DAY of STEM Festival – August 17 and 18 2018

The Day of STEM Festival was a joint initiative between Day of STEM, National Science Week and St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School.  The broad goal of the festival was to bring together industry, higher education, school students and the community to explore the guiding principles of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).  The NAO Robot from Deakin University (left) delivered the opening speech in an animated fashion and the audience thought it was ‘really cool’.

On Friday all of St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School Year 10 students participated in a full day of activities starting with a presentation and panel discussion on the future of work and how an understanding of STEM will support job prospects for all students.  The students then moved through four workshops exploring; sustainability, innovation, cyber security, electric circuits, robotics and virtual reality (VR).  The  VR was a standout hit, with many students having their first experience of this technology and its potential applications.  Students’ comments included statements about it being the best day at school, they did not realise science incorporated so many skills, and many enjoyed seeing how tools they use recreationally (like for gaming) could be used to solve problems in the future.

The festival continued on Saturday with a keynote from Mr Rob Gell of Beehive Sustainability (and weatherman fame).  He gave an outstanding presentation around global warming and overall climate change and the role of STEM in solving these issues.  He caused the audience to think about issues and engage in the conversation.  Then Roland Gesthuizen from Monash University led a panel of experts through an engaging discussion around sustainability.

The afternoon continued with an EXPO of our industry partners: RMIT, ACTURA, Day of STEM, Education Perfect, Educational World Tours and Holmesglen.  The library was transformed into a makerspace where students could use Arduino circuitry to build vehicles from old toys and temperature sensors for a very small amount of money and time.  Our industry partners were impressed with the attendance and the participants’ enthusiasm for STEM and learning.

Two workshop rotations followed the STEM EXPO.  Roland Gesthuizen from Monash University conducted a workshop entitled Drones from the ground up where students learnt about building and flying drones, then made a paper drone themselves. This was popular and one that the students and parents really enjoyed.

The two robotics workshops, Flip Robots by ACTURA (right) and Jimu robots by Deakin University (below) were highly engaging.  Students love to code and enjoy the challenge of working with robots.  The persistence demonstrated as students program is an excellent example of resilience in learning.

The Festival concluded on a high with so much positivity for the school, the learning environment and what we stand for as leaders in STEM education.  The relationships that we have fostered through Day of STEM and industry will ensure that St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School will continue to offer an amazing learning experience in the STEM field.

As Learning Leader of Science, I would like to thank Ms Annette Rome for the encouragement and support to run an event like this, Ms Renee Hoareau from Day of STEM for all of her hard work behind the scenes organising presenters, industry partners and all of the media, Ms Sue-Anne Lewis for her publicity of the event, Mrs Deb Francis for all of the ground work at St Margaret’s School and organisation of the programs and finally all of the staff and students who attended and supported us in putting this together.

2019 will be bigger and better!

Ms Delanie Lewis
Learning Leader Science