An exciting new STEM+1 program launched at St Rita’s School, South Johnstone

St Rita’s students taking part in the STEM+1 after school program.

AN exciting and cutting-edge STEM +1 after school program was launched at St Rita’s School South Johnstone in 2021, with a maximum of 20 students taking part in the first term.

The STEM+1 Club is run by dedicated STEM teacher, Alicia Magnanini, and a mixture of students from Prep to Year 6 have enthusiastically embraced the program and been involved in a variety of fun and exciting activities. 

The program combines fun ways of coding and includes science experiments, Lego construction, robotics, and Minecraft. It has new Lego, which can be coded with easier and harder levels to challenge students.

Students can use Lego to build items, such as racing cars, and then code them to do things such as change colour, make sounds, and different movements. The STEM+1 program also has ordinary Lego for those students who just want to use their creative side to build things.

By taking part, students learn to build concentration, think in steps, listen, and follow instructions. They also learn about coding language and how to use specific coding programs/apps such as Scratch on Chromebooks/iPads to make items do certain things.

Through using technology and design, students are faced with a problem, they must work out a plan, and then design and create something to try and find a solution for the problem. After testing, if it works, students reflect on their design and then work out how it can be improved.

Minecraft encourages students to use their creative and design skills by using building blocks to make items and they are learning maths skills, such as volume, area, size, face value, and spatial awareness, which aligns with the Year 4/5 science curriculum.

These activities encourage being part of a team and working together, as well as social interaction with students not normally in their social circle. It also builds communication skills, taking turns, and patience.

Besides STEM, students create and design items using magnets, science cogs, 3D shapes, games such as Upwords and chess, as well as arts/crafts activities.

Mrs Magnanini runs the club from 3.00pm – 5.00pm Monday to Thursday and students who need after-school care on the remaining day can choose in which activities they wish to participate.

“We developed the STEM+1 club to meet the needs of our families who can at times be caught up with work,” Mr Hoare said. “It is an after-school program for our families and does not cost them anything extra.” 

For further information on the program, please contact St Rita’s School on 4065 9500.

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