Design thinking changes the game for challenge winners

The future of the planet just took a step towards greater sustainability with the winners of the Game Changer Challenge announced for 2021.

Image: Orange High School champions Patrick Naidoo, Samuel Cox, Emmanuel Peter, Josh Dolle and Harrison Miller

The creative minds of students from across the state wowed judges with sustainability solutions involving water reduction, upcycling clothes, education programs and reducing single-use plastic at the Game Changer Challenge Ultimate Final on 15 December 2021.

Year 8 students Samuel Cox, Josh Dolle, Harrison Miller, Patrick Naidoo and Emmanuel Peter from Orange High School created a filtration device that would enable water reuse in a family washing machine, stemming from personal experience of drought.

The team set about designing a filtration tank which would allow the same water to be used for up to 10 loads of laundry before being released into a grey water system. Using CAD software to develop models, the team is confident their closed loop system has real-world application.

“Water is wasted on a daily basis, with the biggest culprit being washing machines. Many use 120 litres per wash,” said Josh.

In Nowra, Emmi Daniel, Blake Holbrow, Poon Panapunnang, Mah Rukh Kashif and Lizzie Davis from Nowra Public School upcycled old shirts to provide dignity by replacing bibs for people with disabilities. Their workable prototype not only provides a solution for reducing clothing waste, it also helps provide dignity for people with disabilities. Their bib replacements have the appearance of a normal shirt, but help keep a person struggling to eat clean.

“People liked it because it showed that we were thinking about the dignity of a disabled person,” Emmi said.

Advocate winners from Armidale Secondary College and Jerrabomberra Public School developed innovative programs to educate young people on sustainability.

Jerrabomberra Public School is already implementing the winning ideas, including introducing ‘Nude Food Day’, which encouraged students to bring food in a lunch box without any wrapping, and selling reuseable beeswax food wraps at the school office. Nude Food Day showed a measurable difference with almost zero plastic in the school on that day.

The Game Changer Challenge encourages students to develop critical and reflective thinking skills while collaborating in a team by solving a real-world ‘wicked’ problem. This year, almost 400 teams of students were asked to tackle the problem of humans having unlimited needs, but the planet having limited capacity to satisfy them.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, Sarah Mitchell congratulated the winners for their originality and innovation.

“These students are role models in their schools and communities. With their creativity and enthusiasm for sustainability, I have no doubt our future is in safe hands,” Ms Mitchell said.

“They’ve embraced the design thinking and future-focused skills that have enabled them to become creative problem solvers and I can’t wait to see the impact their creativity brings in years to come.”

This year’s challenge is proudly supported by our partners: University of NSW, Winc., Aruba, ASPECT Studios, Food Ladder, HP, KPMG, Leo Burnett, Microsoft, Mott MacDonald, PwC and Renew IT.

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