Year 9 Market Day

Our Year 9 Commerce classes have been preparing for ‘Market Day’ for most of this term and Friday’s activities were the culmination of the hard work and preparation put in by staff and students.

Each class was divided into group with students choosing team members. Initially discussions centred around potential businesses that may be successful on ‘Market Day’.

Each group was given a template of a ‘business report’ from which they then built an outline of the potential business. This was then submitted to the teacher for review. Upon getting the green light for the business each group then started pricing items they needed to get up and running.

Each group had to purchase their own stock and was responsible for the ‘marketing’ of their product prior to ‘Market Day’.  Any profits were to be directed to one of the charities the College supports.

It was a great learning experience for all and another fantastic example of authentic learning taking place.

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“Outside the square”

This is a great example of what can be done when a group of educators start thinking outside the square. Can we do things better? Of course we can. We just need to start thinking a little differently about what education could look like. Seeing the wonderful learning experiences of our students involved in the UNSW Sunsprint Challenge on the weekend should inspire us to look at incorporating more of these types of projects into our classrooms.


“Horizon is the closest I have come to not just seeing outside the square, but being there.” @DartaHovey, via Twitter 6/617.

For the past 18 months I’ve been working with a team of Learning Leaders from Catholic College Wodonga (@CCWodonga) in NE Victoria, Australia, trying to solve a problem. We’re not sure, but we think we have a potential solution.

Our problem was – what is stopping students in our school from really engaging and wanting to do their best? Are we giving every student the opportunity to pursue their passions and areas of interest – in an authentic way, not just a tokenistic nod? Where do we hear our student voice?

Our solution – Horizon.Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 1.06.54 pmHorizon is an independent (but collaborative) program that we have begun this semester for 13 students across Years 8-11.

Students effectively have a blank timetable that they fill with the following…

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Art and Design Exhibition

During the past week we have been preparing for our Art and Design Exhibition. A wide variety of outstanding work samples have been displayed around the College from a number of subject areas.

There were a number of digital presentations on show around the College and in those presentations, two in particular stood out as great examples of authentic learning.

The street murals took place back in 2016 while the ‘Egg Drop’ was part of the Year 7 Technology course earlier this year.

Coding in Year 9 IST

It has been interesting to watch the journey of our Year 9 IST students as they have explored coding through the use of the Makeblock robots. Prior to this unit the students had done a little preliminary work with Scratch so working with the Makeblock resources was a natural progression.

This week the College is hosting an Art and Design Exhibition in conjunction with Waverley College. Both the Art and TAS Departments are showcasing the very best from both Colleges and last night’s opening was a huge success.

One of the displays on show was a coding demonstration using an mBot Ranger. This is one of the more advanced Makeblock robots allowing the more advanced students to do more than just the basic coding operations.

The display was run by Janice, one of our Year 9 students, who created her own obstacle course and then programmed the mBot Ranger to successfully navigate the course.

The development in Janice’s coding skills has been accelerated through her involvement in the exhibition. It reinforces that we learn on a ‘need to know’ basis. The fact Janice had to take her coding skills to a higher level through running the exhibit is evidence of the need to constantly be exposing students to meaningful learning experiences.


Year 10 Design and Technology Project

Our Year 10 Design and Technology students have commenced the process of redesigning one of our TAS rooms as part of an authentic design project.

To assist in the process, Jude Watson from Black Sheep Design shared his thoughts with both Year 10 classes today. Jude was able to walk the girls through the design process he uses when taking on a new brief.

Following Jude’s talk the girls had the opportunity to ask questions relating to their project as well as what a career in design entails. Having access to someone of Jude’s calibre is a great opportunity for both classes as they look to respond to the brief provided by our TAS Coordinator, Mrs Taryn Smith.

Over the next two terms both classes will prepare individual responses to the design brief. Each student will then present to a panel of judges with the best designs being selected for further development.

This is an exciting project and we look forward to sharing developments as they happen throughout the term.

Coding at St Clare’s

Our Year 9 IST students have been getting familiar with their Makeblock robots. Both the mBot and mBot Ranger have been a big hit as the girls start to use the MBlockly app to code the robots to move in different directions.

We also purchased an Airblock which is Makeblock’s drone for students. Last week we allowed the girls a little ‘free flying’ time to see if they were able to control the drone using the simple controls on the iPad. The results were mixed to say the least!


NCSS Challenge

Today marks the start of an exciting five week challenge for a number of our students. Nine of our girls are participating in the National Computer Science School (NCSS) Challenge. The NCSS Challenge is run by Grok Learning, a new education start-up from the University of Sydney.

The NCSS Challenge teaches students to code in Python 3.6. Python is an easy to learn scripting language used for many different purposes such as web applications and scientific research. Companies like Google, Facebook and Reddit all use Python in their infrastructure and web services.

There are four levels in the Challenge from Newbies right up to Advanced. Most of our girls have chosen Beginner although two of our best are trying their hand at Intermediate.

We look forward to sharing some of their thoughts on the Challenge as they progress through the activities.

The End of Efficiency is Near

Another great post from Greg Whitby about the need to reimagine the way we educate our young people. It includes this fantastic quote from Elon Musk who has pioneered the Tesla revolution around the globe.

The industrial model of schooling is characterised by its efficiency of processing children through the system en masse. That is why the model has been easy to replicate over the decades and why its processes and structures still dominate today. We have come to rely (almost blindly) on its efficiency at the expense of effectiveness […]

via The end of efficiency —

Looking for Opportunities

We are constantly looking for opportunities for our students to connect with experts in STEM related fields. At the end of June three of our students gained entry into a new program at UNSW. The Quantum Computing Experience was held at UNSW during the final week of Term 2 and was open to female students in Years 10 and 11 who were high achievers in either Mathematics or Science.

It has been interesting to hear each of them reflect on their experience as it shows how important it is to connect our students with the world around them. Too often we get caught up in delivering content and forget about giving students experiences that will prepare them for life outside school.

Here Veronica reflects on her week at UNSW.