data through a sharper lens —