RDA Hunter & Obelisk Systems Partner Newcastle City Council to Engage Newcastle Primary School Students In STEM

RDA Hunter today announced a joint partnership to expand STEM activities, including robotics and coding programs, to primary school students in the Newcastle local government area

RDA Regional Development Australia (RDA) Hunter today announced a joint partnership to expand STEM activities, including robotics and coding programs, to primary school students in the Newcastle local government area. 

The program, known as RDA Hunter’s miniME, is a collaborative project of Newcastle City Council, Obelisk Systems and RDA Hunter. It will be rolled out to 35 primary schools in Newcastle in 2018 and 2019.

“RDA Hunter is delighted to be a partner with Council on this project. In collaboration with the innovative team at Obelisk Systems, hundreds of primary school students in Newcastle will benefit from cutting-edge STEM and coding experiences through our miniME program. Our future workforce is about to take a leap forward,” said Trevor John, Director of Regional Development, RDA Hunter.

As part of miniME, each school will receive two complete StarLAB Sensor* + Mars Rover Bundles*, tailored curriculum plus support for teachers to present the cutting-edge STEM and coding platform. 

CEO of Obelisk Systems, Lewis Quill, said the company is excited to bring the StarLAB STEM platform to the primary school students of Newcastle.

 “Thanks to our continued collaboration with RDA Hunter we have been able to create a truly special educational experience and look forward to further developing the miniME program with them," said Mr Quill. "Opportunities like this really do make the Hunter Valley an exciting place to work and learn."

The miniME program is supported by Newcastle City Council (NCC) as part of its Smart Move Newcastle project which received grant funding from the Australian Government through its Smart Cities and Suburbs program. In addition to the $5 million Federal contribution, NCC together with partners will contribute $10 million towards 21 pilot projects that will be completed across the city over the next year. 

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the miniME school engagement component of the broader Smart Move Newcastle project further confirms Newcastle as a smart city leader, following the release of Council’s Smart City Strategy in 2017. 

“A smart city is one that builds on existing business and industry strengths, nurtures the local capacity for innovation and has people at its heart," said the Lord Mayor. "This collaborative project speaks to all three of those key qualities and will extend STEM learning pathways and the pipeline of innovation activity right through into primary education. 

“By investing in this program we are helping to create an early entry point into STEM for every primary school aged child in Newcastle to start developing the skills they will need for the jobs of the future.”

Participating schools in 2018/19 include: Newcastle East Public School, Newcastle Grammar School – Park Campus, New Lambton Public School, St Joseph’s Primary School Merewether, Hamilton North Public School, Islington Public School, Waratah Public School, St Philips Christian College – Junior School, Waratah West Public School, Mayfield East Public School, Hunter Christian School, Mayfield West Public School, Tighes Hill Public School, Wallsend Public School, Plattsburg Public School, Heaton Public School, Glendore Public School, Minmi Public School. Additional schools will be added during 2019/2020.

* The StarLab Coding platform is a complete solution for teaching coding and STEM subjects in the classroom. Out of the box, the StarLAB can be used as a wireless datalogger using out senses apps and can be programmed by students using Scratch and Python. The platform also allows multiple students to connect at once, making it ideal for school environments
* The Mars Rover expansion adds robotics to the StarLAB coding platform. It allows students to build their own Rover, drive it, collect data and get their experiments moving.

For more information contact 
RDA Hunter STEM Workforce Manager, Rick Evans on 0434 489 609.
Newcastle City Council Media Officer Ben Johnson on 4974 2606 or 0412 822 154