Maitland Area School

Maitland | Yorke Peninsula | South Australia


Earlier in the term we tried to make bridges but unfortuantely only one was successful. 

We tried the task again with students having to work in groups to make a bridge that could hold a toy car 

We talked about how we could make our bridges stronger, looked at photos of bridges and discussed some of their features. 

We set aside an hour to design, build, test and make changes to our bridges. 

This time we were much more successful with four out of the six holding up the car. 

We then evaluated our bridges and discussed with the groups what changes could be make for next time. 

This challenge not only tested our design and making skills but also our teamwork.

Our Year 7/8 class have spent their Science lessons this term learning about compounds, mixtures and solutions. As a ‘Grand Finale ’practical assessment task, they took part in The Laboratory Challenge – a team competition which tested their laboratory skills. 


Each team of students was given a beaker which contained 20 grams of iron filings, 20 grams of sand and 20 grams of salt. The challenge was to separate the mixture into its three component parts, whilst losing as little matter as possible.

Group work rules

Our groups showed great skill in the laboratory, first using the magnetic separation technique to extract the iron, then adding water to the mixture and filtering out the sand and finally, evaporating the water to recover the salt.

Safety in the laboratory was always top of the agenda and contributed to the overall assessment for each team. The total error achieved by the teams when they weighed their final products ranged from minimal to over 23 grams.

Final results

In the end, the results were very impressive, with Emma Rowe and Joylene Wanganeen taking first place in the competition with a total error of only 1.58 grams, followed by the team of Oscar Moore, Eddie Sansbury and Lochlan Trevena in second place with a total error of 2.29 grams. 

Congratulations to all the students for showing great teamwork and skill in the laboratory. They are now working on their final task for the term – a home project – designing a rubbish purification system. We look forward to displaying the models and photos in the classroom when they are completed in week 11. 


The Kindy and Junior classes have been making friends with six yellow programmable robots and teaching them how to race, land in a target and perform complex instructions.

And all with just a touch of a button!

The happy little robots are called Bee-Bots and we've been making good use of the Digital Media Laboratory to introduce the students to the elements of programming in a fun, interesting and often competitive way.


Bee-Bots have seven buttons on top. Students start by pressing clear to clear all previous instructions.

They then press the forward, reverse, right turn / left turn and pause buttons in sequence to make the Bee-Bots travel forward, reverse, make a quarter turn to the right or left or to pause for a few seconds.

By combining the button presses the robots can navigate obstacle courses, race each other, trace out patterns or even (very slowly) dance!


The UK has recently made computer programming an integral part of their school curriculum and the US is emphasising the need for students to become more computer literate not only as 'drivers' of software but 'under the hood', learning how to program.

Bee-Bots are a simple, hands-on approach for introducing programming and if the rapped attention of our students was anything to go by, a very successful one.

Read more: Bee-Bots On the Loose

Miss Atkins Reception / 1 class have a visitor for the next few weeks; a 3m long triceratops dinosaur model, courtesy of local Palynologist and Stratigrapher Roger Morgan. Local residents of Maitland have no doubt seen Roger's other dinosaurs at the Chatt Centre, in the Maitland Show or in his front garden. A big thank you to Roger for his kind loan.  'Cera' is a real hit with the kids!


The R-6 classes have been making lanterns for the Music Is Fun Band visit. Junior classes constructed their's from templates while older classes measured and cut there's from scratch. 

The Year 5/6 class integrated their lantern making with  their science work on electricity and made battery operated lanterns. The students will use them to add extra atmosphere to the song 'Lanterns', by the band Birds of Tokyo.


The Shell Questacon Science Circus was in town this week running science workshops for our R-7 students on August 13-14.

The lively presentations, run by science graduates studying for a Master of Science Communication Outreach, focused on 'Balance' and 'Flight' and were warmly received by our students.

Classes made paper aircraft, modelled twirling seeds, rode a balloon hovercraft and attempted to construct bird nests from straws to support water balloons.

Feedback from the staff and students was very positive and the entertaining, knowledgeable and very personable presenters commented favourably on our students' involvement and behaviour.

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