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New iSTEAM lab gives students an edge in education

Robots are being built, laser cutting machines are carving out designs and a treasure hunt is underway, as students at St Peters Lutheran College Springfield use coding to help crack the clues.

There’s a buzz of excitement in the Year 7 classes, which are being held in the school’s new state-of-the-art iSTEAM laboratory. It opened last month as part of the school’s $6 million Junior High precinct which will focus on innovation, science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

Year 7 student Logan said he loved the new precinct.

“It’s got a unique and modern feel about it,” Logan said.

“My favourite subject is coding. I’m really interested in investigation and decoding, but I also enjoy just creating websites.”

The two-storey building includes eight classrooms and a range of individual working areas that will cater for more than 200 students from Years 7 to 9. 

Its innovative design also allows for a third level to be added in future as the student population grows.

Year 7 students Catherine and Simrat hold guitars which were made with the lab’s laser-cutting machine.

Technology teacher Gudrun Baessler said it’s a great space for teaching.

It’s been designed to bring in lots of natural light, so it has amazing lighting for learning  and the tables are all modular so we can change the seating for different classes,” Ms Baessler said. 

“It’s also got lots of great storage and you can write on every surface from the walls to the cupboard doors.”

Ms Baessler said the iSTEAM lab would be the home of the school’s robotics program and teachers were working together to create interdisciplinary units to incorporate subjects like Technology with History. 

Ms Baessler said that while it’s great to see students making the most of the new precinct, she was also impressed with how they managed remote learning during COVID-19.

“It went very well,” Ms Baessler said. 

“We’re a champion school for Grok Learning, and we continued to use that while students were learning coding from home.”

Year 7 Digital Technology students Alisha and Daniela practise their coding.

Principal Craig Schmidt said the new precinct would inspire students.

“The iSTEAM laboratory is a creative design hub which will enhance delivery of our robotics, technology and STEAM programs including engineering, digital solutions and design technology subjects,” Mr Schmidt said.

“It will be superb for developing the essential skills our young people need for the future as effective collaborators and communicators, critical and creative thinkers and influential leaders.”

The precinct was designed by McLellan Bush Architects and took just over a year to build.

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