Spark6: Innovative Solutions for a Better World through Technology

This past week marked the culmination of another successful instalment of the Spark6 emPower Program, tailored specifically for our Year 6 students. Under the banner of  ‘How might we use technology as a tool to create positive change?’ students embarked on a rigorous journey of collaboration and problem-based learning.

Throughout Term 3, students were led through a series of PCT sessions, delving deeper into the essence of four pivotal UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs). These goals then served as a guide behind the collaborative projects undertaken by our students. Empowered by their own choices, students embarked on a path that led them to ‘home groups,’ each focused on one of the four selected UN-SDGs:

  • Goal 3 – Good Health and Wellbeing
  • Goal 4 – Quality Education
  • Goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy
  • Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities

Students worked collaboratively in groups of three or four within their home groups this week. Using their understanding of the targets of their UN-SDG, students identified problems they were interested in solving and developed a more specific ‘big’ question for their group to work on. Students then developed their own unique solutions to address their identified problem, incorporating technology.

This year, a great variety of innovative ideas have impressed the Year 6 teachers and the wider community. Imagine mirrors that intuitively respond to users’ moods, casting the perfect lighting and affirmations as they prepare for their day. Picture groups devoted to delivering quality education to underprivileged regions offering kits of essential supplies and innovative distance learning tools. Or envision the ingenuity of students who designed technologies capable of powering homes through kinetic energy generated by their own inhabitants. And let us not forget those who championed inclusivity, devising digital tools to empower community members with job-seeking skills. These are just some of the phenomenal ideas the Year 6 students have come up with during Spark6 this year.

Furthermore, all Year 6 students have embraced the challenge put to them of working more sustainably and limiting their environmental footprint throughout this project. Students have endeavoured to minimise printing and use of plastic while maximising their use of recycled and reusable materials, as well as digital tools. Their dedication to eco-friendly communication methods, particularly on the last day of the term when they showcased their ideas to visiting guests, was a celebrated conclusion reflecting their commitment to this challenge.

Spark6 has provided the Year 6 students with a rich experience of connecting learning to life. Our future is certainly in good hands with students such as these, investing in it with solutions-focused passion and creativity. Well done, Year 6s!

Ava Massie-Taylor 6.6 (Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities)
“When I learned that I was going to be doing in Spark6, I was feeling excited because I had seen what the previous Year 6s had done, and it looked really interesting and fun. I am currently looking to find a solution for Sustainable Development Goal 11, which is about creating sustainable, safe, resilient and inclusive cities and communities around the world. It’s been challenging to find a creative solution to solve my problem, which is trying to find more jobs for people in communities. This has also been excellent in pushing myself to think outside the box and be as innovative as possible.”

Emily Ryan – 6.8 (Goal 3 – Good Health and Wellbeing)

“I have really enjoyed Spark6. I have loved the change of pace from doing lots of different subjects to focusing on a big problem and solving it by working through the inquiry process at our own speed. It has been great working with students from other classes and sharing our ideas with each other. Our big question is, ‘How can we positively use technology to promote exercise and healthy eating?’ My group has come up with the idea of making a commercial that has exercises that viewers can do right then and there; it will go on TV during prime-time slots.”

Lily Hicks – 6.9 (Goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy)
When I saw the Spark6 projects last year, I was really excited and interested to learn more about it. I’ve enjoyed finding out about our impact on the environment. I found that it hasn’t been a quick process. There is lots of trial and error in figuring out a solution to a problem. My group is trying to help households recycle water from regular use like showers, sinks and washing to be filtered to create energy and be re-used in other ways such as watering gardens. I have liked working with new people from different classes. Normally I would try and work with the same people, but this way, I have gotten new perspectives and made new friends.”

Alyssa Rullo – 6.10 (Goal 4 – Quality Education) 

I really enjoyed learning about how things have changed over time. Like a typewriter, if you made one mistake, you had to restart the whole thing, and now we don’t have to do that on our laptops. Our group came up with the idea to tutor teachers online across the world, as we have discovered that quality teachers are lacking in many parts of the world, so we want to upskill them so students get a good education. I made a poster explaining what we are doing for the showcase.

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