180 students in years 5 and 6 from primary schools across Newcastle LGA learnt coding and programming skills at the event which was held at The Forum on 12th September.

Staged as part of RDA Hunter’s miniME program that is being undertaken in partnership with Newcastle City Council’s Smart Moves project*, the Hackathon aimed to increase students’ collaboration and digital skills by involving them in team activities to program and control StarLAB Mars Rovers using the Scratch program. The StarLAB Mars Rover is a coding platform that helps schools teach coding and STEM in the classroom. It is an exciting way to engage students in robotics too – rovers have a 3D printed frame, high power motors and additional sensors to allow it to navigate a set course.

18 Newcastle based primary schools have been involved in the miniME program since July. Expressions of Interest for the next phase of the program are now open. 19 Newcastle LGA based schools will be accepted into the program which will run from January to June 2019.

*NCC’s Smart Moves project received grant funding from the Australian Government through its Smart Cities and Suburbs program. In addition to the $5 million Federal contribution, NCC together with partners will contribute $10 million towards 21 pilot projects that will be completed across the city over the next year