Tech Girls Competition

Suki and Olivia from Year 9 have spent three months building an app as part of their involvement in the TechGirls Competition. Their app Thriftr aims to combat fast fashion by making sustainable shopping easier and more appealing. 

Here Suki gives an overview of their involvement:

STEM was something Olivia and I had always been interested in. We both enjoyed coding, problem-solving, critical thinking and developing new ideas, so for us, our iSTEM class was the perfect place to use these skills. 

One of our personal favourite activities in this class was the Girls in Tech workshop we did. We looked at world problems that affected our local area and had to come up with ideas and ways to fix them. On the initial day, we came up with an idea for an app called Thriftr. Essentially, Thrift is an app designed to reduce the impact and levels of fast fashion across the world. It connected people to thrift stores, op shops or second-hand clothing stores near them. 

While we had a lot of fun on this day, taking that idea further was something neither of us even dreamt of. This was when Ms Steele presented the idea of entering the Tech Girls Competition. This competition is a way for young girls to present their ideas to a panel of judges with a chance to take their idea further and actually develop it. Obviously, Olivia and I both loved the idea and we entered straight away. With our coach, Ms Steele, and mentor, Jemima Siddiqui behind us, Olivia and I started on a journey of developing our app further and turning it into a real-world solution. 

We spent a dedicated 3 months working on a business report, an app wireframe, code and a pitch for our app. It was such an incredible experience for both of us. It allowed us to work on new skills and it was incredible to watch our idea change and grow in front of our eyes.

Personally, I learnt a lot about myself throughout the experience. I used skills I already had and discovered a whole range of new ones. I worked on my time management skill, business report and finance skills, coding skills and video production skills and the end product was something we were both really proud of. It was such an incredible experience and while there were difficult moments along the way and I would not describe the journey as ‘easy’, I’m so proud of what Olivia and I achieved and I wouldn’t change a moment of it.

Here is our pitch:

2021 National Computer Science Schools Challenge

The National Computer Science School Challenge came to its conclusion last Sunday evening. The Challenge ran for five weeks and involved students solving a series of weekly challenges involving the use of coding.

Despite being in lockdown for the duration of the Challenge a number of our students were able to complete the Challenge and achieve a ‘perfect score’! This is a fabulous effort and a tribute to the dedication and commitment of these students.

Congratulations to the following students who achieved a perfect score in the Beginner Level (Python). At this level students work with the Python language to solve the weekly challenges.

Year 7: Aine Wilson, Aislinn Walsh-Sams, Alannah Nic Domhnaill, Alexandra Arachchige, Keeli Sampson, Lily Carter, Sienna Scott, Sophie Le, Tekla Irwin, Zara Moraitis and Mahli Barnes

Year 8: Bethany Au

Year 9: Bella-Angel Otto de Grancy and Suki Waddel.

A special mention goes to Bethany Au who also achieved a near perfect score in the Intermediate Level.

Being able to code is a very valuable skill and one which will be of great benefit as they move to higher education later in life.

Fromelles Research Team Update

Despite being in remote learning our Fromelles Research Team are continuing to look for connections to their soldier. As part of their work students are working in teams to try and find living relatives connected to a soldier, buried in the mass grave at Pheasant Wood, who has still not been formally identified.

This work has previously been done by volunteers connected with the Fromelles Association. Following our work on the documentary the Association reached out to see if we could assist in their work. Our new group of students are honoured to be part of such important work.

Amelie, Caroline and Lara from Year 8 are looking for connections to their soldier, Mervyn Ross. As a starting put they are using our Instagram to get the message out to the wider community. By creating posters and short videos they hope to find that missing link that will allow Mervyn to be formally identified and given his final resting place at the Pheasant Wood Cemetery at Fromelles.

We also received a lovely message from the Fromelles Museum this week. On the anniversary of the battle the museum had our documentary subtitled in French so they could have it running in their museum. Magnifique!

Year 8 Project Launch

Our Year 8 cohort began their project for Term 3 under very different circumstances.  Moving the launch day to an online format took some amazingly creative thinking from our Head of Integrated Learning, Ms Nicola Steele. We are so lucky to have her leading our projects.
 
