West Coast and Northern Areas D&T Hub Conference 2021 – Port Augusta

Sun 23rd – Tues 26th May written by attendee, Gavin Hammond

…and hosted by Steve Kuerschner of Caritas College, Geoff Schulze and Simon Finch of PASS  

The purpose of this written report is to briefly document the event to inform others and provide a record of the activities and content of our annual conference. 

On Sunday morning, soon after meeting in the Caritas workshop for a coffee and chat, the group of 18 attendees moved into the staffroom for a Zoom presentation by Finn Galindo of Marryatville HS.

Following lunch at the Caritas staffroom, we headed over to Port Augusta Secondary School (PASS).

  • In the PASS STEM Centre with STEM teacher, Simon Harding 
    • Discussion on the curriculum areas covered here and some time spent brainstorming simple design ideas for either:
      • A “friend” figurine, or
      • A functional keyring using TinkerCAD or Adobe software for 3D printing or laser cutting. 
    • A tour of the new, flexible STEM centre facility

  • In the PASS Trade Training Workshop, Simon Finch, PASS D&T teacher, gave us a run-down of the structure of the course for the Engineering Pathways students. Some topics discussed include:
    • Department for Education’s Scope & Sequence document 
    • Various projects done by Engineering Pathways students, including:
      • Soft jaws
      • Dog tag – sandblasted logo + cutting & filing
      • Sheetmetal pencil tin + technical drawing and card mock-up
      • Sheetmetal parts cabinet 
      • “Man of Steel” – welded figurine
      • Water sprayer in hex aluminium
      • Campfire BBQ (600x400mm)
      • Working with a partner to design a catapult
    • Materials Investigation including a sustainability focus
    • Industry visit to Sundrop Farm
    • Literacy task involving a discussion on drones – using a template to guide/structure writing e.g. main idea, second idea. Use “TEEL” structure for paragraph writing

Mid-afternoon saw us back to the Caritas workshop for a demo on the SawStop table saw.

  • Tony Foord, Carbatec – National Business Development Manager, joined us from Brisbane.
    • Tony demonstrated the SawStop Jobsite Saw Pro in action with a sausage (rather than his finger) to show how the SawStop mechanism works. The blade collapsed into the machine quicker than the blink of an eye and the sausage survived without even the slightest nick!
    • We also had a closer look at the SawStop Industrial Cabinet Saw, installed in the Caritas workshop, with an explanation from D&T teacher, Steve Kuerschner.

Many attended the evening meal at the local Pastoral Hotel to enjoy a good feed together and catch up casually.

Monday morning started at Caritas College with a follow up discussion on the SawStop machines and another demo for those who missed it. Steve led the discussions that followed (as he recovered from the demo).

  • SACE skills tasks was the focus for discussion. We looked at and talked about:
    • Using PowerPoint to provide evidence of projects with 
      • Photos and dot points of various aspects then audio recorded to discuss each slide. By breaking into discrete slides, audio could easily be rerecorded to make improvements if necessary.
      • Once completed, the whole PowerPoint could be screen-recorded as one continuous video.
    • Some ideas of skills tasks were shared, including:
      • Steve @ Caritas 
        • Metal – “rocket stove”, angle clamp
        • Wood – hall table with various framing joints, various joint exercises 
      • Michelle Paterson @Coober Pedy
        • Hall table
      • Mark Murphy @St Marks Pt Pirie
        • Dartboard cabinet – skills 1 = carcase + skills 2 = framed doors (CAD modelled too)
      • Gavin Hammond @ Tumby Bay AS
        • Stage 1 skills task: Picnic/wine table or G clamp + CAD modelled
        • Stage 2 skills task: Photo frame or camp shovel + CAD modelled

A late-morning visit to Sundrop Farm to witness this massive tomato-growing venture on the outskirts of Port Augusta was a mind-blowing experience. 

