The It Takes a Spark / Youth Entrepreneurs and STEAM Conferences were created by Dr Adrian Bertolini and Rachel Manneke-Jones. We are passionate about young people thriving and knowing themselves as lifelong learners. We also know that people developing the skills and thinking underlying STEAM will give them the tools to make the difference to their future.

The Virtual STEM Expo was created to capture some of the stories and activities that students, teachers, STEM practitioners and keynotes from the cancelled 2020 Toowoomba and Melbourne conferences wanted to share. There are an amazing range of activities and stories in this Expo – take your time and enjoy!


Missing School Incorporated
Toowoomba Keynote Speaker 2021

Megan Gilmour created the Australian-first telepresence robot initiative connecting students with serious illness to their classrooms. She is a social innovator with experience across 24 countries in large-scale social change. She’s a Churchill Fellow, a keynote and TEDx Speaker, and an award-winning education ambassador for sick kids. This short video explains what Missing School does and shares the experience of Ayla, a Year 1 student from Bondi Beach Public School.


CEO of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Project Rockit
Melbourne Keynote Speaker 2021

Rosie launched PROJECT ROCKIT with her sister when she was fresh out of high school, and dedicated the last 14 years to growing Australia’s youth-driven movement against bullying, hate and prejudice. Her work has been recognised by UNICEF among the 12 Digital Champions for Children’s Rights in the Digital Age and was honoured in Washington D.C. with the International Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cybersafety. In this 10 min keynote she shares about her journey and talks about Project Rockit and cyberbullying.


Centre for Astrophysics University of Southern Queensland
Toowoomba Keynote Speaker 2021

Dr Jonti Horner shares about his journey to be an Astronomer and how he searches for planets around other stars. It is a fascinating talk and show of spectacular images! Jonti is an astronomer and astrobiologist whose research interests include the search for planets orbiting other stars (exoplanets), the formation and evolution of our Solar system, and the factors that come together to make a given planet (like the Earth) more or less suitable for the development and survival of life. He is a keen amateur astronomer and astrophotographer so expect some great images!


Superstar of STEM
RMIT University
Melbourne Keynote Speaker 2021

Dr Madeline Mitchell is a Superstar of STEM and works at RMIT University and the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre where she manages a research program to better understand the value of natural capital in farming systems. The program aims to support growers to manage their natural capital (e.g. plants and animals, soil and water) for sustainability, profitability and climate resilience. In this video Madeline shares about the journey she took to being a Plant Scientist and what she does!


Dr Derek Long from the University of Southern Queensland shares about how machine vision can be used in Agricultural scenarios. 7mins

The Year 7 students from Marian College Sunshine West share about their Little Bits Design Challenge. 4mins

Dr Michael Cowley is an Astrophysics Research and Teaching Associate at Queensland University of Technology. In this video he shares the connection of astronomy, the Emu and First Nations People. 3mins

Teacher Emma Perrett and her Year 4 students from Toorak College share the process they went through in their Year 4 Spheros Design Challenge. 10mins

Teachers Kate Brown and Madison Bishop along with their Year 7 students from Toorak College share about the process and their results from participating in a Designing for the Times STEM inspired unit. 8mins

Martin Richards from Education Services Australia does a great job explaining how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can be used to identify objects. Lots of exercises as well! 11mins

Stephen Broderick from St Ursula’s College in Toowoomba tells us about Solargraphs, how you can make them and what they represent. Check out some extraordinary images of the sun’s path from around the world. 9mins

Shane Krog from Gatton State School shares about how to create a simple robotic alarm system using Lego Mindstorm’s EV3. Great for beginning to learn coding and robotics! 9mins

Steve Liddell from Street Science demonstrates a great science experiment you can do from home – making clouds in a bottle! Steve and the Street Science team will be presenting at the 2021 Toowoomba It Takes a Spark Conferences. 7mins

Jackie Bondell is Education and Public Outreach Coordinator for OzGrav, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery. In this video Jackie has you inquire into how space time is warped. Can you predict how masses are affected by planets and stars? 8mins

Marcus Veerman from Playground Ideas and Nudel Kart shares this teacher video about how he went about solving certain challenges he saw as a designer. How do we create a culture of problem solving in schools? 10mins

Steph Piper is from the University of Southern Queensland and works in the Maker Space which is part of their library. She will share her expertise in 3D printing basics at the 2021 Toowoomba It Takes a Spark Conferences. 1min

STEM Champions from Haden State School in regional QLD share about how to use BBC Microbits with a rocking soundtrack! 5mins

The students and teachers; Nick Pattison and Lauren Sutherland from Tulliallan Primary School share some of their work on using TinkerCAD to create 3D models. 3mins

Oliver is a Year 4 student at Goombungee State School in regional QLD. In this video he shares some of the things he has been playing with using Makey Makey and Scratch. 5mins

Mick Law from Contour Education shares about a STEM project where you can investigate the noise levels around your school. 10mins

Tomas Piccinini from the University of Queensland shares the stories of 2 inspiring UQ graduates who blended STEM and Entrepreneurship to form their own businesses that make a difference in the world. 5mins

Jackie Bondell is Education and Public Outreach Coordinator for OzGrav, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery. In this video she invites you to participate in assessing stars! A great video about Astrophysics for learners of all ages! 10mins

BrainSTEM’s programs engage high school students to participate in real world STEM Innovation and Research with the guidance of a STEM mentor. In this video Sid Verma, the Founder of the not-for-profit BrainSTEM organisation, shares about the lessons, ideas and tricks to learn how to fail to succeed. 9mins

What is a Fatberg? Where are they found? What are they made of? What do Fatbergs say about us? Why would you want to put one in a museum? This video looks to answer those questions, we follow the journey of one Fatberg from Lilydale to the Melbourne Museum where it is installed on a plinth in the Gut Feelings exhibition. Along the way we will delve into the workings of the sewer system, look at how Fatbergs are formed and what are the social repercussions and implications of this phenomenon. 3mins

After watching the Fatberg video take on the design challenge from Emilie from Scienceworks to come up with solutions to the Fatberg Problem. 3mins


Rachel Manneke-Jones

Registration & Bookings
Ph: 0411 270 277
E: rachel@spark-educonferences.com.au

Dr Adrian Bertolini

Conference Co-Ordinator
Ph: 0413 036 382
E: adrian@spark-educonferences.com.au

Stay Connected

Facebook: @SparkEDUConferences
Instagram: Spark.in.STEAM
LinkedIn: spark-educonferences