Good Works

Our Year 12 Studies in Catholic Thought students are coming to the end of their current module which is based around doing ‘good works’ for others. The module exposes students to people who have done ‘good works’ under the banner of the Catholic faith in the hope they are inspired to follow in their footsteps.

Rather than just learn about these people our students have decided to live out the ‘good works’ by helping others in our community during their SICT periods. Last week we had thirteen students venture down to the Charingfield Aged Care facility to lead the residents in an art and craft workshop.

Both students and residents found the time together very rewarding as they discovered much about each other’s lives while completing various art and craft activities. For the residents of Charingfield who have been impacted so heavily by the pandemic it was a chance to reconnect with people outside the facility.

All agreed that this should become a regular part of the SICT periods and our next visit is already being planned.

Justice Through the Arts

In last term’s Year 8 project students worked in teams to create a short film that connected with one of these three themes: people seeking asylum, the Uluru Statement of the Heart and climate change in the Pacific.

There were a number of excellent films that were shown to a panel of judges at the St Clare’s Short Film Festival at the end of the project. The judges from the Edmund Rice Centre found one film in particular connected with the work they do. ‘Speechless’ was chosen to be the film that will be entered into this year’s Justice Through the Arts Schools Festival which will take place online later this term.

Here is ‘Speechless’, including an introduction from the team.

Year 7 Post-Earth Pioneers

Last week we launched the Year 7 project “Post-Earth Pioneers”. Throughout the term students will work in small groups to develop a plan for life beyond Earth. They will need to consider where humans might live, how they will get there, what a base could look like, and how they will survive. This project is an opportunity for Year 7 students to explore the possibilities of science and maths in an exciting, hands-on, and creative way. The project will be supported across other subjects such as English and PDHPE, to give students different perspectives on space travel and astronaut wellbeing.

During the Launch Day students had the opportunity to hear from Annie Handmer and Tim Parsons. Annie is currently finishing her PhD in which she is investigating the interface between science, society, and military activities in space. She spoke to the students about her career trajectory so far, and how she is fascinated by the concept of “space law”. Tim Parsons is a St Clare’s parent who we are so lucky to have involved in our Space and STEM projects. He works across multiple start-ups in the space industry and is a member of several industry sector boards. Our Year 7 students were very impressed by Annie and Tim and had their eyes opened to opportunities in the space industry in Australia.

Students then participated in four interesting space-related workshops. They built small Mars helicopters out of paper, analysed photos taken by the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars, undertook some “core sample analysis” using chocolate bars, and learned about some of the requirements fo life to be sustained and how we might apply this to space travel.

Year 7 will be involved in “Project Afternoons” once per week for the duration of the project. These afternoons are a chance for them to work in their teams on the project and participate in more exciting activities with the Science and Maths team.

We are all looking forward to a fascinating term of space exploration with our Year 7 students! 

iSTEM Solar Cars

Once again the Year 9 iSTEM has taken part in another exciting and unexpected lesson. On Tuesday 30th March the class participated in a hands-on activity related to the Sunsprint Challenge.

Mike Richards, a part-time professor, and engineer at UNSW, started our double period by discussing engineering and why it’s important. He then asked us to list the main components of a car and explain their purpose (this would benefit us with our next activity). Many of us had prior knowledge of cars and their basic structure but learned a lot of new things, especially about the different parts and how they all interact with each other. 

After coming up with a long list of components we headed down to the playground to begin our main activity. With a partner, Mike had challenged us to create a solar or battery-powered race-car with only the materials provided. At first, we found it impossible. “How are we supposed to make the wheels move?” “What is going to power it?” “How do we do this?” were questions we asked, but as the class persevered we started to make some progress. Because of our brainstorming and discussion of those car parts, we were able to apply that new knowledge to the activity and it was really interesting to see everything coming together. 

Once our cars were complete and functional, we raced against each other to see whose car was the fastest. Overall it was a great learning experience that used our innovative skills and put our minds to the test. The iSTEM class cannot wait for more events just like this.

Bella Power, Year 9

Lights, Camera, Social Action

After a term of hard work, our Year 8 students completed the Lights, Camera, Social Action! cross-curricular project at the end of Term One. This project was a chance to integrate learning across English, Music, and RE, as students created a short film (including soundtrack) to shine a light on a social justice issue. 

