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Bringing Bush Tucker Back: How St Benedict's Students Make a Difference Through STEM and Design Thinking

1 November 2023 | Posted in Learning and Teaching; Indigenous Education

Bringing Bush Tucker Back: How St Benedict's Students Make a Difference Through STEM and Design Thinking

St Benedict's Catholic School, Shaw entered the STEM Mad competition this year. STEM MAD is a national competition that celebrates STEM learning initiatives, addresses real-world problems and encourages students to make a difference (MAD) in the world by acting for justice and the common good. 

This year, the Year 5 students, along with the Year 6 students at St Benedict's, used the Design Thinking Process (Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test) to identify a problem related to their school's bush tucker trail and develop a solution. A key concern is that the vast knowledge of native foods, practices and traditions is depleting and at threat of being lost, so students identified this as an issue that they wanted to solve. They wanted to 'Bring Bush Tucker Back!'

Students explored a range of ideas to pass on bush tucker knowledge and skills including recipes to promote in modern day homes and a virtual tour of the bush tucker trail. Students experimented with cooking different types of bush tucker, brainstormed ingredients and then designed and wrote recipes for bush curries, featuring the outback spices of wattle seed, anise myrtle and mountain pepper. They cooked, tested and critiqued their curries and took their recipes home to share with their families. During this project students had to measure ingredients, monitor the temperatures of the frypans and practice chemical engineering, considering the chemical changes that can occur when applying heat or adding thickening agents like flour.

Students also used the Spike Prime robots to create a simulation of the virtual tour of their bush tucker track. They made a basic track representing the one in the trail and measured the angles and distances in order to code their robots. They had to continually test their code and make adjustments. Students wrote and recorded a script featuring interesting facts about some of the plants and animals and then programmed their robot to stop and say the information at different points.The Year 5 and 6 students at St Benedict's Catholic School are making a difference by promoting knowledge and skills of bush tucker in the school and wider community.

Their recipes will help promote the use of bush tucker in modern day homes and having a virtual tour of their bush tucker trail will help parents, individuals with disabilities and the wider community have access to this great resource and would help promote knowledge of native food and wildlife.

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