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What do bees, bridges, billycarts and building mementos have in common?

They were all part of a STEAM spectacular on Monday, 19 September, which saw classes from Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4 engaged in projects in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics.

The day was one for celebrating the joy of learning. On the Senior School campus, our Year 7 girls set about designing the most economical and efficient plan for providing relief to isolated areas devastated by natural disasters. Working in groups, the girls were required to construct a model of a temporary bridge/ramp to take supplies in a robotic transportation sphere from the far side of a river to the top of the opposite bank where the villagers live.
After designing and building their model bridges from spaghetti, elastic bands and tape, each group had to present a two minute creative sales pitch to a Red Cross representative justifying the bridge design, costing and choice of supplies. Each bridge then had to support the weight of the robotic Sphero which had been coded to cross the bridge in order to reach the village.

 

 

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On the Junior School campus, a guest speaker, Ms Felicity Furey, civil engineer and founding director of Machinam, addressed Year 6 on her passion in pursuing engineering as a profession. The girls then moved to the Senior School where they were upskilled in a range of building tools and equipment in order to construct billycarts. This exciting day followed a term’s work where the Year 6 girls have been working in groups to design and build prototypes of billycarts. Judging for the winning design was undertaken by teachers from our TAS (Technological and Applied Studies) department.

 

 

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Year 3 shared their mementos with the larger community. Family and friends were invited to an exhibition of the mementos the girls have designed and created following a study of their place in the history of Abbotsleigh. Their project began with a visit to the School’s archives led by Ms Julie Daly. The focus of their project was the design journey they have followed and documented in a process folio.

 

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Year 1 set about saving the bees. As part of their scientific inquiry into mini beasts, the girls have learned the basics about hives, various roles within the hive, the bee’s body parts, pollination and the important role of the bee in fruit and nut farming. They too have been visited by experts, Mr David Baker, an apiarist and one of our IT technicians, and Professor Kitching, a rainforest ecologist and grandfather to one of our girls. The culmination of their learning was designing a solution to arrest the rapidly declining bee population.

 

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All of these projects have empowered girls to imagine and invent ways to make a difference. They have been involved in learning that is action-oriented and that connects multiple curriculum domains. They have been engaged in inquiry, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration. They have been problem solving – experimenting with solutions, learning from failure and refining their efforts to achieve success.

It was an exciting and busy day. There was lots of noise, lots of playing with ideas and lots of purpose. The success of the girls’ learning and the projects can be summarised in the feedback we received from Felicity Furey: “I was so impressed with everything I saw…each girl and teacher so proud of their work.”


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