SPARK Program Wins National Award

May 16, 2022

Trinity College has once again been recognised nationally with an Excellence Award in the Australian Education Awards 2022 Best STEM Program category for the ‘SPARK’ initiative.

The ‘SPARK’ initiative is a future orientated STEM and digital technology program. It involves seven specialist STEM educators facilitating a session and implementing pedagogical strategies to promote student agency and problem-solving, and to showcase how digital technologies can enrich learning.

One component of ‘SPARK’ is a 5-day immersive experience where Year 7 and Year 8 students engage in interdisciplinary and technological themed learning experiences that develop inquiry skills, computational thinking and creativity.

The SPARK immersive experience includes:

  • Doctor Drones: Using the Engineering Design process, students collaboratively build a drone attachment to successfully fly medical supplies to the remote areas of Nepal. Designs, routes and written programmes were evaluated for efficiency to encourage refinement.
  • Robotic Engineering: Students become robotics engineers needing to solve the technological challenges associated with autonomous cars. The robotic vehicles were coded to move at various angles and use advanced sensors to measure distances and aspects of tilting.
  • Technology in Sport: To understand the role of data in society, students wore GPS trackers to monitor physical performance. Students applied scientific inquiry skills to inform goal-setting and team tactics.
  • Mathematics of 3D printing: By applying mathematical concepts such as measurement and geometry, students were challenged to remodel the generic “spinning top”. 3D models were programmed using TinkerCAD, and once 3D printed, were tested and evaluated.
  • Do Your Bit: Using the Design Thinking Process, students prototyped a device that would promote positive mental health. To establish empathy, students brainstormed the local and global social challenges faced by children, adults and the elderly. Once a target audience was selected, students created sketches and programmed the BBC Micro:Bit to sense environmental stimuli and incorporate user inputs.
Year 10 student Wayne uses Google Tilt Brush to paint sculptures in a three dimensional space.