Year 9 Automation Challenge Creating Future Coders

A CLC student in a white shirt with long blond hair sitting in front of a computer smiling with the microbit she is coding

12 July 2021

Throughout Term 2, Year 9 Digital Technologies students have undertaking an automation challenge that requires them to simulate controlling autonomous vehicles in the mining industry.

As part of the challenge, students must calibrate their vehicles and code an algorithm to move the vehicle over underwater coral, drill and blast fields, haul iron ore in trucks and explore mine sites for resources. The program utilises hardware such as Microbit and Microcar as well as coding software.

The course was developed by Grok Learning, University of Sydney, and major Australian mining companies. Coastal Lakes College is one of the only schools in the metro area participating in the program.

Students are utilising their visual coding skills to solve real world problems whilst being exposed to new technologies and development within the mining industry.

The challenge requires participants to persist with tasks and solve problems whilst using their critical thinking skills to debug their algorithm in order to complete each step of the challenge.

“In addition to being a great hands-on learning activity, the challenge encourages students to demonstrate our College values. Through their demonstration of grit, persistence and learning tough, they are believing in themselves and others. As they solve problems and work through the task they are achieving their goals, demonstrating success. The hands-on nature of the activity, that simulates mine sites helps to prepare students for their future and inspires them to start thinking about the opportunities that are open to them. By encouraging students to imagine the possibilities, they start thinking about what goes on beyond the classroom”, said Andrea Gill, our Digital Technologies teacher.

The challenge allows the students an opportunity to apply their 21st-Century STEAM skills in a setting outside of school (albeit it virtual!). As a result, some of our students are showing an interest in following a career pathway within the resources sector and are enjoying the exposure to life on a mine site and innovations with autonomous vehicle management.

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