In October 2021, Catholic Education Tasmania hosted its inaugural STEM MAD events for students across the state's Catholic schools.
STEM MAD is designed to acknowledge and promote STEM learning initiatives that address real-world problems and demonstrate how students in Catholic schools in Tasmania can take action that matters. Students are invited to design a product, service or innovation to Make A Difference (MAD) to others or the environment.
Sadly due to unforeseen circumstances, the in-person event had to be cancelled, but staff and schools were well equipped to pivot to making remote submissions. Judges were impressed with students' creative approaches to tackling real-world problems with high levels of interest and passion.
A number of students also went on to receive success in the National STEM MAD showcase held online on the 16th of November.
The National Primary STEM MAD award was won by Noah Capaci, a Year 6 student at St John’s Catholic School, Richmond.
Noah’s ‘Capaci Carbon Scrubber’ project won the Southern Tasmanian STEM MAD competition and was then selected from over 30 finalists from across Australia.
Noah was required to produce a 3 minute video explaining the context and design process that led to the ‘Capachi Carbon Scrubber ’. The video also showcased a prototype CCS, designed in collaboration with science staff from Guilford Young College, which demonstrated proof of concept for his invention.
STEM MAD Contribution to Wildlife Conservation award was won by Oscar Brewer and Tadhg Morgan, Year 9 students at St Virgil’s College, Austins Ferry.
A 3-minute video produced by the students titled ‘Making a Difference at Gould’s Lagoon’ addressed the St Virgil’s College school motto ‘By deed and not words’ by finding a way to prevent environmental damage and loss of bird life loss at Gould's Lagoon, Austins Ferry.
STEM MAD is an exciting and engaging state and national competition that allows students to extend and apply learning in the STEM disciplines, underpinned by the inquiry cycle and engineering design process, to develop creative and innovative solutions to the world’s problems. In doing so, they necessarily address social justice issues underpinned by the Catholic ethos to ‘make a difference’.