iAcademy in Year 7

Some schools may fall into the trap of teaching the same thing the same way over and over again.  Not in Middle School iAcademy and not on Mr Carden’s or Mrs Kite’s watch.

Our new iAcademy Program started this year as a unique way in which to teach students new skills, exposing them to knowledge and giving them  hands on skills associated with the STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) curriculum such as:

  • Entrepreneurial Thinking and Skills
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Collaborative Skills and Team Work
  • Creativity
  • Innovative Thought
  • Communication Skills and Media Fluency
  • Interdisciplinary Approaches

“Year 7 students are loving iAcademy and have been completely engaged and excited in this unique learning environment,” said Middle School Coordinator and iAcademy Teacher Mr Carden.

This Term they have been on the ‘International Space Station’ (ISS) completing a variety of engineering challenges including designing mechanical arms, developing internal cooling systems for space suits and this week conducting experiments on acceleration due to gravity.

Two of our students commented about learning in iAcademy this Term.

“This term in iAcademy, we have been learning a lot about the International Space Station (ISS). We have designed and built a variety of things in comparison to real things that they use on the ISS. One of these include the Canadarm, a giant robotic arm that can grab and attach things to the station. It was made up of cardboard as a base and string to pull the fingers in unison with the user’s. We also designed a cooling system to represent the ones used in spacesuits. We wrapped rubber tubing around someone’s arm and poured water through it. The water absorbed the heat from the user’s arm and cooled them down. Another time we made different aeroplane designs and tested them. Half of them were our own designs and the others were researched. To our surprise, we found that the majority of the successful planes were our own designs.

As you can see, these experiments have expanded our knowledge of space and the ISS. Although they are schoolwork, they are also fun.” – Max

“We discovered that triangular trusses are stronger than square trusses because they provide more angular resistance than squares.  This is because in triangles the force is exerted on the edges but in squares the force is applied to the corners, therefore making the shape collapse.  We tested it by creating a truss using either triangles or squares.  We then attached a cloth with a weight hook and attached weights to measure how much force it can take.  We discovered that triangles are the strongest truss formation.” – D’Arcy

This week inquisitive students have been conducting experiments on acceleration due to gravity using ball bearings and something that would have greater air resistance for instance cotton balls.  They will then record and graph their results.

Several of the students who were engrossed in their acceleration experiment commented on how much fun iAcademy has been.