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!

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Our winning Tear 8 team from the recent STEAMPunk Girls project have continued working on their ‘microSHOWER’ as part of their involvement in the AI for Good Challenge. Participation in the Challenge run, by the Education Changemakers team, allowed the students to further develop their prototype.

The students are aiming high and looking to see how close they can get to a product that is worth marketing. At present they are on their fourth prototype and have solved a lot of tough problems along the way. Incorporating our 3D printer has enabled them to see how each prototype works and make adjustments quickly using the Tinkercad program.

They have also been fortunate to have our technical guru, Mr Johnson on hand to guide them in some of the coding issues they have faced in connecting the sensors to the Microbit.

This is a great ongoing project for these students to be involved in and we hope the team at Education Changemakers choose them to move through to the National Finals later in the year.

AI for Good Challenge

Our winning 8.1 team members from the recent UTS STEAMPunk Girls project are entering their ‘Micro Shower’ device in the AI for Good Challenge that is currently underway.

In the 2019 AI for Good Challenge, Australian high school students are supported by their teachers to learn the basic concepts of Artificial Intelligence. Equipped with this learning, they then embark on a design-thinking challenge to dream up a creative way that AI could be used to make a difference in the world.

The challenge is about understanding AI and innovating concepts for how this technology could be used. It is not necessarily about being able to code more about the idea. However, for our girls it is about the whole package!

Our 8.1 students are outstanding coders and want to demonstrate that they can not only come up with an idea but they can bring it to life! We have three weeks until the first part of the Challenge is over when entries from across the country will be judged with the best to be nominated for the National Competition.

3D Printing in Year 7 Technology

Our Year 7 students have had great fun learning how to use our 3D printer. In their Technology classes they have been experimenting with the online CAD program, Tinkercad.

The girls initially made some basic name tags as they familiarised themselves with the software.

As they became more confident in their use of the software their designs have developed significantly. Their most recent task was to create identification tags for their vegetable pot plants.

As you can see below, with a little spray paint the tags look very impressive!

Year 8 Religion

One of our Year 8 Religion classes used some very creative and innovative ways of responding to their recent task that asked them to examine the life of St Clare or St Francis.

One group used Google’s Tour Creator to create a virtual tour of the significant places that St Francis spent time in during his life.

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Another group used the Scratch programming site to code a presentation on St Clare.

There was also a beautiful website created to highlight the difference St Francis has made to our world.

When students are given the freedom to choose how they want to respond to a task the results can often be quite surprising. Perhaps in the future we may be able to give students the same freedom in what they want to learn and see even more inspiring creations!

Virtual Reality at St Clare’s

Two of our Year 10 students, Janice and Annabelle, spent some time this morning at UNSW’s 3D Visualisation Aesthetics Lab. The 3D Visualisation Aesthetics Lab is an award-winning cross-disciplinary research hub that explores arts-led approaches for visualising complex scientific and biomedical scan data.

The purpose of the visit was to showcase some of the work Janice has created in VR using Unity. Janice’s work involved creating a VR game that teaches the principles of the ‘Collision Theory’. This is part of her preparation for her studies in Chemistry in 2019 while Annabelle is currently researching emerging technologies for her IST project. Accompanying Janice was an ideal opportunity to visit a world leader in using VR in the medical field.

The team were very impressed with the work Janice had created as she walked them through her game, explaining how it worked and the development process she had worked through.

After demonstrating her game she was able to spend time with some of the developers talking about how she could improve aspects of the game. She received some great advice on overcoming some of the problems she was currently encountering using Unity as well as the type of programming language she should be working in.

Both girls got to spend time on the current work the team are doing in visualisation of the inner workings of the human body. This was a fascinating experience and opened their eyes to the incredible developments that are taking place in the field of medicine.

We are looking forward to continuing our work with John and the team at 3DVAL. They have been extremely generous with their time as we have looked for opportunities to integrate VR into our learning.

