Year 7 students at Lucas Heights Community School have spent the first few weeks of high school not in conventional classes, but attempting to solve the world's problems as part of a project-based learning project.
Last week saw the culmination of their hard work when they presented their projects to a Shark Tank-style panel, which included the school principal and deputy principals, before their parents were invited to view their work.
Relieving principal Julie Perkins said the project-based learning project was part of a transition to year 7 program run by the school.
"Since arriving at school on day one of year 7, the students have not attended any regular classes, rather they have been taught as one large group of 120 students in our learning commons area," Ms Perkins said.
"The students have been working on a project-based learning task in small groups, solving real-world problems.
"The task has been focused on the 2020 World Expo in Dubai and the pillars of sustainability, mobility and opportunity.
"As a result, the students have invented some amazing products addressing issues related to the above-mentioned pillars."
The school's head teacher - teaching & learning Emma Wheatley said students were split into groups based on the teachers' observations of their skills and personality-type during the previous week's activities.
They were then asked to identify a problem before coming up with a short-term and long-term solution, which they had to research and present with the aid of a storyboard and PowerPoint.
Ms Wheatley said each group aimed to find solutions to problems including bushfires, air and sea pollution, homelessness and obesity.
Among the projects presented on Friday was 'Waste to Waves', which involved turning recycled plastic into surfboards.
Another idea involved 4WD robots planting trees in areas affected by bushfires and deforestation, while another group created a prototype of a helmet that looked and felt like a cap to solve the problem of children not wanting to wear helmets.
The project culminated with last Friday's 'Shark Tank' experience, where the groups presented their ideas, innovations and inventions to the panel of experts, followed by a barbecue lunch for students and parents, who were invited to a showcase of their work.
"This transition model has developed the 21st-century learning skills of our students and has also helped them to develop the social and emotional skills necessary to embark on their high school journey," she said.
"This has been an amazing transition into high school for these students and we are beyond proud of the thought-provoking innovations they pitched to us in the Lucas Heights Shark Tank."