SMART starts 2018 with Little Bang Discovery Club

The SMART program started 2018 off with a series of exciting school holiday science sessions. At Rutherford, Salamander Bay and Raymond Terrace libraries, junior scientists got hands on at Little Bang Discovery Club sessions. Children honed their skills in measuring, categorising and hypothesising to explore scientific principles like fluid dynamics and the physics of sound, vibration and magnets!

In the January holidays, our SMARTcode Introductory workshops re-launched in partnership with Broader Learning. Sixty young SMART coders (aged 8-12) had the opportunity to get some hands-on coding experience in two 2-day sessions. Students programmed MicroBit boards to battle in ‘Scissors Paper Rock’, coded EV3 robots to complete mazes with sensors, and were introduced to Blockly and Java script. Students also explored Virtual Reality (VR) with the University of Newcastle’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computing in the new iDome. Many thanks to Dr Karen Blackmore for supporting SMART coders to learn about the science and safety of VR. SMARTcode intermediate workshops will launch in April, so keep an eye out as registrations will open soon!

Commencement of the university year saw SMART involved in welcoming over 1000 incoming students to the Faculty of Science and Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment during Orientation Week. On their first day on campus, students were ‘challenged’ to collaborate in a Science and Engineering Challenge table activity with a twist. Check out #uoninspire on Instagram or Twitter to see the students at work.

In term 1, SMART continued to introduce primary school students to robotics and coding through our SMARTbots science show, EV3 robotics workshops and Professional Development sessions for teachers in the Hunter Valley, with visits to Forster, Tuncurry, Vacy, Clarence Town and Dungog. Sharni, a UON engineering student and SMART presenter, had to cut short a Robotics PD session when a major rain event closed Dungog High last week! SMART will be hosting a make-up session for these teachers and students at the UON Callaghan Campus in the May.

If you are interested in hosting a SMART activity for a preschool, primary school or community event please contact our team on (02) 4921 7187 or check out our website.

Finally, an update to our staff team! Kelly has come on board as SMART’s new Administrative Assistant, replacing Nathan who has now graduated and is chasing his dreams in science communication and research! Kelly has a Chemical Engineering and Pathology background. She is also a SMART presenter with a focus on encouraging STEM in pre-school and primary-aged children through such events as the Little Bang Discovery Club sessions. Welcome to the role Kelly!