Last week, Snowy Mountains Grammar School (SMGS) was announced as a recipient of a $10,000 grant from Snowy Hydro’s Local School STEM Fund program. Following the application process, SMGS was selected based on its teaching and learning approach and efforts to develop a robust robotics program in the Snowy Monaro region.

This generous funding will allow the School to buy eight new Gen II VEX IQ robots and a regulation-sized tournament field for students to practice before competitions. These new tools will improve the current Robotics and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) programs.

Earlier this year, SMGS started its first Robotics Club for students in Years 5-8. Currently, 16 students meet during lunchtime on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday to prepare for district-level competitions and beyond.

In addition to the Robotics Club, students have participated in Mario Kart-style robot races. Year 5 and 6 students have been programming their Micromelon robots to navigate mazes and are learning to code music on their robots’ synthesizers. Year 9 students are preparing for a sumo robot challenge, coding robots to push their opponents out of the ring.

SMGS’s youngest learners have enjoyed the addition of the Junior School STEAM Club, which began in Term 2, allowing students to design and build bottle rockets. This process encourages them to take risks, think creatively, and solve problems.

“These new resources will help with our current projects and create new opportunities,” said Mr. Stephen Henderson, Director of Innovation. “We are forming strong partnerships with Snowy Hydro and its team of engineers, who will visit our school to share their knowledge and teach our students important engineering principles.”

The grant also makes SMGS a key centre for VEX robotics in the Snowy Monaro region. “Our long-term goal is to help other schools get involved in robotics competitions and eventually host local events,” said the SMGS Principal. We are committed to building a strong STEAM community, and I want to thank Mr Stephen Henderson, our Director of Innovation, for his hard work in securing this funding and his dedication and assistance in creating programs and building a culture of innovation at SMGS.”

SMGS is deeply grateful to Snowy Hydro for their generous support and commitment to enhancing education in regional schools. This grant is a significant step toward our goal of transforming the Snowy Monaro into a leading hub for STEAM education. We look forward to seeing our students thrive with these new resources.