STEM for Humanity

For: Year 10 students


Many people around the world struggle to survive on less than two dollars a day. STEM for Humanity explores some ways that Scientists and Engineers can work with communities in developing countries to support and improve their lives, in a manner that is sustainable within the community.

The STEM For Humanity program consists of three sessions. In the first session, students are introduced to a project called “Map Kibera” where a group of Geospatial Scientists worked with the community in Kibera, Kenya, to produce a map of their district. The information on the map was used to make the local government accountable to the needs of the thousands of people who live in Kibera. During the workshop students learn some basics of Geospatial Science: how global positioning system (GPS) satellites work and how maps are produced. They then participate in a data collection exercise using GPS units around the university grounds.

In the second session, students learn about the humanitarian application of 3D printers and use CAD software to create a 3D object that can be utilized in a disaster relief situation. For example, students may create a pipeline connection to restore water to communities in Nepal after a series of earthquakes, or an umbilical cord clamp for newborn babies in Haiti.

In the final session, students work in small groups, with each group assuming the role of an engineering team working in one of a number of developing countries. Their task is to produce a water filter, made from everyday materials, that can convert dirty water to cleaner water. The filters are presented, tested and evaluated.

The program concludes with a presentation of successful engineering projects in developing communities, to show how engineering can and does improve people’s lives, and profiles some of the groups that undertake this important work.

What will students do?

Students will:

  • Use GPS units to:
    • 1. Locate important infrastructure on the University campus
    • 2. Participate in an environmental survey
    • 3. Collect location data to add to a map of the university
  • Investigate the complexities of producing a two dimensional map from a three dimensional object such as the Earth.
  • Use CAD-based software to produce a 3D object that can be used in a humanitarian situation.
  • Design, construct (within budget) and test a water filter made from everyday materials.

All activities are undertaken in the context of using STEM to improve people’s lives. Students learn how map making, satellite communication, GPS systems and 3D printing can be applied to solving environmental and humanitarian problems, and how using simple materials with sensible engineering processes can make dirty water clean.


  • As this program is a practical activity, students and accompanying adults will be required to wear closed in shoes and appropriate dress.
  • Outdoor components are also included in the program, so it would be advisable to bring hats and sunscreen.
  • Teachers will receive confirmation of booking and pre-visit information.


  All sessions from 9.30am to 2.30pm
No. of students  
Year level 

  Comments or special instructions (e.g. disabled access required)

Areas of study and research

+ Click to minimise