On Wednesday 16 May, the students in the Year 10 Environmental Studies class, accompanied by teachers Mr Iannace and Mrs Gates, attended an excursion called ‘UniSA STEM for Humanity’. The excursion took place at the UniSA Magill Campus, where we participated in three different activities in the Samsung Smart Centre.
The first activity involved all things mapping and GPS. We were told about a suburb in Kenya called Kibera, who undertook a process of mapping out their entire suburb with all the necessities needed just to show that their community is really there. This was then taken to the government in order to prove themselves, and that they were worthy of being looked out for and developed into a better environment.
It was then our turn to split into groups and to map out the UniSA Magill Campus, using our own GPS’ to find the longitude and latitude of various places. Using the information that we collected, we made our own map of the campus. This was not only a great opportunity to explore the campus, but to hear about the people of Kibera, and how mapping assisted them in their fight against poverty and the rebuilding of a better life in their community.
Our second task was to construct a ‘pipe connector’ using an online 3D design and printing app called ‘TinkerCAD’. Before we were introduced to this program, we were first taught about the earthquakes in Nepal and how they affected the lives of the people that live there. We learnt about how shops and businesses were destroyed, how people may have been killed or injured, how built landscape were destroyed and more specifically, how the earthquake ruined water and sanitation. After learning about Nepal, we then got the opportunity to use ‘TinkerCAD’ to design a ‘pipe connector’ to connect three small tubes together. We learnt that people around the world use 3D design and printing apps to design objects like ‘pipe connectors’ to help people who may have been affected by earthquakes or other natural disasters. This task was challenging to most of us as we had not used this program before, but it was still an enjoyable one.
The final challenge was to create a water filter that would be sustainable to create clean water in a developing country. To show the challenges that developing countries face when making a sustainable water filter, each team was given a different country, and an amount of ‘money’ which was scaled to the specific country, at random. The countries ranged from the richest (Australia) with $500, to the poorest (Ethiopia) with $15. Each group then had seven minutes to buy their materials from the ‘bank.’ The materials included a variety of objects, ranging from instructions, which cost $100; and coarse rocks, which cost $10. The advantage Australia had over the other countries was clear. We then had five minutes to construct a filter that would make black and dirty water as clear and as clean as possible. Each group then presented their water filter and they were tested. We found that the longer the water took to go through the water filter, the cleaner it ended up being. Predictably, Australia’s water took a long time to trickle through the filter and was very clear in comparison to the poorer countries. The water from poorer countries quickly flowed through the filter, and therefore, ended up brown. Each group did their best with what they were given, but this challenge outlined just how lucky we, in Australia, are; even for the simplest things, which we take for granted in comparison to other less developed countries.
We thank UniSA, especially our instructors, Nathaniel and Elizabeth for being so enthusiastic. We really enjoyed the practicality and hands-on nature of the activities and we are so grateful to Mr Iannace and Mrs Gates for accompanying us on this excursion and for giving us this opportunity.
Emily, Michelle and Maddie
Year 10 Environmental Studies Students