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STEM MAD is a national celebration of student learning designed to acknowledge and promote STEM learning initiatives that address real-world problems, encouraging students to ‘Make a Difference (MAD)’ in the world by acting for justice and the common good. In April, we launched the program with 27 excited Year 7 and 8 students. After a bridge challenge, they began designing projects to submit for the competition. Not only did they design and build protypes, they also produced videos for their submissions. The submissions included:

  1. An assistive device for the elderly at cross walks – Crossing Assist Victoria (C.A. Vic)
  2. An assistive device for people who suffer from epilepsy
  3. A clip it kit for glasses
  4. A relaxation app for alleviating anxiety
  5. A multi-sensory chair to assist young children with ADHD – Active8Attention Chair (a8a Chair)
  6. An app to assist with speaking using Non-Verbal Technology – Silent (Speaking in Letters and Emoticons via Non-Verbal Technology)

After this first round of submissions, we were so pleased that three of our teams made it through to the next round, the State Finals! Silent (Pratima T, Sofia G, Charlee M and Charlotte B), a8a (Aathira B, Maddie R, Amelie B and Matilda E) and C.A. Vic (Charlotte B, Grace B and Vivian L).

Our students worked hard on their projects and videos and relished the opportunity to showcase their work for the judges. We were delighted to receive three awards on the day!

  1. The MACS – Executive Director Award for Demonstrating the Catholic Ethos won by the CAVic team
  2. The VicHealth Young Health Innovator Award Secondary won by the CAVic team
  3. The Wellbeing Award Secondary won by the Active 8 Attention Chair team

After the State Finals, both the CAVic team (Year 7 students) and the Active 8 Attention Chair team (Year 8 students) were then invited to the National STEM MAD showcase to present their projects. Our student feedback included: “The best part has been spending time with people who share the same passions for STEM”. Congratulations to all 27 students for helping ‘make a difference’ and their mentors, Adrienne Donoghue and Sue Grima. We are so proud of our innovators of the future!