Creating a bomb detection robot is not the average homework task for an 11-year-old but a group of Mount Brown Public School girls were ready for the task.
"It was stressful but fun. It took us a while to try and make the code and to make the actual robot move," year five student, Torah Holland-Weir said.
Mount Brown was among 13 Illawarra and Shoalhaven schools, with around 160 students, who attended The Easy Agile Innovation Showcase.
The students were tasked to create a project for a STEM showcase at the University of Wollongong that met a human need under the UN Sustainability Development Goals.
Mount Brown students Macey, Torah, Dylan and Matilda decided they would create a bomb detection robot to assist people in situations like the Ukraine war.
"Although our inspiration was on the war in Ukraine we did realise in the end that we were able to use it in other war type situations," year six student, Macey Hough said.
'Melody' the bomb detection bot is not only programmed to detect bombs but direct people to a safe location.
"Just in case there is a bomb incoming they would have a lot more notice so that they could have more time to find a way to hide and protect themselves," Macey said.
The girls presented their robot to online judges, industry mentors, at the University of Wollongong on September 12.
"It made us all feel very proud of what we had created in that time," year five student, Matilda Atkin said.
About 160 students from 13 Illawarra and Shoalhaven schools attended The Easy Agile Innovation Showcase.
Some of the other innovations by school students included No Harm Charm, RipWatch App, UV Light Hamper, Solar Powered Clothesline, and Train Carriage Charging Ports.
"The Young ICT Explorer program is aimed at inspiring students from years three to twelve to use their creativity and innovation to gain a greater understanding of the diverse possibilities available to them through today's technology, encouraging students to consider STEM-enabled careers while solving real world problems," Illawarra Academy of STEM Project Officer, Russ Taunton said in a statement.
Mount Brown Public School teacher Bradley Thomas said he was a little surprised when the group of year five and six students announced they wanted to program a bomb detection bot.
"I kind of hope the girls do decide to stay in STEM in their future work," Mr Thomas said.
While the proportion of women in STEM qualified occupations in Australia in 2022 is 15 per cent, the number of female students that attended the showcase was 65 per cent.
Students shared their projects with Illawarra industry mentors from companies like Zig Zag Hub, CSIRO, Blue Scope, Wollongong City Council, and The Smith Family.
"Without the support of industry mentors challenging and supporting student thinking there is no development of project iterations," Mr Taunton said in a statement.
"Who knows, a local industry group may pick up the idea and wish to prototype it."
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