Innovation Sports: STEM Punk

This year seven girls from Year 6, 7 & 8 participated in STEM Punk’s Minecraft competition held in Ipswich. Innovation Sports competition brought together Design Thinking, Creativity, and Technology in a sporting atmosphere, utilizing Minecraft as the primary building tool.

In a few weeks leading up to the competition, the girls dedicated their Monday lunch breaks to engage in the design thinking process, addressing a challenge related to a ‘kick-off’ issue within the Minecraft world. Ella McPhee from STEM Punk provided virtual support during a meeting, offering answers to questions and guiding the team. The interaction with Ella was immensely enjoyed by the girls.

The competition was organized by STEM Punks and drew teams from schools in the SEQ region. Each team was allowed up to 10 students. Just a week before the event, the students received a ‘hint’ about the competition’s theme. Our girls were assigned the topic ‘eScooters Storage’ for Round 1, while Round 2 revolved around ‘eSports Clubhouse’.

On the day the challenge was revealed through a Kick-Off Card, prompting the girls to collaborate as a team for 45 minutes to devise a solution. Their task was to design and construct a storage for eScooters in a public park. Impressively, their design quickly took shape, showcasing technical prowess and creative innovation.

The final round presented a new challenge on the Kick-Off Card: to design and build a 3 storey Vertical Garden House. The team brainstormed ideas, planned meticulously, and executed their construction process, adhering to the Design Thinking Process. Their creation featured a cylindrical house with three levels of rooms with gardens and with sensors to recycle and make the house sustainable.

Each team showcased their solution. The girls were overjoyed to learn that their team had emerged victorious. The competition served as an excellent platform, fostering teamwork among students who tackled a topic collaboratively, defined it, generated ideas, prototyped solutions, tested them, and refined them—all utilizing Minecraft and constrained within a 45-minute timeframe.

The competition atmosphere had a distinct sports vibe, allowing the audience to observe each team’s solution-building process. The excitement was palpable, engaging every team member wholeheartedly. The culmination of the event was marked by an impressive trophy, truly exemplifying excellence.

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Jackie Child
Jackie Child has been teaching primary aged students for 40 years in a number of countries. She is passionate about how children learn through constructivist pedagogy. She is a Teacher Librarian at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School and a sessional tutor at Griffith University for pre-service teachers. Jackie doesn’t believe in standing still, there is always plenty to ‘do’ and learn!