Stu­dents step into fu­ture at en­gag­ing expo

North West Telegraph - - Telegraph News - Tay­lar Amonini

More than 50 pri­mary stu­dents from across the Pil­bara con­verged on Hed­land Senior High School last week for the BHP PEP Aca­demic En­rich­ment Pro­gram STEM Expo.

In the two-day expo, stu­dents from some of the most re­mote pri­mary schools took part in a se­ries of en­gag­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in science, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and maths.

Year 4, 5 and 6 stu­dents from around Hed­land, Mar­ble Bar, Yande­yarra, New­man, Ji­ga­long and Port Hed­land School of Air took part in the expo, with some stu­dents trav­el­ling more than 10 hours.

Pil­bara Ed­u­ca­tion Re­gional Of­fice ex­ec­u­tive director Neil Darby said the event was a great op­por­tu­nity for pri­mary school stu­dents to learn skills such as cod­ing and cre­ative prob­lem solv­ing, two ar­eas gain­ing trac­tion in pri­mary schools.

“We know that the Pil­bara jobs of the fu­ture are go­ing to be STEM in­dus­tries,” he said. “It’s im­por­tant that we start de­vel­op­ing skills and in­ter­est in th­ese ar­eas from an early age.”

For most of the stu­dents at­tend­ing, the expo was their first time vis­it­ing a large high school.

The bal­loon-pow­ered boat chal­lenged proved to be the most pop­u­lar ac­tiv­ity, as stu­dents tested their boats in the school pool. Robotics also proved pop­u­lar as stu­dents worked to­gether to pro­gram ro­bots to fol­low a coded marker path­way.

Hed­land Senior High School prin­ci­pal Kelly Sum­mers said a key part of the expo’s suc­cess was that the ex­per­i­ments did not feel like learn­ing.

“Our teach­ers are fan­tas­tic at com­ing up with cre­ative and hands-on ways to teach STEM con­cepts,” she said. “We ap­proach teach­ing, and es­pe­cially teach­ing STEM, with an em­pha­sis on tap­ping into stu­dents’ nat­u­ral cu­rios­ity about how things work.”

BHP Pil­bara com­mu­ni­ties man­ager Chris Cot­tier said the com­pany wanted to con­tinue to help stu­dents de­velop skills and knowl­edge to set them up for mean­ing­ful ca­reers.

South Hed­land Pri­mary School’s Bran­don Wil­liams, 11, and Tyrell Gray, 11.

Baler Pri­mary School's Jenny Zhang, 10.

South Hed­land Pri­mary School Rainne Ong, 10, and New­man Pri­mary School's Sh­nae Cross, 11.

New­man Pri­mary School's Mia Cross, 10.

Tyrell Gray, 11.

Nul­lagine Re­mote Com­mu­nity School's We­ston Stream.

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