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STEMfit. The maths of motion: Traditional arts meets modern science

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  • Ngukurr School
    State Route 20, Ngukurr NT 0852, Australia

Sport and physical play is a creative medium most children identify strongly with. Sport is ingrained in the Australian psyche and highly valued, yet STEM skills, widely recognised as essential for the jobs of tomorrow suffer a lack of interest to the same degree as sport in general. This will link activities of the remote southern Arnhem Land school at Ngukurr and evening market festivities.

At the market, participants in traditional cultural activities (including students of the Ngukurr school) will have their movements monitored using elite athlete technologies from the STEMfit program. How novice students move, compared to how their competent elders move will be analysed at school as part of National Science Week, using techniques such as wearable sensors, video analysis and radar guns.

By linking a traditional art to STEM, students will act as their own elite athletes and sports scientists to understand how their body moves, how they can improve and challenge their friends. What will be compared with STEMfit technologies will include traditional dance activities, throwing activities, running and jumping.

This project seeks to compliment the highly successful STEMfit program developed in remote NT schools to engage indigenous children in STEM activities. STEMfit uses the tools of sports science and wearable technology, where students investigate their movement patterns using STEM principles.

This short 2'50" video is a brief introduction to STEMfit.

The scope of this project is to a deliver STEM educational experiences through physical play and measuring traditional indigenous cultural experiences (through physical movement) to learn principles of biomechanics, physics and data management.

These National Science Week activities will be a springboard for on going units of work.