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Celebrating STEM: Proudly pioneering STEM for girls

How we celebrate STEM

Our vision for STEM is for students to be passionately engaged in the areas of STEM and develop their potential to thrive in their future. The outcome is a dynamic K-12 network that fosters sharing ideas, resources, experience, encouragement and engagement with innovative teaching tools that are relevant to the world of STEM today and in the future.


Junior School


Biological Sciences features as an area of interest including native animal habitat observations of a native frog enclosure, the introduction of scientific record keeping and regular visits from a Zoologist.


Classes investigate structures, materials and their properties and design process. Students have worked collaboratively to construct towers using a variety of materials to help support the beanstalk from popular fairy tale ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’.

Year 1

Students are introduced to coding with small programmable robots. They engage in a range of activities requiring them to develop spatial awareness and direction to develop a sequence of code for the robots to follow.

Year 2

Chemical Science lessons have involved STEM Researcher in Residence Ellen Fortini from Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. Regular weekly classroom sessions have immersed students in activities combining inquiry, construction, inventing and developing colour coded maps
to guide tiny line sensing Ozobots to perform a series of manoeuvres.

Year 3

Students have launched into their investigations of mathematics concepts of Measurement and Geometry using robots. Students coded ProBots to perform actions, navigate a maze and even plot shapes using special pens.

Year 4

The use of ICT increases and opportunities are skilfully introduced to enhance student learning as they access learning from Windows tablet notebooks. A highlight for many students has been visiting the Junior School STEM Lab for robotics lessons.

Year 5

This marks the start of the Notebook Program where high use of ICT becomes normalised. Students use Google Sketch design to construct virtual galleries, and MIT Scratch to develop video games. Students also have the opportunity to enter the Australian STEM Video Game Challenge.

Year 6

Classes use Microsoft Kodu, a visual programmingapplication, to construct 3D video games. They are also given the opportunity to develop 21st Century learning skills of collaboration, knowledge construction, real-world problem solving and innovation, use of ICT, self-regulation and communication skills.

Secondary School

Maths Mentor Program

Our Maths Mentor Program provides varied learning experiences to engage, excite and challenge students. The students are involved in many extension courses, some that are unique to Penrhos, including the Visiting Mathematician program and attending international mathematics competitions. Our Maths Mentors include some top mathematicians. The highlight of the year is MathsNight@Penrhos, which celebrates what the students have been doing in the STEM and Maths
Mentor Programs. In 2016 the Maths Mentor program won a top Australian award for its contribution to inspiring and fostering a love of mathematics in girls.

Penrhos Profs@Perkins

This is an exciting partnership between Penrhos College and the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. Year 11 students work with young scientists looking at some of the most complex health issues facing society, including cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

USA Space Camp and STEM Tour

Girls complete an intense program on space exploration and astronaut training in addition to visiting a range of organisations and research facilities in the STEM fields. Our next tour is in 2018.

STEM afterschool activities

Several activities are offered to students interested in delving deeper into some of the STEM fields. These have included facial reconstruction, forensic science workshops, 3D printing, Photoshop, Billycart production, Astronomy, Pharmacy – compounding medicines, Engineering speakers, and creating hovercrafts.

FIRST® Robotics Competition

Teams are guided by solid principles of teamwork, graciousness, cooperation, camaraderie and professionalism while competing against each other with robots they have built and programmed. Penrhos students are privileged to participate in the international competition with the support of
mentors from Curtin University.

Whole School

Future Problem Solving

The international educational program focuses on the development of critical, creative and futuristic thinking skills. For the past three years, Penrhos is proud to have had teams achieve fantastic results at national level and travel to the USA to compete in the international competitions.


This fun, exciting and engaging competition has the same feel of a sporting event. Teams of up to 10 build, program and compete with a robot, while learning about a modern problem in science and engineering, and developing solutions for it.