Regional STEM students solve water waste with 3D printing and a little imagination


Students from Riverland Elementary Schools gathered in Berri to showcase their most imaginative inventions to promote water conservation.

Younger generations learn the importance of saving water by designing innovative solutions to real-life water use problems in a world-wide STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) challenge. South Australia.

The challenge, facilitated by SA Water and IT company SA Makers Empire, is being held at Berri Primary School as a satellite event for pupils in Riverland alongside a larger exhibition in Adelaide.

Students were able to use 3D printing to demonstrate their inventions.

Jordan and Jack, students from Cobdogla Primary School, show off their 3D prototypes.(ABC Riverland: Sophie Landau)

Inspired by real-world issues

Berri Elementary School STEM coordinator Zack Plaquet said the challenge jump-started students’ creative problem-solving skills.

“Kids had this freedom to think about the problems they saw around school, around their house or anything related to water,” he said.

“They have to use their skills and knowledge to try to solve problems.”

A pink block that says 5:00 STOP, GO
Amy Simon’s shower timer was inspired by people who enjoy long, hot showers in cold weather.(ABC Riverland: Sophie Landau)

Berri Elementary School Grade 3 students, Amy Simon and Nardia Gilles, came up with solutions to the water usage issues they noticed around the house.

Amy’s group invented a shower timer after noticing prolonged water use due to cold winter weather.

“When you step into the shower, you enter a number into the timer and the maximum is 10 minutes,” she said.

“I get in the shower and I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s a little cold outside’, but before I created the shower timer, my mom told me to get out, but I’m like, ‘I don’t want to no I think I’ll just stay inside.

“Our shower timer will automatically turn off the water and you’ll know it’s time to step outside.”

A pink disc and a red disc held by a young student.
This spill-proof pet waterer is one of the objects invented by the students.(ABC Riverland: Sophie Landau)

No spillage for pets

Meanwhile, Nardia Gilles’ group wanted to create a way to reduce water waste when feeding their pets.

The invention is contoured to the floor to prevent tipping and features a button and release system that shoots water into the air for the dog to drink.

“The leftover water will go into a bowl and the dog will drink it or it will go through a filter and be reused,” Nardia said.

Three elementary school students stand in front of a classroom
Students from Berri, Monash, Glossop and Cobdogla primary schools present their ideas.(ABC Riverland: Sophie Landau)

Students said they liked learning science at school because it gave them a new way of thinking about the world.

“I really love science and had a lot of fun,” Amy said.

“I hope the inventions will enter the real world because I want to save a lot more water.”


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