On Friday, 11th of February, we celebrated International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Girls and non-binary students from our partner schools joined us for a day of STEM activities that allowed the students to explore new topics and technologies that they may not have previously had access to.
The day started with a guest speaker, Lejla Kartal, a research administration officer with the Royal Melbourne Hospital who is also pursuing a Masters in Epidemiology at the University of Melbourne. Lejla spoke about her experiences growing up and falling in love with STEM, and some of the wonderful pathways studying science can take you on.
The first activity of the day was drone flying, which challenged the students’ spatial skills as well as their creative skills. They learned to fly Tello drones, and once they had mastered the basic movements, they were given the challenge of designing a prototype attachment that could be used to carry medical aid (just one example of how drones are being used today).
The second activity introduced the students to the laser cutter – a central piece of Tech School equipment – and how the precision of lasers and mathematics can be used to create unique and attractive designs. The students learned to create vector graphics in our Digital Studio, which they then used to design and laser-cut their own jewellery.
After lunch, the final challenge of the day was to learn how to code a smart fishing net using micro:bits and block-coding. Using Microsoft’s MakeCode code editor, students were challenged to code a device to sense light levels, track the data, and turn on lights or a sound when the light levels dropped. Such smart fishing nets have been used to help solve the problem of bycatch, and are an example of how coding and electronics can be used to solve real-world environmental problems.
We hope all of our guests enjoyed their experience, and we look forward to seeing them again for more programs and events throughout the year.