Innovative thinking, problem solving and entrepreneurship are built and fostered from the early years at St Andrew’s Anglican College, with the introduction of specific subjects and learning styles.
Starting from Year 4, students are introduced to a unique style of thinking developed specifically by St Andrew’s called Design Thinking. This introduces students to a way of thinking that extends beyond the traditional realms of teaching, and develops critical and creating thinking skills connected to notions of the future workforce, entrepreneurship and how students transition from education settings into life beyond school.
With a belief that innovation and entrepreneurship are key skills young people will need to succeed in the future, a process of ‘empathise, define, ideate, prototype, test’ is taught and implemented across all areas of the College.
From Year 5, Creative Enterprise is introduced as a subject, which aims to cultivate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship by completing projects underpinned by Design Centred Learning, that draws on the strands of entrepreneurship and the technologies. This course instills enterprise skills, such as creative thinking, critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork, while encouraging risk-taking and learning from failure.
Recently, Year 6 students have worked in small groups to design, build, program and market an innovative working robotic prototype that solves a defined problem. Using the Design Centred Learning framework, students have worked through the stages of empathise, define, ideate, prototype and will then test their ideas and get feedback from others. They then develop their own video advertisement to market their product. The best of these projects will then compete in the national RoboRave competition at the end of May, in the entrepreneurial section.
To build their prototypes, students are using EV3 Lego robots, with a variety of different sensors and motors. Every prototype is required to have an input/output process, meaning that there needs to be some type of input (eg touch sensor), that then triggers an output, (eg a motor moving to open a door). They then have an open-ended choice of materials to build their prototypes. Many students have utilised the 3D printer, while others have used material, boxes, balsa wood, hot glue, Lego, the list goes on…
The key enterprise skills the students aim to focus on in this unit are:
- Problem solving
- Critical thinking
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Digital literacy
- Presentation skills
Drawing inspiration from their passion for surfing, Year 6 students Daniel, Sam, James and Pierce have developed a hand-held device that saves surfers time and energy when waxing their board. Their prototype, using the EV3 lego robot, works on a colour sensor they have programmed and a motor that spins. After attaching wax to prongs, the colour sensor detects areas of the board that doesn’t have wax, and uses a circle motion to apply the wax.
“The hardest part was figuring out the coding for the colour sensors,” Sam said. “I’m so happy it works.”
Other projects students have developed include a backpack with a 3D printed fan that provides a cool breeze on the back on the neck for people in the desert, a beach bag that empties the sand through a trap door, a fan that works on a touch sensor that cools gaming consoles and an automated mist sanitiser for use in clothing shops to stop the spread of germs on items that has been tried on.