STEM comes to Crestwood High School

NEW CLASS: Year 9 students at Crestwood High School try to find ways for the robots to navigate a course. Picture: Geoff Jones

NEW CLASS: Year 9 students at Crestwood High School try to find ways for the robots to navigate a course. Picture: Geoff Jones

A SCHOOL in The Hills has embraced new teaching methods to get children more engaged in science and maths-related subjects.

Crestwood High School is the latest school to embrace STEM, which combines science, technology, engineering and mathematics to help teach children how to identify and solve problems.

The STEM class has been offered as an elective subject to year 9 and 10 students, who have become quickly engaged in learning about robots and how to operate them.

STEM teacher Matt Smith said the students are using the Sphero SPRK+, which he said is similar to the BB-8 droid in the seventh Star Wars movie instalment, Star Wars: The Force Awakens film.

“The students are learning how to program the robots and use an app from a tablet or phone to do the programming,” Mr Smith said.

“It is very different to what the kids are used to, but they love it.

“One of the kids bought his own Sphero. It is very engaging.”

Year 9 students Andrew Phelps and Maya Bricknell are among the 44 Crestwood High School students who are among the first STEM students at the school.

Once other students see what we are doing, they will be excited about it and will be interested in the course - Maya Bricknell

Maya said it has been a fun experience learning how to operate the robots. 

“We had to watch and read some tutorials, but after that we got to use the robots, which was pretty cool,” she said.

“We are the first in the school to do it, but once other students see what we are doing, they will be excited about it and will be interested in the course.”

Andrew said it was lot of fun learning how to make the robot complete tasks, including moving, making noises, and changing colour.

The students have to figure out ways their robot can complete a set course.

They have to get the actions done correctly and on time so that the robots reach its destination.

Mr Smith said the STEM course is project-orientated. 

The students at Crestwood High School, who started their STEM course this term, will learn about  bridge building drones after completing the robotics section of the course.

Integrating science, technology, engineering and mathematics into one subject is starting to spread through schools across Sydney and Australia.

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