Two schools are among the 24 finalists in the Game Changer Challenge, a design thinking competition run by the Department of Education.
The competition was inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 9 to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation.
This year students have been asked to invent or innovate something that will change the world and leave a lasting impact.
The Sutherland North Public School team, 'FIRE FIVE', is working on bush fire prevention systems. The project works like this - a fire starts, a fire station is alerted and a heat sensor drone is activated. Live pictures are sent through and activates a system of tanks/sprinklers to flood the road using stored storm and bore water. Solar power is used as the energy source.
Principal Fiona Young said the boys were the experts on the prototypes and the girls were the experts on pitching the ideas.
"Now they each have skills in both those areas and have worked at becoming an expert in their chosen elements of the project," she said. "Students chose to concentrate on bush fires because of our proximity to the national park, how fires have already impacted their lives and communities, devastation on loss of human life, native vegetation and fauna. The project required having the UN goal of sustainability included and they thought they could do this by creating a sustainable fire stalling system. The solution was to give extra time to residents to evacuate and to hold back a fire while waiting for the firefighters to arrive."
"The challenge has provided a wonderful platform for our students to really explore their skills in design thinking and become problem solvers and walk in the shoes of those experiencing a problem."
The team from Oyster Bay Public School, called the 'crazy collaborators', are working on a fence concept that alerts owners if their pet has escaped, to reduce the number of native animals attacked by domestic animals.
Principal Wanita Bowles said the challenge was an example of a program that acknowledged the skills of students to be - creative, problem solvers, resilient and collaborative to improve the world around them.
A record number of submissions were received this year, with almost 400 school teams entering the competition. Of these, 120 teams participated across eight virtual semi finals.
On 9 November teams will present their solutions and prototypes at the Game Changer Challenge Ideas Expo, where judges and industry partners will wander around the expo area, interacting with students, learning about their ideas and sharing feedback. A virtual expo will be published on the Game Changer Challenge website, allowing visitors to virtually walk through the expo and view team ideas and prototypes.
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