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Subs in Schools has been an exciting and innovative program for Saints students and teachers to be part of. The result of the collaboration between Re-engineering Australia, the Department of Defence and industry stakeholders including the Australian Submarine Corporation and Saab Australia, the fundamentals of Subs in Schools is to equip young people to take part in the new set of industries being developed as part of the Australian Government’s Future Submarine Program.

Subs in Schools is a STEM based program that combines elements of many subjects and provides a practical hands-on approach to allow students to find their strengths, develop new skills and also provides the opportunity for students to challenge themselves in an area new to them. It also allows students to explore the complex challenges of maritime engineering and hydrodynamics using coding and electronics.

In Term 2, forty-four Year 9 and thirty-four Year 10 students, involved in the School’s Enrichment Program, signed up to Subs in Schools. These students were tasked to build and design a large scale Remote Operated Underwater Vehicle (ROV), which could support ancillary items such as a camera, robot arms and able to undertake specific tasks. This required them to source sets of components to allow them to build an operating ROV. Through this process, they greatly extended their understanding of the maths and science of underwater environments to also include robotic operation in underseas environments.

Two of our Year 9 teams represented St Peter’s College at the State Competition at the Adelaide Showgrounds from 4-7 September where they were awarded the judges Encouragement Award and represented Saints with pride and honour.

Each team was required to submit three main deliverables including:

  1. Project Portfolios, covering both Enterprise and Engineering
  2. Scale Model, design and manufacture of a working scale model of a ROV, which can dive, manoeuvre and carry out a number of tasks within 10 minutes
  3. Verbal Presentation, covering their team objectives, a description of their product, individual team contribution and collaboration, learning outcomes and overall clarity in 8 minutes

During the process, I watched as the students developed new skills, engaged effectively with each other, developed their teamwork skills and much, much more. The students learnt how to effectively and efficiently complete a task when there were no set instructions and problem solve under pressure. I am extremely proud of all the boys’ efforts.

I would like to thank our industry partner, Saab Technologies, and in particular the two mentors John Makestas and Lockie Richter for assisting and supporting our boys.

As the teacher of the program, I have been privileged to be part of this program and challenge. Its potential for development, now and for the future is huge. It not only brings career relevance to STEM learning activities but promotes innovation and development of entrepreneurship of our students.

Ms Carmen Bester and Mr Nick Lamont