National Brilliant Business Kids Festival

A group of ten of our outstanding Year 9 students took part in the National Brilliant Business Kids Festival at the University of Sydney yesterday. The festival was a collaborative effort bringing together students from rural regions around the nation through Agrifutures Australia, Startup.Business and Innovateen.

Throughout the day students heard from a range of experts across a fields that would assist in helping them prepare a great pitch for their solution. The day opened with a keynote address from Geoff Lee, the Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education, followed by Xavier Ross, Westpac’s Entrepreneur in Residence and Aaron Tait from Education Changemakers.

Following morning tea the Innovateen schools involved (ourselves, Marcellin, Brigidine, St Catherine’s and St Mary’s Cathedral)  moved off to work on their presentations and were able to spend time with Brian Dorricot, CSIRO’s Lead Facilitator, who gave some great tips on putting an effective pitch together. Prior to lunch all schools presented their pitch to a panel of experts hoping to be selected to present at the National Pitch Event in the evening.

For the schools connected with Innovateen, the festival was the culmination of four weeks of planning a solution to one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Our students decided that they would form just one team that would work to come up with a solution to Goal 7, Affordable and Clean Energy. The concept built around street paving that generated electricity was amazing and well received by the judges. So much so that we were selected to present our pitch again in the evening.

Prior to finishing the afternoon’s session we heard from Genevieve Radman, a nurse at Emanuel School in Randwick. Genevieve has started her own charity, Gennarosity Abroad, and we were all in awe of what she had achieved through passion, commitment and belief. Her story was inspirational and our students were very keen to explore how we could support her work in the future.

There was much planning done between the end of the afternoon session and the evening’s presentations. The students had selected the four team members who would do the pitch and made some minor adjustments to their presentation.

In the National event the students from the regional areas pitched first. We were all amazed, firstly at the problems they faced and then at the incredible solutions they came up with.  Being able to know how many of the water troughs on your property have water in them is a huge issue for farmers, as is being able to transport cattle comfortably in extreme heat.

These were just two problems that the students from South Australia and Manila in north west New South Wales had come up with solutions for. It was a very worthwhile experience for our students to hear the problems that rural communities face. It certainly put into perspective some of the problems we face in our daily lives in Waverley!

The evening pitches from both rural and urban schools were very impressive. There are so many passionate and talented students around our nation who will no doubt ensure we are able to face many of the challenges ahead with great optimism. Unfortunately we were not judged best pitch in the evening session. While the pitch was very polished and demonstrated the team had done their research, the judges felt we could have done a little more in outlining a business case for our idea.

The festival was a fabulous experience for all students and a big thank you to Miss Nicola Steele who ensured the team were ready to showcase an innovative concept.

Here is the evening pitch from our team:



USYD Spectacular Science Excursion

A group of Year 7 student went to the University of Sydney to take part in an amazing experience all to do with bees! There were mini workshops, all incorporating bees and the production of honey and overall it was an awesome experience. The workshops tested our abilities and knowledge on how bees produce honey, do their jobs and how bees pollinate thousands of flowers each day! 

We started off the day with a lecture from a professional beekeeper and researcher! We learnt lots of really cool facts and got to experience what a university lecture felt like. Professor Beekman taught us lots of interesting facts and information that will help in our future experiments and research on our St Clare’s bees.  After that we split off into school groups and went to our first activity. 

In our first activity we played a game that focused on being altruistic, which means to give something without expecting anything in return. After that we stopped for a small break before continuing to our next activity. This time we went to the physics lab and made paper helicopters. We had to create an experiment and collect the data to put it into a graph. This was a really interesting and fun experience and gave us a real life view of what physics university life is like. 

In the science lab we did two different activities. The first one was bee bingo. In this activity we were each given a type of bee and we had to examine this bee under a microscope. We then had to decide what aspect suited our bee and match them up. For example if you noticed that your bee had a large, stocky body and head then it would probably be a buzz pollinator compared to using pollen baskets. 