The “People and Technology” project will be run across Geography and TAS this term. Students will need to work together to create an innovative solution to a local or global problem they identify. The launch day took place over Zoom with a number of online guests hoping to inspire the students to do some ‘Moonshot Thinking’ to solve a local issue. Some of the highlights were:
 
An interview with Sally Dominguez. Sally is a multi-award-winning Inventor, Adventurer, and Educator. Sally joined us for an interview via Zoom from San Francisco to kick off our launch day and she gave the students lots of advice on “adventurous thinking”, being bold and saying YES to any challenge.
 
 
Year 9 students giving advice to Year 8
Some of our Year 9 students joined us on Zoom to provide words of wisdom based on their experiences with the project last year. They gave lots of good advice about working in teams, asking for help, and deciding on an idea.
 
 
2020 Projects
Our Year 8s were exposed to some of the best projects from the ‘People and Technology Project’ from 2020. This provided lots of inspiration!
 
 
Innovation Challenge 
Finally students were tasked with developing an innovative product using just three common household items! In 30 minutes students had to quickly design their idea and create a prototype. They then delivered a one minute pitch to try and sell their idea to the group!
 

Fromelles Research Team

A new group of students has begun the journey of uncovering information about the lives of soldiers who were killed in the Battle of Fromelles and subsequently buried in the mass grave at Pheasant Wood.

We currently have over twenty students from Years 7 to 10 continuing the work started by the current Year 12 students who worked for three years to create our documentary on the Battle of Fromelles.

This new group of students meet each Tuesday after school. Their mission at the moment is to assist the Fromelles Association in their efforts to uncover relatives who may be able to provide a DNA sample that could identify the remains of soldiers recovered from the mass grave at Pheasant Wood.

The students have been divided into teams and assigned a soldier’s profile that has been provided to use by the Fromelles Association. The profiles contain information about the soldier’s service in World War One and if available some information about his personal life that came through letters from home. The students use this information as a starting point on their journey of discovery.

This is authentic work! Our students are now part of the official research team at the Fromelles Association and in joining in this work they are part of the team that hopefully will find a connection that will lead to their soldier being officially identified. If this does occur then that soldier will be given a formal military burial in the Pheasant Wood cemetery at Fromelles.

This is not easy work and the profiles we have been assigned are those that the team at the Fromelles Association have been unable to find a living relative. We hope that by using a younger generation there may be opportunities to explore avenues that the older researchers are not familiar with.

Over the coming weeks we will profile the soldiers we are looking at. This week we also put together an interview that Lily Garratt did with Lambis Englezos when he was in Sydney for the documentary launch. This was going to be an integral part of our documentary but due to Covid restrictions Lambis was unable to leave Melbourne. The interview is a wonderful insight into Lambis and how he uncovered the mass grave at Pheasant Wood.

Century Update

This year the College has moved further along the personalised learning journey with the implementation of the Century learning platform. Century is powered by artificial intelligence and creates learning pathways for each student based on how they respond to questions posed by the platform.

The College is using Century in Years 7 to 10 across both English and Science classes. Century is designed as a support for the work done in the classroom. It allows each student to have learning tailored to their needs.

For example if a student is struggling in a concept then Century will take that student back to the fundamentals of the concept, thereby building a solid base for further growth. At the other end of the spectrum the platform allows students to move further down the pathway of learning, allowing for continued development and engagement. This helps avoid the boredom some students face when they have mastered a concept but cannot move forward because they are locked out of content that is found in higher levels.

We are currently interviewing a variety of students to get their feedback on the platform. All to date have spoken very positively about how the platform has helped them in their learning. Being able to differentiate work outside the classroom is a major step in ensuring students stay motivated and engaged with their learning.

Last month we had 430 unique student logins, with these students completing over 3600 nuggets. A nugget is a learning module containing a video and slide presentation on a particular concept. Students are then presented with a series of questions relating to the concepts they have been presented with. The questions are randomised so they never get the same set of questions should they be presented with the same nugget further down their learning pathway. Overall our students answered over 35 000 questions through the month of May.

Post-Earth Pioneers Update

Our Year 7 students are coming to the end of their Space project, ‘Is it time to become post-Earth pioneers?’.The project brings students together in their Maths and Science classes to explore this driving question.