  • We stood at the bottom of the state-of-the-art solar tower and marvelled at it.
    •  It produces energy to power the growing systems and to heat and cool the greenhouses as required. 
    • It is 127m high and has over 24,000 mirrors pointed at it.
  • We went inside one of the huge greenhouses and were amazed at the scale and the activities going on inside to continuously produce a huge quantity of truss tomatoes.

After lunch at the Centrals Footy Club, we stayed on for the following sessions:

  • Joy Cresp, DT&E Curriculum & Assessment Officer of the SACE Board gave a presentation which focussed on the context of Material Solutions and covered the following:
    • The subject assessment advice was analysed
    • An MRS exemplar was provided for each assessment type
      • Grade calibration check
      • Advice to improve student evidence
    • Discussion of issues or concerns
    • Website update and PLATO flagged

  • Guy Barrett, Civil Engineer and Project Manager of the bridge currently under construction over the gulf, spoke to us about this major engineering project.
    • Guy provided an insight into the engineering behind the building of this bridge and the opportunities available to our students in civil engineering and road construction
  • A Zoom meeting was then set up by Geoff Schulze (D&T guru formerly at PASS) with a Western Australian school and their D&T faculty who teach STEM programs centred around mechatronics and aeronautics. 

That evening, many of us caught up again for tea at the Augusta Hotel.

We were based back at Caritas on Tuesday morning, starting with presentations in the STEM room

  • Nathan O Brien (STEM teacher at Caritas) shared his STEM experiences with us. 
    • Designing and 3D printing assistive devices for disabled or aged people. E.g.,
      • Fishing reel handle enlarger
      • Typists’ wrist rest
      • Vacuum cleaner hose holder
    • Using Arduino and simple robots to provide challenges for students to solve.
    • Discussion continued onto 3D printing projects that others do 
      • Michael Barker (Birdwood HS) has done briefcase handles and corner protectors for a briefcase project,
      • Matt Thursby (Samaritan College – Whyalla) has designed and made fishing poppers,
      • Michelle Patterson (Coober Pedy AS) has done chess pieces.

  • We then enjoyed a follow-up Zoom meeting with Finn to build on Sunday’s session.

Later that morning, we returned to the Caritas workshop for a “Show & Tell” session, where we shared ideas on projects, tasks and D&T course planning.

  • Steve Kuerschner  @ Caritas shared a range of project ideas, including:
    • Year 8: 
      • Large wooden dice as a first skills project
      • Wooden money box with rebated joints 
    • Year 9: 
      • Laminated cutting board with dowelled ends as a first skills project
      • Breakfast tray with wrought iron handles
      • MIG welded coat/hat rack or shelf
      • Steel stool/ motorbike stand with a wooden top and 3D printed leg plugs
    • Year 11:
      • Carcase and leg & rail joint trials
    • Year 11 or 12:
      • Steel-framed desk with resin filled wooden top
      • Rocket stove demonstrated with wood fire burning and kettle boiling
  • Ty Redden @ Streaky Bay AS
    • SACE skills task – timber framed bar stool. Top can be designed for individuality and as a formative process for design folio.
  • Andrew Dunn @ Miltaburra AS
    • Resin poured / timber table top with shells etc embedded 
  • Gavin Hammond @ Tumby Bay AS
    • Tealight holder as an introductory Middle School design task
  • Tom Manners @Ceduna AS
    • Year 10 wood skills project: folding picnic table 
  • Jed Woolford @ Cummins AS
    • Stage 2 skills task – timber toolbox with optional tray insert 
  • Colin McColl @ Cleve AS (state-wide PRT)
    • Cordless tools demonstrated; metal bandsaw and metal cold saw.

As the Show and Tell session came to an end, we discussed the next host location and it was decided that in 2022 Angus Martin and his D&T team at Port Lincoln High School will host the next conference with their newly revamped Technologies workshop/classroom spaces due for completion. We look forward to our 2022 hub conference with great anticipation and our thanks go to Steve Kuerschner of Caritas College and Geoff Schulze, representing Pt Augusta Secondary School with the support of Simon Finch, who all did a great job of jointly hosting us in Port Augusta for the 2021 conference.