Our second activity was honey tasting and evaluating. In this activity we were given honey made by the 5 different types of bees which were the European Honeybee, Stingless Bee, Blue Banded Bee, Green Metallic Bee, Sweat Bee and Teddy Bear Bee. We had to test the honey on consistency, smell, flavour, clarity and colour. Even though all the honey looked very similar they had a variety of tastes and smells. We also noticed that the stingless bee honey had a lot less produced because they only produce 1 kg a year so there was a limited amount of honey. We also found this was the runnier type of honey and a unique one to eat.

After we had finished all of our workshops we had a final lecture. This involved liquid nitrogen. The lecturer asked us questions about it and even gave an experiment on an egg. It showed how different chemicals and forces can affect different aspects of nature. It was a very educational lecture which was easy and fun to listen to. The presenter also used gas from a fire extinguisher to push a go kart. It was a very interesting and unique presentation.

We all really enjoyed this experience and would highly recommend it to others. We learnt lots, had fun and got to see the life inside a real university! We speak for the group when we say that was an amazing experience and we were all very inspired by how much effort the university had put into it. 

Olivia Zammit and Suki Waddell (Year 7)

Year 8 PDHPE

This term Year 8 have been undergoing swimming training at Bondi Icebergs. We learnt strokes that would allow us to get out of dangerous situations in the surf and how to control our breathing and dive under waves. All students were able to test these strokes on the beach under strict supervision. Being placed in a controlled situation allowing us to test out these new skills will certainly help us in the future. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed every minute of it! – Sophia Ugarte

USYD Spectacular Science Day

A select group of Year 7 students spent the day at the University of Sydney today as part of their Spectacular Science event. Five students from each of our four Science classes were chosen to attend today’s event which was for Stage 4 students only.  The theme of the event was ‘bees’ which was a perfect fit for the STEM project our Year 7 students are currently involved in.

The day started with a talk  about ‘bees’ from Professor Madeleine Beekman before the students moved to the first workshop on ‘A Bees Dilemma’ which looked at why  bees prioritise the well-being of the hive over their own interests? And what happens if they decide not to?

A second workshop on the flight of the bumblebee took place after morning tea. So how do they fly? Using the scientific method of Predict, Observe, Explain we investigated the mechanics of the flight of the bumblebee.

A workshop on ‘The Pollinator’ took place after lunch. In this workshop we learnt that Australia is home to a vast number of solitary and social native bee species that are incredibly effective pollinators, but could you pick them out of a bee-line-up? We examined what these bees look like; how they pollinate; consider their favourite native plants and how they can use their adaptations to pollinate food crop plants. It wouldn’t be agriculture without eating, so we also conducted a sensory analysis of honey to determine if we could taste the subtle differences in a range of honeys.

The day finished with a Science Show before the long walk back to Redfern Station! The students who attended today’s event will be required to present what they learnt from the various workshops to the rest of the students in their Science class thereby helping all Year 7 students develop a deeper understanding of these incredible creatures.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dancing Drones

Last term our 8.1 students were involved in a STEM project that had as its driving question, ‘How can people and technology improve society?’. The focus for the students was on drone technology and how it has impacted society over the past few years.

In implementing the project we ran into some difficulties in programming the drones to work effectively outside the classroom. We had planned to code our Parrot Mambo drones to navigate their way through the front garden of the College to replicate the way drones are being used in agriculture. Unfortunately these small drones do not like any type of breeze and they quickly became uncontrollable. A great lesson for all of us!

The students have been determined to learn how to control the drones effectively using code and so we have tried again, this time we are using the drones inside the College Hall. This has proved much more effective and to allow the students to familiarise themselves with the drones and how various coding options impact we set them a task of creating a ‘drone dance’ within a two cubic metre space.

The students embraced the task and started creating some interesting moves with their drone. This task was done within their Maths class as part of the ‘rich tasks’ we use with the Maths Pathway program. The ‘rich tasks’ are when students apply the foundational skills they have developed in their modules. Using Maths Pathway has enabled us to be more flexible in the delivery of many of our STEM projects.

The final products will be posted separately but here are the students developing their ‘drone dance’.

MicroShower Wins!

Our wonderful MicroShower development team from 8.1 entered their device in the inaugural Sydney Catholic School’s STEM Competition. Their entry was selected from over one hundred entries from across the Sydney Archdiocese as a finalist. Here is their ‘pitch’:

Having successfully made the list of fifteen finalists they ventured to Southern Cross Vocational College last Friday to be part of the SCS STEM Symposium. Each finalist was allocated a space to showcase their ‘concept’ and attendees of the symposium were invited to view the ‘concepts’ then vote for their favourite.

