Catholic Education South Australia
15 Jan 2024
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A sky-high finish for the STEM Girls Academy participants

At the end of last year, the Girls in Engineering Project came to a soaring finish as the students completed their creative challenge and shared their final solutions.

This project, facilitated by the continuing partnership of Catholic Education South Australia (CESA) and the STEM Girls Academy from the University of South Australia, provides opportunities for girls in Years 7 and 8 with an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) to further learn and explore engineering practices, principles, and pathways.

Industry partner Fleet Space Technology, provided students with the following challenge:

“How can satellites and technology be used to minimise the negative impact of bushfires in Australia?”

The girls from Kildare College, St Aloysius College, Sacred Heart College, Mary MacKillop College, St Columba College and Nazareth Catholic College were required to showcase how they applied the Design Thinking Process to develop solutions addressing the prevention of bushfires, minimising their impact, or supporting the aftermath of a bushfire.

Working collaboratively in teams, all solutions presented were plausible, bringing together students understanding in their fields of Science, Mathematics, Technology and Engineering.  Feedback was received from Fleet Space Engineers prior to presenting to a panel of experts in the space industry from Fleet Space Technology, The Andy Thomas Space Foundation and Shoal Group.

The students’ innovative solutions to the creative challenge included:

  1. Utilising geodes for measuring CO2 levels in the atmosphere to convey bushfire threats.
  2. Developing an underground fibre optic and sensor system for satellite communication regarding bushfires.
  3. Employing geodes to transmit signals to satellites, triggering warning devices, and activating sprinkler systems around threatened properties.

Students were also able to explore and participate in other challenges and ongoing projects, including assembling bottle rockets, satellite earth observations, 3D printing and the AI IVE Sandbox, adding an additional element of excitement to the overall experience.

“Empowering Year 7 and 8 girls to participate in STEM and engineering projects is not just about fostering curiosity and creativity. It’s about illuminating the path to future STEM opportunities, breaking down barriers, and building bridges to infinite possibilities” Melanie O’Leary (CESA).

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