Catholic Education South Australia
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15 Aug 2022
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Catholic students excel in SA Water’s new education program

Two Catholic schools have participated in an educational program in partnership with SA Water and Makers Empire.

Students in Years 5 and 6 from St Patrick’s School, Mansfield Park and St Thomas School, Goodwood were a part of the Water Warriors project throughout Terms 2 and 3 which asked them to solve a water problem in the school or local community.

The students joined more than 400 young people from 12 metro and regional SA schools who collaborated on design thinking projects in response to a range of water-related challenges posed by SA Water.

The project is designed to help students learn more about water as a precious and renewable resource, while exploring the cultural knowledge of Aboriginal people, water management, and ways to build cooler, healthier communities.

Students uncovered a water problem, pitched solutions, designed prototypes, and constructed 3D models using Makers Empire software.

The students then come together to celebrate and share their learning at an expo day held at Lot Fourteen, Adelaide. There, they had to clearly explain their ideas and showcase the design thinking process which was done throughout the program.

Students had the opportunity to interact with other schools, see their displays and designs and cast a vote for the best school presentation and display.

The hard work and dedication of the students paid off, with St Patrick’s voted Water Warriors Showcase winners!

Year 6 St Patrick’s student Navraj said winning was a great achievement.

"I was happy about winning as we put a lot of time into our projects. I am proud of our class as this was all for them and their dedication to the project.  It was a great honour to represent our school".

"We all put in a lot of effort in achieving this prize. I learned about Makers Empire and different ways to use the program. It was amazing it be a part of the project and I am proud of our school for winning," added classmate An.

SA Water’s General Manager of Strategy, Engagement and Innovation Nicola Murphy said nurturing the minds of South Australia’s young people is integral to building a more sustainable future.

“The actions we take today will play a vital role in delivering benefits for generations to come,” Nicola said.

“This partnership provides an opportunity to collaborate with young innovators on South Australia’s water future in a fun and authentic way, while promoting science-based career pathways and STEM subjects.”

Founded in 2013 in South Australia, Makers Empire creates fun and easy to use 3D design software to help schools and teachers develop children’s creativity, design thinking skills and interest in STEM.

Makers Empire Co-Founder and Co-CEO Anthony Chhoy said the partnership is a wonderful example of teaming up with industry experts to deliver stimulating education programs for South Australian schools.

“We’re delighted to partner with SA Water on this exciting new education program to teach students real-life problem-solving and sustainable water management,” Anthony said.

Ahead of the project, teachers from participating schools came together a professional development day held at SA Water where they were introduced to Makers Empire’s 3D design software and the specially developed Water Warriors challenge course which their students worked through.

St Patrick’s Year 5/6 Classroom teachers Linda Bain and Stephanie Jarema said their students took many things away from being involved in the project.

“The one thing that really stood out to us as educators was their ability to take risks when solving real world problems. Throughout the project they designed, modified, adapted, and evaluated not only their model but the overall thinking behind it.”

“Our students were constantly engaged throughout all stages of the project and really enjoyed the opportunity to plan their model as a "blueprint" on good old fashion brown paper.”

“The students enjoyed working in teams to creatively solve their problem. They were very proud of their designs, especially after they were 3D printed as a prototype model.”

“As teachers, although we knew their work was fantastic, it was still a surprise to us when the school was announced as winners at the expo!” 

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