How do we develop critical, creative thinkers? What value do we place on project-based learning?

At SMGS we provide our students with access to opportunities and experiences outside the parameters of the traditional curriculum. Programs such as Kidpreneur, the Aeronautical Velocity Challenge, Write a Book in a Day, the Da Vinci Decathlon Series, the STEM Enrichment program and the Personal Passion Project provide our students with the opportunity to access frameworks to develop original thought, creativity and critical skills as part of their educational experience.

Recently the students of Years 4-6 were presented with the opportunity to participate in a PPP, which stands for Personal Passion Project. The project, which is led by the Head of Educational Enrichment and Support, Mrs Bell, is designed to expose the students to the design and development process. This is a process by which our students conceptualise an idea, then design the process to achieve their concept. This term our PPP students are covering a range of passions and curriculum areas, including designing a café, building and coding a robotic arm to pick up rubbish, designing and building a moon rover and researching the black cockatoo.

Whilst students are knee deep in their ideas and thriving on the opportunity to design and develop, what are the intentional skills that the students are learning?

The program is designed to build the students’ design process skills and to stimulate their learning, beyond the curriculum parameters. This involves workshopping together to develop and define their initial ideas, then building an action plan to achieve their goals. In the planning phase, the students are encouraged to communicate and connect with experts in their field, building connections both within the school and in the local community. Within the walls of SMGS, students are connecting with experts such as our Visual Arts teacher, Mrs Witherdin, who is assisting in developing the sculpting skills of one of our budding artists. Ms Nolan, our Design and Technology teacher, is running a workshop on Tinkercad for our budding architects and designers, and Mr Moore, our IT Manager, is assisting students with the design, building and coding of robotic arms and moon rovers. Within the local community, our students are building connections with experts at the National Parks and Wildlife Service and local cafés.

The students are abuzz with excitement and will host a PPP expo in Term 3 to showcase their learning.