Western Sydney students were given a chance to see how technology impacts the world around them as part of the annual Big Day In Junior, held at Hilltop Road Public School in Merrylands.

The event comprised 600 students from Years 5 and 6, some of whom had been specifically selected by their teachers for their efforts in STEM subjects, to attend and participate in a series of interactive and fun STEM learning activities.

The event was supported by a number of organisations across the tech sector, including ACS, which provided each student with a t-shirt.

Co-ordinating the day was ACS Foundation, which runs similar events around the country for high school students and university students.

Executive Director of the ACS Foundation, John Ridge, said the Big Day In Junior initiative was a way to get young students thinking about a future in STEM.

“I think it plants the seed for the future,” he said.

“It’s not about convincing them all that they’ve got to go into a STEM career, but it’s about telling them how important STEM subjects might be, and they should consider studying STEM subjects, even if they don’t go into a STEM career.

“The ACS Foundation runs the logistics of the day, so we’ve got a lot of our partners coming along and running hands-on activities for our Years 5 and 6 students.”

Participating students were able to learn new skills while some were able to build upon prior education in activities such as coding.

Activities for the students included a digital makerspace, a coding club, video game education and the F1 in Schools STEM Challenge, all of which were supervised by various ICT professionals.

Again popular this year was the SolarBuddy station, where students constructed a 0.6W solar panel light which will later be sent to other students in disadvantaged communities.

Supporting SolarBuddy this year was WiseTech Global, after company CEO Richard White heard about the initiative.

“WiseTech is involved with the Big Day In because it’s a great opportunity for us to give back to the community, both students here locally and with our activity, the SolarBuddy lights, which give back to students in developing communities,” said WiseTech Student Engagement Manager, Des Saunders.

The organisations that ran classes at Big Day in Junior 2017 were: Adobe, Animal Logic, Apple, Atlassian, Code Club, Code Rangers, CSIRO, F1 in Schools, Gear & Gadgets, Makers Empire, Microsoft, SolarBuddy, TCS, Technology One, UTS & Westpac.