We saw some incredible work from the students throughout the term. Students filmed at various locations, creating animated scenes, conducting interviews within our school community and beyond, and developing teamwork skills as they work together to complete this creative task. 

Students had weekly project mornings or afternoons throughout the project, and these provided dedicated time for the groups to work together on their short films. In one project morning recently, students had the opportunity to meet virtually with Seanine Joyce, a music composer for film and television based in the UK. Seanine highlighted some of the ways music can enhance a film and gave some useful tips and tricks for our students. 

Films were viewed in class during Week 9, and a selection made it through to the first Clarion Film Festival which was held on Tuesday Week 10. We also welcomed special industry guests to the film festival who were blown away by the hard work and the professional films made by our students. We thank these guests for spending their time with us and providing such inspiration for our students. 

  • Marisa Brattoni and Carmel Clark from the Edmund Rice Centre awarded Most Empathetic Representation of a Social Justice Issue to “Speechless”: Charlee Ball, Hilary Samba Nikolic, Natasha Scribney, Abigail Buxton.
  • Chris Grainger from Grainger Films awarded Best Cinematography to “Survivor”: Anna VH, Astrid Gardan, Toni Lendingham, Zara Toomey, Vevie Vockler.
  • Bea Tekiko, a past St Clare’s student and now professional filmmaker, awarded Best Editing to “Mudslide”: Julia Meneses, Alyssa Vrondos, Gabby Kakatsos.
  • Ms Verity Cash awarded Best Original Soundtrack to Vevie Vockler and her team’s film “Survivor”.
  • All film festival attendees then voted online for the People’s Choice Award, and the winner was “My Globe”: Emily Burrows, Jaya Flancbaum, Poppy White, Tahlia Griffiths.

Here is the winner of the People’s Choice Award:

Congratulations to all the Year 8 students for their outstanding efforts during the term and the incredible films they produced. Special thanks must go to all the project staff across Year 8 English, Music, and Religion. It is the continual hard work and dedication of St Clare’s teachers that allow the students to experience such amazing projects as this.

Nicola Steele
Leader of Integrated Learning

Can St Clare’s Become Carbon Neutral?

One of our initiatives for 2021 t is looking to see how the College can move closer to becoming ‘carbon neutral’. We have a number of students who are active in the environmental space and we are looking for opportunities for them to develop this passion within the College walls.

In 2020 our former Science teacher, Mr D’Archy, started the conversation with the student body during an assembly he ran on the environment. He highlighted some of the ways students could take action in their everyday lives. He also highlighted areas where we could be doing so much more than we currently do, particularly in recycling.

This year two of our Year 9 students, Suki and Isabella are leading this initiative. They are in the process of forming a student committee and will be working with Bouddi Solutions to help move the College towards ‘carbon neutrality’.

We have been fortunate to have been involved with Bouddi previously, when founder Lochie Burke worked with our Year 8 students in 2020 during their project on ‘People and Technology’. Bouddi are working with a number of schools in this area, with St Joseph’s College and Scots College being two of their higher profile clients.

I know both students are very excited about the project and we look forward to sharing developments over the coming weeks.

Engineered Systems

Our Year 8 Technology classes are currently working on their ‘Engineered Systems’ module and are engaged in the module through the use of drones.


This year we purchased the DJ Tello drones to add to our existing stock of Parrot Mambo drones. The Mambo are no longer in production so moving to the Tello meant looking at other options for the students to code the drones. We also used Google’s Workbench platform to code the Mambos but Google have now abandoned Workbench.

To overcome these challenges the Tello drones are being coded by the students through Apple Swift playground app on our iPad stock. Swift Playground is Apple’s venture into the coding world for students and is a fantastic way for students to get familiar with the coding language. Swift is Apple’s unique coding language so is slightly different from the Python language students have been familiar with through the Grok Learning platform.

Last week was our first attempt at getting the students familiar with using the Tello and the Swift Playground app and it could not have been simpler. Within the Swift Playground app is a Tello Playground where students can learn to control their drone in a very simple and structured way.  This was a much simpler process than using the Workbench platform and allowed engagement without the frustration of code not working. All in all a great start to the module!