Throughout the term students have explored the four categories of: location, journey, base and health in their Maths classes. They have rounded, calculated averages, identified astronomical units, explored the scale of our solar system, estimated mass and calculated costs, made timelines, examined trajectory and angles, calculated volume and area of their base camp and looked at data that is generated by the human body when exercising. It has certainly been a project that has tested a variety of mathematical applications!

The students will be presenting their final presentations in class next week. In preparation the teams have been submitting designs for 3D printing and there are certainly some very creative bases. The 3D printer has been working overtime to have all teams be able to have a physical model to show the judges.

We look forward to hearing which planets they think should be colonised and why?

Waste Audit

A group of students from Years 7-9 have been working with Bouddi Solutions this term to begin looking at ways the College can move towards becoming ‘carbon neutral’.

Each Monday at lunchtime the team members are lead through workshops by Lochie and Alfonso from Bouddi. Lochie is the founder of Bouddi and has worked with the College on a number of projects, while Alfonso is an environmental engineer who is guiding the students in their ‘waste journey’.

This week the team conducted a ‘waste audit’ on a number of rubbish bins located in the yard. We selected a red (general waste) and blue bin (paper and cardboard) with both being almost filled to capacity. This was not pleasant work but the team entered enthusiastically into their work, and by the end of the process, were shocked by what they had discovered.

The majority of the waste inside the red bin was able to be recycled. In fact, by the time they had separated the waste in the red bin into hard and soft plastics, organics, paper and cardboard and general waste there was less than a milk crate of general waste! This really set the team thinking that if they applied this across all the red bins in the College how much unnecessary waste was being sent to landfill.

The blue bin was no better. In fact only 20% of the waste in the blue bin was able to be recycled as either paper or cardboard!

There were so many questions to be answered at the end of this exercise. Our team has some serious thinking to do before they present their findings to the College Leadership Team next Wednesday. The waste audit raised many issues for all of us and we look forward to hearing some recommendations from the team next week.

Post Earth Pioneers

Our Year 7 students are currently halfway through their integrated Space unit. The focus on being a ‘post Earth pioneer’ has seen some very interesting developments in the way some groups have approached the task.

Each week the Year 7 cohort gather to work on their project with their mentors. In this project the Science and Maths teams are leading the project. This week the focus was on the ‘base’ that will form the hub of the new colony.  Some teams have set their sights on Mars due to the current publicity around the planet while others have been more realistic and have the Moon as the planet they are colonising.

Coming out of this week’s task were some great opportunities to talk about concepts like area and volume. Each team has to provide information about their base apart from the design, they need to include precise dimensions and then use those dimensions to provide further information around floor space, volume and capacity in terms of oxygen supply and flow. During this week’s project afternoon these discussions were very much at the front of every group’s plan.

 

One of the benefits of projects like this is the opportunity for students to be collaborative, critical thinkers. Some students have found working in teams difficult and this is an important process to work through. This is where the mentors step in and help resolve issues around communication.

This year we are doing things a little differently with our 3D animators. Rather than have the entire cohort participate we invited students to be part of a 3D animation program. This has allowed the instructors to spend quality time with a smaller group which has resulted in more rapid skill development in the students.

Again we are partnering with Block42 and the students are currently creating an animation which will sit within their final presentation.

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Capturefy Update

Our Year 9 inventors who were finalists in the recent Clickview Inventors Competition have been working away at developing their ‘Capturefy’ idea that caught the attention of the judges during the competition.

‘Capturefy’ came about as a response to the Year 8 People and Technology project in 2020 where students were asked to come up with a solution to a local problem. ‘Capturefy’ stops rubbish from entering the stormwater drains in our local streets thereby protecting our oceans from being polluted with more rubbish, in particular, plastics.

Last week the team participated in a Zoom call with Sally Dominguez. Sally was the judge from the Clickview Inventors Competition who saw the potential this device had in her local area. Sally currently resides in San Francisco and the students were extremely fortunate to be able to spend time with her and start to think about how they can get their idea to market.

The team members left the Zoom call inspired and ready to take the next steps in bringing ‘Capturefy’ to life. Having someone like Sally as a mentor is an incredible opportunity for the team. They will learn so much from Sally and we are very grateful to her and the Clickview team for helping bring their idea to life.