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St. Mary's Grade 8 pitches their innovative projects

St. Mary's School Grade 8 students were at the Southeast TechHub on May 10 to pitch innovative projects they developed under the guidance of teacher Agnes Garrioch.

ESTEVAN — St. Mary's School Grade 8 students were at the Southeast TechHub on May 10 to pitch innovative projects they developed under the guidance of teacher Agnes Garrioch.

While everyone was recognized as a winner at the end and received a gift card from project partner Southern Plains Co-op, the jury, consisting of TechHub's executive director Gordon More, Estevan's innovation council chair Rebecca Foord and Joseph Toth with the National Research Council Canada, asked students questions to help them improve their ideas and keep growing.

Garrioch pointed out that the innovation pitch, hosted at the Southeast TechHub's second anniversary, highlighted the innovative solutions St. Mary's students created to address local, provincial, national and global problems through technology.

"Through the past two months, our students engaged in a dynamic process of brainstorming issues that mattered to them. From this, they identified significant problems and, using the design thinking model, worked diligently to devise tech-based solutions. This method not only fostered creativity but also honed their ability to think critically and iteratively," Garrioch said, explaining the process.

The pitch competition allowed the students to showcase their prototypes and ideas, which they did with confidence and poise, Garrioch said.

"Their ability to articulate their ideas and respond thoughtfully to inquiries demonstrated the depth of their understanding and thoroughness of their preparation," she noted.

"This project also significantly enhanced the student's skills in communication, research and technology application. They utilized a variety of tech tools, including Arduino, Micro:bit, AI, robotics, 3D printer, CSS, JavaScript, and app creation platforms to bring their innovations to life. Watching them navigate and master these technologies was incredibly rewarding. As their teacher, I am incredibly proud of our students' achievements, and witnessing their pride and success, truly makes me excited for where their ingenuity and skills will take them next."

The projects varied from apps and software to robotics and more.

Ideas featured during the event were: a GSS or grocery store sensor – a system which would improve shopping experience for visually impaired people (by Samantha, Marchette, Ayesha and Ashanti); the Eezy Breezy Fan on Wheels – a robot allowing people to cool down on the go (by Ethan and Kelsey); Bye Sunburn – a system alerting the user when to put sunscreen to prevent sun damage (by Jill and Izzy); Dogi – an app aimed at simplifying dog care (by Madzia and Maddy); a Sibling Detector – a system aimed at alerting siblings in case of room invasion (by Grace, Kaylee and Ava); a food delivery drone (by Johnelle and Cale); PhoneSafe – a system to store cellphones safely during school hours (by Princess and Joeben); Ecoquest – game aimed at improving the ecology (by Micheal and Lucas); the Pill Provider (by Nathan); the Legdo mower – a robotic lawnmower (by Anton and Zander); Family Finder (by Joel and Carter), the Infinity Crate (by Kale and Lexxus), and Minecraft Sorting Machine (by CJ and Derek).

Students shared their feedback on their experiences. Some said developing a prototype was their favourite part, while others enjoyed the pitch or teamwork components of the project. Some said they appreciated the problem-solving approach.

"My favourite part about working on my innovation project was when we had succeeded in our goal. Mine was so that it could go by itself with my program. Once I had figured that out, I was really happy and that was my biggest moment," said Peyton, who was a part of the group working on Eezy Breezy Fan on Wheels.

"My favourite part about working on our innovation was getting to test out new technology that I haven't used before. This includes creating a game, making a sensor from an Arduino, using a 3D printer, and coding. This innovation project gave me an opportunity to improve my skills with technology as well as having fun," said Marchette, who was a part of the team working on Grocery Store Sensor.

"My favourite part about working on my innovation is having more ideas every time I work on it," said Madzia, who was a co-creator of Dogi.

Wrapping up the event, More encouraged the students to keep working on their ideas.

"The great, great grandfather of Spotify was created by a 16-year-old kid in Exeter, England. So just because you're not adults, doesn't mean you can't create a business. So, if you want to take this to the next level, not just us here at the TechHub, but all of us in the community would love to see you do that," More said.