Islington Public School students share ideas as part of NBN Co STEM+X initiative to reduce waste flowing into sea

Brave: Principal Matt Bradley said he was "incredibly proud" of the 29 students.
Brave: Principal Matt Bradley said he was "incredibly proud" of the 29 students.

ISLINGTON Public School students’ crusade to reduce plastic waste in the sea has reached a climax, after they presented their ideas to a panel of science, technology, engineering and maths leaders.

The school was one of eight chosen to participate in the NBN Co STEM+X initiative, which encouraged students to develop an idea to brighten their community’s future by attempting to solve real life challenges.

Principal Matt Bradley said the school’s year five and six composite class focused on the plastic in Styx Creek that built up against – and sometimes flowed over – a boom leading to Throsby Creek and the harbour.

“They realised they had to engineer a new boom that would work better, but also needed to educate people about plastic and plastic waste.”

The students were guided by teacher Georgie Read and NBN Co mentor James McEwan and liaised with the University of Newcastle’s Dr Emina Subasic, Professor Brett Neilan and Professor James Jackson; Hunter Water engineer Brendon Harrod; and Take 3 For The Sea.

They engineered a new gross pollutant trap that they modelled in Minecraft and made a 12 minute film, website, app, games and dances about their project – and they’re just getting started.

“This really taps into the student centred pedagogy – they’re in control of their learning and know and understand and believe they can make a difference in the world,” Mr Bradley said.

“That’s what we want from future leaders.

“They’re having fun, working together, learning about persistence and realising it’s okay to make mistakes, to say ‘I don’t know’ and find someone who can help.”

The students presented by video conference to NBN Co headquarters in Sydney.