At the end of the symposium the finalists were judged based on various categories and the MicroShower took out the award for ‘Sustainability’. Congratulations to Lucy Sullivan, Leila Vanderkemp, Scarlett de Luca, Zoe Farr and Sophia Pappas on bringing the MicroShower to life. 2020 is looking to be the year the MicroShower takes the world by storm!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Alice Bowman UNSW Visit

A group of our 7.1 students was invited to present at a very special Space event at UNSW this week. The event involved was the visit to UNSW by Alice Bowman, Mission Operations Manager for the New Horizons Project. The New Horizons Project is part of NASA’s space exploration program to Pluto.

Prior to Alice speaking our students had the chance to explain their project to the various distinguished guests, including Alice. The students had already participated in a conference call with Alice last week so she was familiar with what they had done as part of the Space STEM Project in Term 2.

Alice then gave a keynote speech about the New Horizons Project and the amazing discoveries the spacecraft had revealed as it travelled through our solar system. She also spoke about how they overcame numerous obstacles along the way. Once Alice finished speaking it was time for our students to take centre stage and they were incredible. 

Elena Georgievska, Jessica Cooper, Grace de Diesbach and Jasmine Parsons walked the audience through their plan to establish a human colony on Mars. Their knowledge of the many technical aspects of completing such a mission impressed all the guests. We are very proud of them and the wonderful way they presented themselves and the fantastic project they were involved in. Special thanks also to Tia Browner who was part of the team but was unable to attend the event.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Monitoring Our Beehive

The 7.1 students are creating monitoring devices using their Microbits to collect data that will help us check on the health of our beehive. This is their role in the STEM project currently taking place across all Year 7 classes.

Each group has chosen a sensor they think will help provide valuable data for the class to analyse with everything from UV Sensors to barometric pressure being used in devices.

One group is responsible for monitoring the number of bees that enter and exit the hive. They have set up a ‘beecam’ to capture their data. They video files are then dropped into iMovie, the footage slowed down as much as possible and then one minute segments analysed from each session’s footage.

Today was the first day of collecting data and there was lots of interesting activity happening in and around the beehive as groups positioned their devices to accurately collect the data required.

OneWorld Robotics Competition

This is the first time we are entering a team in the OneWorld Robotics Competition and we are very excited to see where it takes us.

We have a team of five students each with their own Actura robot that they need to learn to control through coding. In our team we have Sophia from Year 8 who is a Python guru and four Year 9 students, Emma, Lilla, Ana and Brooke, who are just starting on their coding journey. Sophia is team captain!

Before anyone could get going with their robots there was a little construction that needed to take place!

While the students will be using block coding to control the robots, Sophia’s background knowledge will prove to be very valuable.

The competition will take place at Knox Grammar on the weekend of November 23/24. Even though each student has their own robot they need to operate as a team to complete a series of challenges. This will be a great experience for the students.

The theme of this year’s competition is ‘Smart Cities’ with the robots replicating autonomous vehicles in the tasks they will be required to perform in the competition. To prepare the students have been working with some of the Actura team learning the basics of controlling their robots and getting familiar with the various sensors.

Bee Project: Data Collection

Our Year 7 students are moving along with their STEM project, ‘Can St Clare’s Sustain Another Beehive?’ At the moment the focus in Mathematics is on data collection using Microbits.

The 7.1 students are looking at how they can use their Microbits to monitor the health of the hive.  Last week they had the pleasure of hearing from Carmela, a data engineer from UTS. Carmela spoke about how crucial data has become in most occupations and what becoming a data engineer involves.

This was a great lead in to the work we have done this week is creating a device that we can use to monitor the health of our beehive. The students have incorporated a number of sensors that will collect information they can use to ensure our hive has every chance of maintaining the right conditions for our bees.

The devices which will monitor light, UV, humidity, temperature and air pressure will be put to use next week being place around the beehive. We also have a team that has set up a bee cam that focuses on the movement of the bees in and out of the hive.

We will have much data to share in the coming weeks!