The Lost Diggers of Fromelles Documentary Launch

On Wednesday we saw the launch of our documentary on The Lost Diggers of Fromelles. The launch was the culmination of nearly three years of work as a team of our current Year 12 students worked with author and documentary maker, Patrick Lindsay, to create a lasting tribute to the soldiers buried in the mass grave at Pheasant Wood following the battle on July 19, 1916.

The project began when the students were in Year 9 back in 2018. The project initially involved creating video profiles of the missing soldiers and morphed into a documentary that encompassed the battle, the discovery of the mass grave and the subsequent identification process of soldiers.

Over the duration of the project the students developed some great relationships with the families of their soldiers. These relationships were evident at the launch evening when a number of guests sought out the students who had created profiles of their soldier. None more so than Graham and Jan Trimble who travelled down from Brisbane for the launch. Graham and Jan spent considerable time with Claudia Van Dam who had profiled their soldier, Edgar Williams.

Another relationship that was developed throughout the project was with the Shelley family and Kate O’Sullivan.  To mark the special occasion Kate had prepared a framed photo of their soldier, Herbert Bolt. This was a lovely gesture that was greatly appreciated by the family.

We were also joined by Lambis Englezos for the launch. It was the first opportunity we had to get Lambis to Sydney from Melbourne due to the impact of Covid and we took the chance to sit him down with Lily Garratt and do a complete interview around his uncovering the mass grave at Pheasant Wood. This was something we had wanted to do as part of the documentary.

We are very proud of what the students have achieved with Patrick. It has been a wonderful journey for all of us. The documentary is now available to be viewed on Youtube.

Here are some images from the launch evening:

Year 10 Maths

Our Year 10 cohort met this morning in their Maths period for a whole year group Maths Pathway lesson.  The idea behind the period was to allow students the opportunity to take part in ‘mini-lessons’ run by a variety of teachers. This flexible lesson structure was based on the Maths Pathway data available from all four classes.

Our Maths Coordinator, Mr Chris Pocock, spent hours combing through the data of the entire cohort to group students according to the topics they were currently working on.  He then assigned the group to a particular teacher who then prepared a mini lesson based on the data provided.  Students were made known of their groupings, mini lesson topic and the teacher they would be working with.

The students met as a cohort to start the period and then moved off to the allocated mini lesson.  Students not involved in a mini lesson worked on their fortnightly modules under the direction of Mr Pocock.

The feedback from both students and staff was very positive and we are looking to do this again early in Term Two.

Engineers Without Borders

Year 9 iSTEM had the opportunity to do a workshop with Engineers Without Borders. Engineers Without Borders is an organisation run by UNSW students who educate secondary schools on what being an engineer means and how they improve the lives of many people around the world, especially the less fortunate. We also learned about the different types of engineers there are, such as biomedical engineers, civil engineers, chemical engineers, etc. They also gave us an insight into the life of a university student and helped us gain general knowledge about what university is like. 

We also had the opportunity to make a prosthetic leg out of sponges, rope, wood planks, duct tape and plastic tubes that should be able to help us walk 4m using it at the end of our 30-minute timer to make it. My team first planned out what parts of a leg we would need and what type of material we would use to create the prosthetic leg. After that, it was mainly trial and error and experimenting with the materials. Our main goal was to use as little of the material, (especially duct tape), as possible to allow the leg to be a lot simpler and easier to make. We crafted our idea out of multiple ones each of us had. The three of us all got to appreciate and work with each other’s ideas. But, of course, it was a very difficult task to do. We had limited supplies and limited time which then made it a lot more difficult to do. It was also very difficult to assemble everything together with minimal duct tape as we were especially limited by the amount given.

We also had the opportunity to listen to a guest speaker from Arup Engineering. He told us about how he had graduated from university and was now working in civil engineering, specifically flooding and ensuring that buildings were stable enough to survive a flood. He also gave us an insight into what was important about university and how much he struggled in secondary school before entering university. He also happened to be our supervisor for the prosthetic leg challenge which was a great opportunity to learn more about what he does. He taught us that engineers save lives and are influential to our everyday lives. 

It was a really fun experience that allowed us to all think and create a product that we all loved to make. Overall, the entire class had a great experience together and got to watch our classmates use prosthetic legs we made in just 30 minutes. It will definitely be a memory our class will never forget and I’m sure that we would all love to do a workshop with EWB again!

Jenny Neyman, Year 9 iSTEM.