The importance of stem for girls
Design, innovate, create.
St Catherine's recognises the importance of a strong grounding in science, technology, engineering and mathematics for girls. With only 16 per cent of girls graduating from our universities with a STEM-based degree, it is clear we need to address the imbalance. Under the STEM specialist in the junior school and the director of STEM in the senior school, staff work across the school to ensure our students have every opportunity to extend themselves with diverse programs and experiences. We want our girls to design, innovate and create!
Girls visit the Makerspace to tinker with building materials and electronics, including coding sphero balls and mini drones. We use bee-bots in mathematics, design websites, and have a robotics program in full swing across Years 3 and 4. Coding is embedded across Years 4 to 6 in an exciting subject called Create and Innovate.
Just lately, Year 3 have been using Lego WeDo 2.0 Robotics, Year 4 have been building 'Nim's Island' using Minecraft, Year 5 are working on a Mars Mission and Year 6 are looking at solar energy. All our junior school girls have been embarking on immersive excursions around the globe with the use of virtual reality headsets.
Tech Girls and STEM club
Tech Girls is a lunchtime activity group for Years 2-6. They come along to the Makerspace for tinkering time. STEM club is held after school for Years 3 to 6. These girls really love pushing themselves with engineering, robotics and coding challenges.
FIRST Lego League
St Catherine's has a combined Years 5 to 7 FIRST Lego League program that is run by the organisation behind the flagship FIRST Robotics Competition. The program is a fun and engaging way to learn STEM skills and develops the capacity of the girls should they wish to participate in future competitions.
Technology is a compulsory subject in Years 7 and 8. From Year 9, girls can choose to study information and software technology, design and technology or food technology. St Catherine's is one of the few girls' schools in Sydney to offer HSC engineering studies.
Once a term girls from Years 7-10 have a STEM afternoon where they are set challenges to boost their design thinking. These are fun afternoons of creative collaboration. And every two weeks our STEM prefect joins with the St Catherine's ICT integrator in an open club called Reboot Rebels. Girls can come along and ramp up their digital skills and go a bit deeper into programs they're using daily or would like to use more.
The St Cathodes is our robotics club in the senior school. These dynamic thinkers have competed for the last two years in the prestigious FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), one of the major robotics competitions for high school students in the world.
In Years 10 and 11 girls can launch into the Young Entrepreneurs STEM program. Its focus is to change the mindset of young learners and help them think critically and creatively through a STEM lens. It empowers young people to take action and to see themselves as active participants in solving global issues as well as improving economic growth in our country.
Our Year 9 design and technology girls attend a program called Creatable with FINCH. Founded in 2011, FINCH is a company of film-makers, artists and engineers working at the crossroads of storytelling, technology and entertainment. St Catherine's has partnered with FINCH so the girls can be immersed in hands-on tech projects to fire-up their own ideas. They are encouraged to tinker, innovate, design then create.