STEM Activities for Students in Cessnock

RDA Hunter's STEM in Cessnock project included STEM activities aimed at encouraging students in Cessnock schools to study science, technology, engineering and maths and consider STEM careers.

STEM in Cessnock Project is a component of RDA Hunter's ME Program and was co-funded by NSW Department of Industry. It provided a series of intensive STEM activities over Term 4, 2016 for a group of Year 8 or Year 10 students from the three Cessnock High Schools (Mount View, Cessnock High and St Philips Christian College). A total of 15 students (5 from each school) were involved in the project.

The project consisted of problem and project based STEM activities aimed at encouraging students to study science, technology, engineering and maths and consider STEM careers.

Students used equipment provided by the ME Program including:

• Humanoid robotic kits
• Darwin Mini Humanoid robotic kits
• Arduino vehicle kits
• A variety of mechatronic components
• Three 3D Printers

As part of the project students and teachers experienced;

• An industry visit to Hedweld Engineering at Mt Thorley
• A visit to three Engineering departments at the University of Newcastle
• A tour of two departments at Hunter TAFE
• A finalization of the small group STEM (mechatronic) activities at school

At the Hedweld Engineering Advanced Manufacturing site, all students witnessed world standard, very new, robotic and automated manufacturing equipment for metal fabrication projects.

"The equipment speed, accuracy and capability is very impressive, as is the company's culture of continuous and high focus innovation was impressive," said Dr Scott Sleap, Director of RDA Hunter's ME Program.

"Several students made connections immediately between the large automated machines operation and the smaller computer controlled mechatronics we had been learning in the small groups. Many thanks must go to Hedweld Engineering for a fantastic excursion."