180 Year 8 students participated in a full day STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering and Maths) Challenge.

Based on climate change, the challenge focused on increased incidence of flooding and the need for households to be able to pump as much water as possible out of flooded homes in a short period of time. Students were then set their challenge: to build a device which could lift 1 litre of water up a vertical distance of 30cm in 1 minute.

Working in teams of six, the girls designed and built their device which was then scientifically tested at the end of the day. Teams had certain criteria to fulfill, limited budget and resources, and also had to create a video log of their work throughout the day. The TAS design process was utilised so that there was brainstorming, narrowing of ideas and careful planning before any construction began.

At the end of the day, each group showed their video log, was marked on a range of criteria including their design record sheets, elegance of design and adherence to budget, and then tested their device. Much splashing of water and cheering ensued!

Many thanks go out to the entire STEM team for their hard work both leading up to and on the day, as well as our guests: Mrs Kim Mahoney (Careers Advisor and Design & Technology Teacher at The Hills Grammar School), Mrs Karen Michie Year 7 Parent, Molecular Biologist and Science Teacher) and Mr Jonathan Arthur (Year 8 Parent and Research Scientist) - who were happy to lend their time and expertise during the day. We look forward to expanding the STEM program in 2016 to a series of challenge days for Year 8 students, as well the development of an integrated TAS, Science and Maths curriculum project.

Following a student's thoughts on the STEM Challenge Day:

STEM Challenge Day was an amazing experience for Year 8 as we got to learn all about engineering and what engineers do for a living. It is a challenging job that puts your patience and intelligence to the test. I really enjoyed the STEM Challenge Day because I got to spend time with students that I don’t often talk to and I also got to combine elements from different subjects to create my design. I found that manufacturing the design was my favourite part, thinking about how it would work and what it would look like from a little drawing on a piece of paper. The best part about the STEM Challenge Day was showcasing our designs. The whole day came down to one moment when we had to see if our designs would actually work. The STEM Challenge Day taught me a lot about patience, team work and problem solving. I really enjoyed it and gained a lot more respect for engineers.

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