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St Charles’ Catholic Primary School: “Mars here we come!”

The Medtronic Bennelong STEM Challenge returned with an out-of-this-world SPACE in Schools competition for 2018. This year the Member for Bennelong Mr John Alexander OAM MP challenged local students to think big by ‘designing a medical centre for the surface of Mars’.

Mr Alexander said: “Wow! That is all I can say about the brilliant designs, high quality presentations, and interplanetary – even interstellar, actually inter-galactic – levels of enthusiasm that was put on display by our local Bennelong students.

“Congratulations to all the participating schools and students. I hope you got a lot out of the experience, and that it will put you in good stead for the future. Well done to the category winners and to St Charles’ Catholic Primary School who nabbed the overall winner award for their MACER entry.”

Mr Alexander started the competition last year to promote the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Partnering with innovative biomedical device creators Medtronic and then this year also with the Re-Engineering Australia Foundation, the competition has evolved into one of the premier STEM competitions available in Sydney.

Medtronic donated the exhibition space at their headquarters in Macquarie Park, lunch for everyone, and the prizes. They also made their research, development, biomedical devices and staff available to the students to investigate and ask questions throughout the day, hopefully inspiring them to seek careers in the STEM fields of the future.

Medtronic Australasia Managing Director Tim Fortin said: “We are proud to support the Medtronic Bennelong STEM Challenge because we believe in the importance of bringing STEM to life.

“Innovation and collaboration are central to who we are at Medtronic, so we see this initiative as an opportunity to support our future generations of researchers, healthcare professionals and providers, and to encourage them to take bold moves in applying their learnings through STEM,” Mr Fortin said.

Re-Engineering Australia Foundation (REA) Founder and Chief Executive Dr Mike Myers OAM added: “It’s important to engage kids in STEM subjects in a way that they can relate to, and in a way that is relevant to problem solving in the real world.”

REA currently run the successful F1 in Schools STEM Challenge, and the Subs In Schools Technology Challenge amongst other STEM challenges for schools, their involvement was critical to the success of this competition.

The Medtronic Bennelong SPACE in Schools STEM Challenge comprised three categories: Portfolio, Virtual Design and Verbal Presentation. High school and primary school were also separated. Then there was an overall winner declared.

REA also provided the expertise that allowed the designs to be uploaded to a 3D virtual reality simulator, so judges and students could literally walk around inside their designs.

Participating schools included: St Charles Catholic Primary, Putney Public, Ermington West Public, Carlingford Public, Epping Boys High School, and Marist College Eastwood.

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