Vivid Sydney has quickly become a staple of the state’s event calendar, drawing hundreds of thousands of people to view light shows and art installations while sharing ideas and food.
In 2020 that kind of crowd is a no-no, with the potential for spreading COVID-19 considered much too high. So the Vivid festival was cancelled, unfortunately.
The students of Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School Mosman took that as a challenge, rather than a defeat, and decided to create Vivid in their classroom.
In science, they crafted an artistic façade of a famous Sydney landmark, then lit it up with LED lights.
Lachlan’s project was inspired by his 2019 visit to a Catholic icon. “I picked St Mary’s Cathedral,” he said. “I think it’s really cool how there’s so many parts of it that are lit up.”
Creating a circuit on a canvas wasn’t as easy as the students imagined, however.
As Elena explained, “My problem was the lights would only stay on for a few seconds, then flicker on and off. My dad helped me by making the copper wire thicker so it would conduct more electricity.”
Problem solving was a huge part of the STEM project, STEM being short for Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
“With the copper tape, you don’t just put it on – you need to double it to do copper on copper so the circuit runs,” said Lachlan. “If I could go back I’d change some joints to foil, as it’s thicker and conducts electricity better.”
But getting the circuit to conduct electricity was only one step. Students also had to learn about computer programming.
“We stuck a microbit into the Chromebook, then coded it to program the light,” said Sam.
It took some work for the budding programmer to get it right.
“Getting the lights to light up was quite difficult,” Sam conceded. “It was a trial and error process.”