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.


STEM in Action

Our Year 9 IST class is embarking on their coding journey using Makeblock resources. The students have been using Scratch in preparation for the arrival of the mBots and mBot Ranger.

Today the students were given their robots to put together and it was certainly quite a challenge as they began unpacking the vast array of parts each device is made up of.


The students were fortunate that one device had been constructed so they could see first hand what the end product should look like.

We purchased an mBot Ranger as an added challenge for our top students. This robot is able to complete more complex tasks but takes a great deal more thought to construct.

Airblock is a lightweight drone that can be programmed through the Makeblock app. We demonstrated the drone in free flight mode so the students could see how it moved in the space. The end task for this unit will be asking the students to create a program that moves the drone from table to table within our Library space.

A couple of the groups monitored the assembly process using time-lapse on the iPad. Here they are in action.