Students get their hands on STEM at the Tech Schools Maker Faire

When Thomas Bitmatta was in primary school, he saw someone flying a tricopter drone and asked them what it was.

Five years later, the St Monica's College VCE student is a world championship-winning drone pilot and passing his passion and knowledge on to today's curious primary school students.

Thomas was one of the many secondary school students demonstrating different Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) activities at Banyule Nillumbik and Whittlesea Tech Schools's Maker Faire.

The Maker Faire gave more than 400 primary school students a hands-on experience in simulation, 3D printing, robotics and microbit computer programming.

Thomas ran a drone piloting demonstration for primary students, which he said was 'really fun'.

'They loved it!' Thomas says. 'They had heaps of questions. They were curious about what it is, how they can get into it, the tech behind it – the interest is there.'

'Being able to share what we do with the younger generation – it was really special.

It was awesome.'

World Champion

Earlier this year, Thomas competed in the World Championships of Drone Piloting in the US while finishing his final year of VCE at St Monica's College.

Thomas says it was hard to organise both, but keeping to a schedule, and support from teachers and family helped him focus.

He won the World Cup and Spec Races at the World Championships of Drone Piloting, and achieved the ATAR score he needs to get into a mechatronics engineering course at university.

Studying STEM

Thomas studied two maths subjects, English, and two science subjects. He says studying STEM subjects benefits his life as a drone pilot.

'Maths, comprehension, research, talking to people – the sum of what you learn from school is what helps,' Thomas says.

'I'm also getting into the designing aspect, so I'm sure that stuff will come in handy.'

More Tech Schools and Maker Faires for Victoria

Banyule Nillumbik and Whittlesea Tech Schools Executive Director Marc Blanks says older role models give young kids confidence and curiosity to explore the STEM fields.

'When students like Thomas share their passion with younger students, it can inspire kids to innovate from a young age,' Mr Blanks says.

'Giving students the freedom to pursue projects that are authentic, meaningful and based on their own passions provides opportunities for a more personalised and inclusive learning experience for all.'

Maker Faire will become an annual event when the Banyule Nillumbik and Whittlesea Tech Schools officially open next year.

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