The bright sparks at Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School at Mosman managed to light up their world despite the cancellation of the popular VIVID Sydney light and music festival.
Rippling in technicolour across city buildings in the CBD and greater Sydney, the annual event has become a mid-winter highlight on many a family’s social calendar since its introduction in 2009.
The coronavirus put a halt to the 2020 event, but that didn’t stop the Year 6 students tripping the light fantastic with their own version.
During classes late last term they created stunning artworks of the city’s iconic landmarks including St Mary’s Cathedral and Sydney Tower and the Ferris wheel at Luna Park.
They then lit up the iconic facades using electronic circuitry.
The project stretched their art, coding, engineering design and problem solving skills as they found it isn’t as easy as it looks to synchronize tiny LED lights to dance across an artwork using not much more than copper wire, aluminium foil, sticky tape and a piece of glitter board.
Lachlan McRae chose to recreate the multi-coloured façade of St Mary’s Cathedral that impressed him when he went to last year’s VIVID event.
“I went to it in 2019 to look at the lights and I think it’s really cool how there were so many parts of the cathedral that were lit up,” he said.
Finn Deakin said his favourite part of creating a mini-VIVID display of Sydney Tower was seeing the end product in all its wonderful detail including red blinking lights at the topmost point.
“But it was quite satisfying sticking the copper tape and seeing if it worked or not,” he said.
“I learnt a lot about circuits and how they work and what to do if they don’t work.
“It took me a while to get the lights actually lighting up. It took trial and error quite a bit.”
Elena Cleary enjoyed recreating Luna Park’s famous Ferris wheel so much that she now wants to work in a science-related field when she grows up.
“The problem-solving was fun, finding the spot where I wanted the light on and figuring out a way to keep the light in that spot,” she said.
“I learnt that getting frustrated is fine but you have to keep going.”
Year six teacher Leanne Nicol said the project was only possible through the great leadership of the school’s science and technology coordinator Martina Peterson and collaboration with Sydney Catholic Schools and parents.
“We were really learning alongside the students as they worked through the process, which was a very sophisticated level of learning,” she said.
“It was challenging too as we had a constrained timeframe due to losing the first two weeks of term to the virus lockdown and students only returned to school full time in week 5.
“It really pushed their boundaries about art, design, engineering, and now they have to pitch their project to our assistant principal.
“The level of work each child produced is extraordinary and the sense of collaboration between students and teachers, parents, and others to get it completed was really next level.”
Principal Julie Caldwell said she was very proud of the students and teachers and the way they had approached all of the restrictions imposed on the school and community in recent months.
“They have not focused on what we can’t do but have focused on what is possible,” she said.