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Our First Makerthon

Over Saturday and Sunday (11 and 12 November) I was privileged to join my awesome team and a selection of Year 9 and 10 students from our partner schools for the Monash Tech School Makerthon.

Our mission - to create a series of obstacles for Sphero robots which used multiple technologies, could be varied for different skill levels and which employed innovative and multiple technologies. Kicking off with a discussion around the problem the students got straight into research - what makes a good obstacle, what materials can you use and of course getting to understand the Sphero robots and their control systems. After some preliminary ideation and rough prototyping students got to train with and experience the various technologies in the makerspace allowing them to further develop their ideas and concepts. Day 1 finished with a great number of ideas in train and much more thinking to occur.

Day 2 started off where Day 1 finished with students and the teams discussing the prototypes and ideas. By mid-morning physical tests were being undertaken and it was wonderful to see the students working not only on their ideas but with one another to suggest improvements, refinements or simply to understand the technology. By lunchtime the obstacles were starting to take shape and testing of individual obstacles evolved in joining various obstacles together - thus began the inkling of the complete obstacle course.

By Sunday afternoon we had developed several obstacles which will be used by visitors to Monash Tech School’s display at the Ashwood/Chadstone Family Fun Day on Sunday 19 November and then used in our program for students from Ashwood School, Monash Special Developmental School and Glenallen School at the end of November.

A huge thanks to Chava and Matt who put everything together and to Neil and Trish for coordinating the logistics and expert advice and of course to the students whose ideas and hard work over two days has created some unique and challenging obstacles.

written by Ashley Van Krieken

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