Tag Archives: STEM

Year 9 STEM students are pleased to introduce Jeremy

Year 9 STEM finished the year with a team robot-building project that involved designing, building and coding a robot using the skills we had learned throughout the year. We assembled the robots using Arduino boards and other electronic components, a laser-cut plywood body we designed using Adobe Illustrator software, and used the Arduino programming language to instruct the robot how to function. We had Arduino programming experience from controlling LEDs and electronic sensors, and laser cutting experience from earlier in the year when we design and built plywood marble runs, however we had not done something like this before and as such it presented a challenge. Through careful planning, trial and error, and a lot of glue, the three teams were able to create functional, moving robots, which drove using on-board motors, and were able to detect and avoid objects using an ultrasonic sensor.

“Time was a constraining element. We ended up using Aila’s code as she had made code that actually worked.” Maria P (9O)

“The coding part of the project was the best part, as we got to code whatever we wanted to make the robot move around.” Navpreet S (9B)

“Through this project Abigail and I learned basic coding skills but also how to problem solve. We learned that you typically have to check things in many different spots in your code to fix a small problem, and sometimes you end up changing things you didn’t even know were a problem.” Coco C (9H)

“It worked in the end, which is all I really wanted, to be honest [laughter].” Aila B (9O)

By Liam M (9O)

Junior Students Inspired to Pursue MC Robotics Club Opportunities

Over 70 students Years 4-6 have flocked to an opportunity to join the MC Robotics Teams in 2019.  On Thursday at lunchtime, Mr Chris Swafford hosted an information session for students to check out the VEX IQ robots, learn about the MC Robotics program, hear about the various team member roles, and use the robots to navigate the course and its obstacles.

It was a fantastic turnout to the first information session, about the program which will run throughout Terms 3-4.  VEX Robotics competitions fall within the STEM and Digital Technologies curriculum, and delivers hands-on, project based learning through which the engineering process is taught – and experienced – in a uniquely engaging way!

The program will feature intraschool competitions between MC teams, which will test the students’ skills before progressing to competitions against other schools later in the year. 

We acknowledge the support of the Macquarie College PTA for their contribution to the investment in the robot devices.



STEM Academy Workshop Inspires Staff

The University of Sydney hosted an intensive three-day workshop in Newcastle recently, for members of it’s STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy program.  Macquarie College delegates Mrs Michelle Cottier (Head of Mathematics),  Mrs Deb McCord (Head of Science) and teacher Mrs Stephanie Chaumont participated in the highly interactive program. 

Participants were tasked with the STEM project of making our own solar cookers. After splitting the group into Math teachers and Science Teachers, the Math teachers were given a formula to follow were the Science staff were given a task to cook a piece of frozen pizza using a pizza box and other materials. Using our understanding of reflection and absorption we were able to successfully cook our pizza, crispy bottom and all.

The math teachers worked with an equation to create a parabolic mirror, that had a focus point for the sun’s rays to concentrate on. The math teachers were able to cook a bunch of different things.  Mrs Cottier chose to heat a pencil, which she successfully heated to the point of generating smoke.

The STEM Academy is a 12 month program for teachers of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, to help advance the level of STEM learning opportunities throughout Macquarie College.  Watch this space for some more news in coming weeks about STEM developments and student projects.