Buy ‘robots’ after student wins Young Scientist cash

St joseph the Worker PS, Auburn - sphero bolt robots - Cindy Pan Charrlette, Zin Daniels, Christopher Kalergis, James Gambacciani with Ioanna Kalegris (from high school) Photo: Radim Cechvala Story:

FIFTEEN new app-enabled ‘Sphero Bolts’ are helping students at St Joseph The Worker Catholic Primary School learn the fundamentals of coding.

The small programmbable robots were brought thanks to the efforts of 2018 Year 6 graduate Ioanna Kalergis, who won a $2,500 prize from last year’s NATA Young Scientist of the Year Award.

Now in her first year at Auburn’s Trinity Catholic College, Ioanna’s winning project focused on the medical uses of the supplement Resveratrol, and her thorough research included speaking to several experts in the field.

She said the idea came after the medicine was used by her grandfather last year.

“I’m very curious about how things work,” she said.

Principal Gai Melville said Ioanna was well-known in the school for her love of competitions and she’d previously won writing awards.

She said Ioanna reflected the sort of qualities needed to be a learner including being self-motivated, a risk-taker and reflective.

“Ioanna has applied all of those in her research and presentation,” Ms Melville said.

“I think it helps too that our school motto is “Creating a difference”. The person who invented the medication that helped Ioanna’s grandfather, created a big difference for her family.”

Students at the school are also using the robots as part of an advanced STEM partnership  with Trinity Catholic College Auburn.

As part of the program, gifted and enthusiastic stage 2 and 3 students from five Sydney Catholic schools, including St Joseph The Worker, are getting to know staff and students at their future high school while developing both technical and soft skills.