Flinders Design Students Create New Sports Toys

Skateboarders and fishing fanatics may soon have new toys to enjoy thanks to the creativity of two Year 9 Design students at Matthew Flinders Anglican College on the Sunshine Coast.

Flinders Year 9 students Natasha and Jude are enjoying the College’s new Design subject for Years 9-12 which teaches students design thinking and challenges them to create products, services or environments that meet human needs and opportunities for a better world.

Design student Natasha has created a skateboard prototype that enables the rider to improve their skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing skills with the one board.

Natasha’s aim is that by riding the skateboard designed especially for the three sports, the rider would be able to practise their technique and skills year-round, no matter the season being experienced.

Jude – a keen fisherman – has designed a sturdy and reliable double fishing rod holder that solves the age-old problem of fishing rods falling out of unstable holders when bumped in passing or when pulled by something in the water.

Flinders’ Head of Technologies Natalle Sutton said there had been strong student interest in the new Design and Technologies Department, introduced to the College in January 2019.

“This year, 100 of our students across Years 9-12 have elected to study Design, while all Years 7 and 8 students study the IDEAS program, encompassing Innovation, Design, Engineering, Arts and Science,” Natalle said.

“Design prepares students for an array of study and career options, such as architecture, digital media design, fashion design, graphic design, industrial design, interior design and landscape architecture," she said.

“Students are also excited to learn that design is at the heart of the world around us, with many industries relying on innovative and creative thinkers to solve problems.

“Our teachers are guiding students to design, create, problem solve and challenge themselves to achieve beyond their own expectations.

“It’s wonderful to see students embrace the process of innovating to solve a problem using a unique solution.

“Natasha and Jude are just two students who have chosen to focus on their passions for recreation and explore how design can enhance these activities.”

Flinders provides Design students with quality laboratory facilities and tools along with innovative technologies such as the newly purchased plastic heat press machine that uses recycled plastic waste to create sheets of plastic to use when designing new products.

The new technology has inspired Flinders to establish a partnership with CleanTech Industries on the Sunshine Coast, giving students the opportunity to visit CleanTech’s plastic recycling site and learn about sustainable solutions to encourage creative and innovative designs.

Design student Natasha said she found the subject challenging yet enjoyable.

“I love the endless opportunities available when creating a new design,” Natasha said.

“Flinders provides an environment where we can let our creativity run wild, while supporting us to remain grounded and be reasonable,” she said.

“Our Design teachers at Flinders are very encouraging of our ideas and projects and they teach us many new things along the way.

“I also love the accessibility of materials, machines and new technology that is available for us to use.”

Jude said he appreciated the self-guided approach to Design at Flinders.

“I found this project to be interesting, fun and practical as I built a functional prototype for a desired hobby that interests me,” Jude said.

“During the project, I learned that I am very determined to do well and complete my prototype to the best of my ability,” he said.

Image caption: Flinders Year 9 students, (L-R) Jude and Natasha, with their new prototypes. 

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