Energy Breakthrough may have been cancelled for 2020, but that hasn’t stopped Carisbrook Primary School. The rural school has stayed engaged in the STEM program during Victoria’s remote learning period, with plans for an Energy Breakthrough race to be held on school grounds this term.
Carisbrook Primary School is situated in central Victoria, just seven kilometres from Maryborough. Brady Neill, a senior school teacher at Carisbrook, says Energy Breakthrough and the Maryborough event are an annual highlight for both students and teachers.
‘At Carisbrook it’s been a really strong focus in the senior unit since we started it here,’ he said.
‘When Energy Breakthrough was cancelled this year there was a lot of disappointment (among) the students.
‘You could tell when the kids came back to school…there was nothing for them to look forward to in term 4.’
Still, despite the many interruptions of this year, Carisbrook’s senior school teachers have forged ahead with their Energy Breakthrough programming.
‘There are a few of us in the senior unit who are supporting this,’ Mr Neill said.
‘It’s been reasonably good because we’ve tried to keep the same process as the normal Energy Breakthrough.’
Throughout term three, a variety of homework sheets were distributed to students as an initial engagement with the Energy Breakthrough program.
‘It’s based around the concept of energy breakthrough; we did Sustainability, Improving Fitness, Looking at the EBT Handbook and understanding the specifications of the trikes and the event,’ Mr Neill said.
‘Students were required to read it, then answer questions and do a test on it.’
Carisbrook PS is fortunate to have a number of training trikes, which have been useful for students practicing for the racing component of their school’s event. The school’s entire senior unit is involved in the program.
‘There’s 70 students and within that we’ll have eight teams of five, who will be riders, do the display and presentation, design and scrutiny area, and race,’ Mr Neill said.
‘Our other 30 kids are going to be Marshalls and pit crew members,’ he said.
‘For the track we’re planning to design, they will create the flags and do a lot of things Energy Breakthrough marshals might do.
‘They’re going to set the standard and the rules for the event.’
The Carisbrook event will include as much of the regular Energy Breakthrough requirements as possible.
‘Our day will be around the same time as Energy Breakthrough,’ Mr Neill said.
A student from Carisbrook using a training trike.
‘The students will do a time trial around a track they’ve created, then they’ll do a display and presentation, (and) then they’ll present their trikes, go over a bit of design and construction work and all the safety features,’ he said.
‘We’re fortunate because a few of the teachers here have done Energy Breakthrough previously, so we’ve been able to understand the sort of questions the judges would be asking.’
It’s also been a good opportunity to give grade 5 students a chance to practise and understand what Energy Breakthrough is.
‘It’s been good to prepare them for our selection process,’ Mr Neill said
‘And if we can have some sort of race at the school where there is that buzz, the excitement of it all,it’s preparing them for the basis of Energy Breakthrough,’ he said.
Students sketching training trikes.
Students learning about Energy Breakthrough.
The Carisbrook Energy Breakthrough day will be held in late November.
‘A lot of students are saying how good it is that we’re going to ride, because they’ve looked forward to it – having brothers, sisters, cousins who have been in the event,’ Mr Neill said. ‘They seem really excited (and) there is definitely more of a buzz around the senior school now they can look forward to the race.’
There are even plans to broadcast the event on the school’s social media.
‘We’re planning on, for the race and presentation, getting on Facebook Live, so at least there is a platform to view the race for the parents who can’t come in,’ Mr Neill said.
This has been a combined effort by Matt Walker, Kate McLoughlin, Chris Longmuire, Mr Neill and all the Carisbrook staff.