This week Churchlands Primary School hosted our 3rd annual SCIENCE / STEAM Week celebration, following national Science week last week. Again we had the opportunity to showcase some brilliant investigative learning. Our aim; “to inspire our students to aspire to launch into STEAM related careers, as well as build on their personal problem solving and creative and critical thinking skills” was reached without a doubt. The program this year included parent STEAM experts, daily lunchtime challenges, our very first Lego and Robotics competitions, a visit from a renowned and famous NASA scientist….and we were even lucky enough to experience an extra-terrestrial visitor!
To the amazement of all who witnessed, on Monday students, parents and teachers arrived at school to find what seemed to be an interplanetary alien, crashed on school premises! The local police presence was on hand to take detailed accounts from witnesses, while the media were there to report the action too. This event ‘from above’ provoked some brilliant questioning throughout the week as the CPS students strived to find answers to many of the mysteries presented by the crash. After the initial event, a secret publication was leaked, outlining some details about our new visitor. Zorg a resident of the planet Mars, had actually crash-landed and needed our help to get back home. This challenge presented our students with a common problem, and throughout the week, each classroom played their part in a collaborative effort to find a solution to get Zorg back to his home planet. The problem solving and teamwork applied by all students was a credit to our school, and we celebrated this journey with a feature film on Friday afternoon. Zorg, we got the job done! Hopefully, you are safely on your way home!
This year, Churchlands Primary school was also very privileged and proud to announce a very special guest speaker, Professor Brian O’Brien (www.brianjobrien.com). Now an Adjunct Professor of Physics at the University of Western Australia, Professor O’Brien is also a leading Environmental consultant who once played a critical role in the delivery of many NASA experiments. Most famously, Professor O’Brien invented a dust-detecting device which was sent to the moon on the very first Apollo mission. Professor O’Brien came and spoke to our students, parents and grandparents about his journey and the challenges of sending humans to the moon.
Professor O’Brien’s presentation – “Spaceship Earth and Environmental awareness, Apollo explorations and astronauts”, was a hit with all who attended and our students we captivated by his story – and realistic models of his inventions.
Thank you, Professor O’Brien, for a once in a lifetime opportunity for us at CPS.
On top of having Professor O’Brien, I would like to thank the many parents and community members who were generous enough to give up their valuable time to come and inspire our students about the STEAM based industries. Each year we are very privileged to have such high calibre presentations that deliver very relevant messages for our times, and once again, this year’s class of presenters did not disappoint. It is great to see each year the different industries and professions that are represented, and over the course of the STEAM week program, this has opened the eyes of our students to different ideas and options for when they move into their professional lives. Thank you!
Another pillar of our STEAM celebration week includes students having the opportunity to dress up as a STEAM industry professional. Today, all students showed amazing creativity when doing so. There was a wonderful range of professionals and famous individuals on show with selected ‘special efforts’ paraded at our Science / STEAM week assembly.
Another first for 2019, this year we held the inaugural CPS RoboShowdown – a team-based robotics challenge for students from Years 1 to 6. With 3 age brackets, students chose teams and trained twice a week leading up to the competition during Science / STEAM week. Junior teams focused on measuring and programming Probot robots, using length and angle measurements to get their vehicle around a marked course. The middle year teams had a similar challenge, however, they were programming Dash robots which allowed each team to program some sensory input, and ‘upping’ the challenge. Finally, the senior teams were faced with the largest problem as they had to code their robots to ‘think’ and move independently by reading input such as the colour of the ground and detecting objects in front of them. It was a very steep learning curve for all involved, however, it was great to see so much determination and resilience on the path of learning how to master the ‘bots’. On the day of the competition, students put their practice to good work, demonstrating some brilliant computational thinking. I commend all teams for their efforts in the competition and are extremely proud of what they have achieved in such a short time. Congratulations to the winners of the first competition, and to the runners-ups, I am really looking forward to seeing you back next year to challenge for the Showdown.
Years 3 and 4 – Taksheel, Sawyer, Tiya, Megan
Years 5 and 6 – Chloe, Isabelle, Micaela
Finally, I would really like to thank the CPS staff for their individual contributions in making our Science / STEAM week so successful once again. Without your fantastic attitude and commitment to providing our students with the best learning experiences possible, we could not have achieved what we did. A final special, and ‘out of this world’ thank you to the Science/STEAM/DT committee members, led by Miss Barnett, Miss Coghill, Mrs Jenkin, Mrs Van den Berg, Mrs Morgan, Mrs Rigoli and Mrs Cockerill, thank you for your wonderful teamwork and inspiration to push this year’s offerings to another level. Great work teams!