Out-of-this-world learning

Year 9 students at De La Salle Catholic College Caringbah have built and programmed a robot car – also called an mBOT – that can search for life on Mars.

Their Mars Mission included analysing rock samples under a microscope and reporting their findings to “NASA”. They undertook this project as part of STEM, short for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

“Programming the mBOT and understanding the concept of gear ratios took some time, but I understand it well now,” student Matthew Nunn said.

“We saw green plant life and some fragments of metal and, after analysing them closely, we discovered microbial life.”

The Mars Mission is one of many projects helping students to develop skills in problem-solving, creativity, communication and digital literacy.

De La Salle Catholic College Caringbah Year 9 STEM students Gerry Reyes, Brayden Henniker, Nicolas Bambacas, Matthew Nunn, John Ganter and Damien Stassi with STEM teacher Dominic Ritchie.

De La Salle Catholic College Caringbah Year 9 STEM students Gerry Reyes, Brayden Henniker, Nicolas Bambacas, Matthew Nunn, John Ganter and Damien Stassi with STEM teacher Dominic Ritchie. Photo: Kitty Beale

What is STEM?

STEM actively involves students in the development and production of quality design projects, and is a pathway to many subjects including physics, mathematics, engineering, design and technology and science.

It gets students experimenting, questioning and evaluating information.

This is the first time De La Salle Caringbah has offered STEM, teacher and assistant principal Dominic Ritchie said.

“We aimed to design a STEM program that grabs a student’s interest and further develops the passion they have for problem solving,” Mr Ritchie said.

“We have seen the students really engaged with the STEM projects and they are enthusiastic about developing their skills.

“Thanks to the positive feedback from students and parents, interest in the class has doubled for next year.”

Author: Emily Ritchie

For more information visit De La Salle Catholic College Caringbah or to enrol your child, call (02) 9524 9133 

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