ANSTO at Catherine McAuley Westmead
Some of the students who competed in the ANSTO Hackathon as part of National Science Week (5 students are on exams and are absent).

Catherine McAuley had two teams compete in the recent Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) Hackathon which took place last month as part of National Science Week. This event is open to secondary school students interested in science and technology.

The hackathon is an immersive experience where students come together to rapidly design products that customers would actually use. The event takes place virtually over three days and our school had both a senior and junior team take part.

This year teams were asked to design an item (a payload) to be used with a robotic dog called SPOT which would assist students in the school environment. The Senior Team developed a product called ‘Aid Paw’, designed to help students with a disability, and were named as finalists for their entry. The Junior Team developed a teacher/classroom assistant.

Team members Valencia R. and Sienna R. have written a report below:

Participating in the ANSTO Hackathon was a unique opportunity to develop and showcase our skills, creativity and problem-solving abilities. Over the three days we received a challenge brief and had to create a payload to be used with SPOT (a robot dog) in our current school environment. The design brief was jam-packed with activities like identifying a problem, design thinking and pitching. We were constantly on our toes, trying to manage schoolwork and the Hackathon.

As we delved deeper into the challenges, we found ourselves constantly in the learning pit, but in the end, it was all worth it. Our STEM mentors guided us in doing our best for this task. Thank you to Ms Reynolds and Ms Hartman!

On the last night of the event we vividly remember staying up past 10:30pm, fine-tuning our pitch videos. ANSTO Hackathon was not just a platform to showcase our skills, but it was also a fun way to meet and collaborate with new people in other grades and learn about new things. We got to know what payloads are, and we were introduced to exciting new tech like SPOT.

Overall, the ANSTO Hackathon was an exhilarating experience that challenged us to push our boundaries and think outside the box. The Senior Team made it into the final four schools out of all schools nationwide! Whilst the Junior team did not make it into the finals, it was a great learning experience and we are sure they can use their knowledge and skills throughout all their work. We would highly recommend this event to anyone who is interested in STEM, innovation, and entrepreneurship because it is an experience that will challenge you and leave you with a sense of accomplishment!


Written By

Valencia R. and Sienna R. | STEM Club students

Valencia R. and Sienna R. | STEM Club students
Catherine McAuley Westmead

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