At this stage we see VR being a valuable tool for us initially in Science, through the type of work Janice is undertaking and in the immersive opportunities that exist on platforms like Microsoft’s STEAM. While in Technology, the virtual mannequin in Tiltbrush allows the designer to see their creation in a completely different way. Our ultimate goal is to have a group of students designing and creating in VR using Unity.

This is an exciting time as we look to create new and exciting opportunities for our students.




Year 10 Design and Technology

Our Year 10 Design and Technology class recently completed an assessment task based around the ‘Tiny House’ movement that is gaining momentum around the globe. Here is a brief rundown of their project.

Design Situation:

Interior Design is the art or process of designing the interior decoration of a room or building, where as Architects design both permanent and temporary dwellings and structures.

Design Brief:

Disasters can cause displacement of the local population, and the provision of permanent or temporary housing can often be difficult. Students are to research and design their own concept for a low-cost, resource-efficient temporary dwelling. The design of your ‘Tiny House’ is to be used in situations of population displacement, such as a response to a natural disaster, war, homelessness, the increasing cost of real estate, population growth, student accommodation etc.

In response to this Design Situation and Design Brief, the students created CAD drawings of their Tiny Houses using Floorplanner and then recorded virtual tours using Quicktime. Students also created scale models out of model making materials and at the St Clare’s and Waverley College TAS and Visual Arts Exhibition we created a Tiny House Street called Little Lane, Miniapolis.

Virtual Reality in Ancient History

Earlier this year the College invested in a DELL mixed reality system in order to explore the possibilities virtual reality had for education. Part of the philosophy of the redevelopment of our Library space was to incorporate a research component for staff where we could experiment with emerging technologies.

We have already posted on this blog examples of the wonderful creativity our students have shown using the virtual reality system with Tiltbrush. We are continuing to explore this new platform from Google and have a dedicated team of students who love creating new content that they can upload to Poly to share with a global audience.

This week we used the Google Earth VR component with our senior Ancient History class. The students explored the streets of Pompeii using virtual reality with one student acting as the guide and the rest of the class joining the teacher watch the tour unfold on the big screen. This was a powerful way to look at the old city. It was almost like we were all wandering through the streets pointing out some of the features we were already familiar with.

Google Cardboard in Year 7 History

It was great to see one of our Year 7 History classes breaking out of the classroom and immersing themselves in the virtual world last week.

Ms Ribeiro had the girls prepared by ensuring they had the right app downloaded on their phones prior to the lesson. The focus was on the Great Wall of China and Zoe shared a few thoughts on the lesson.

On Thursday 21st of June, the 7.1 History class was exhilarated by their astonishing and exciting experience with Virtual Reality where they got to witness the Great Wall of China. 7.1 was immersed in this amazing history lesson and was crestfallen to see it end. It utilised YouTube and was viewed through the Google Cardboard boxes that were very kindly provided for us by the Library staff. As one of the most graphic visions we had of such a substantial monument, we could turn our heads and move around to examine the intricate detail and enhance our knowledge on Ancient China.  We would like to thank Ms Ribeiro for organising such a fantastic experience for her students, as the graphic aspects of this was like no other.

STEM Academy

Last week our six STEM Academy teachers spent two days at Sydney University reporting back on the planning that we have been involved in since we last gathered in late 2017.

On Thursday we presented our planned integrated unit happening in Term 3 to the STEM Academy team, a panel of experts across a range of disciplines and the other STEM Academy partner schools.

The planned unit is based on the theme of ‘Sustainability’ and will be a pilot project for our upcoming Newman stream starting in 2019. Our Year 7.1 class will be working on this unit throughout next term.

On Friday we were immersed in the various STEM related fields Sydney University has across its campus. We spent most of our time in the Engineering and IT precinct, touring the VR lab and aeronautical labs, while also hearing about a joint partnership between Qantas and the university around the new non-stop route from Perth to London.

The two days were very beneficial as we were able to connect with a number of experts across numerous fields. This networking will enable us to build new connections between the College and industry as we forge ahead with our STEM initiatives across the College.