Stu­dents mas­ter­ing skills for the fu­ture

EM­PHA­SIS ON STEM SUB­JECTS, IN­CLUD­ING RO­BOT­ICS

Comment News (Gosnells) - - News - Ben Smith

SOUTH­ERN River Col­lege’s em­pha­sis on sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and maths (STEM) is start­ing to pay div­i­dends.

The school has es­tab­lished two spe­cialised ro­bot­ics pro­grams de­signed to ex­pand stu­dents’ ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

In ad­di­tion to a ro­bot­ics club es­tab­lished in 2012, the school sent a team of 13 to com­pete in the Aus­tralian ver­sion of the FIRST Ro­bot­ics Competition in March.

The group, com­pris­ing year 10 and 11 stu­dents, fin­ished fifth over­all, the high­est placed team from WA.

Deputy prin­ci­pal Mike Erith said the school was in­creas­ingly em­pha­sis­ing the im­por­tance of de­vel­op­ing STEM skills for the fu­ture.

“It’s been a pri­or­ity fo­cus in the school... with chang­ing needs for the 21st cen­tury and chang­ing sit­u­a­tions in the work­place and the dif­fer­ent needs for busi­ness and in­dus­try for dif­fer­ent skills go­ing for­ward,” he said.

Mr Erith said he was de­lighted with the suc­cess of the ro­bot­ics team in Syd­ney, es­pe­cially given the short time­frame they had to work with.

“On De­cem­ber 1 we made the de­ci­sion to go, and from then we put in a very tight time sched­ule, be­cause the ac­tual competition is held in March and the (competition game theme) is re­leased on Jan­uary 2,” he said.

“We got a team of 10 who, from Jan­uary 2 through the school hol­i­days, came in and did a se­ries of work­shops to de­sign and start build­ing.

“We had a six-week build to get the ro­bot to­gether and then the stu­dents flew out in midMarch. The ac­tual competition was March 16, so you can see it was a very tight time sched­ule.”

Teacher Sarah Wick­ham said she was thrilled to see how well the stu­dents worked to­gether on the pro­ject and ap­plied their skills in a high­pres­sure sit­u­a­tion.

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d470461

Teach­ers David Hosken and Sarah Wick­ham with ro­bot­ics stu­dents.

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