Daniel Kaars is a former engineer who recently transitioned to teaching, and now works at Perth College as a Year 6 teacher and after-school STEaM club facilitator. We are lucky enough to have him as a facilitator for the upcoming Space Engineering school holiday course.
Daniel has worked on a range of very interesting projects over the years, developing his character strengths of curiosity, creativity and fairness.
“I think most students are curious, so I feel I can appeal to their sense of wonder about new topics and help them to dig deeper,” Daniel said, as he considered how his character strengths enhance his role as an educator.
A range of topics stimulate Daniel’s curiosity, including:
- How artificial intelligence will make life easier for people doing mundane tasks and what jobs will become automated in the future
- Space and where humans will be in 100 years, including how we will build transport to get there
- Nutrition and health, including what foods extend a healthy lifestyle and how we can use hormesis to our advantage
- Gamification and its role in teaching
- Nature, including cloud formations, bird watching, and finding the best form of clean energy
During his time as a mechatronics engineer, Daniel programmed ABB robotic arms for various applications in factories around Perth. He has designed front-end loaders for tractors and a number of other agricultural products.
While working for Sydney-based company, ResMed, Daniel also designed facial masks for people with sleep apnoea. As part of that job, he worked overseas and lived in a range of countries – most recently, China.
Daniel said there were plenty of difficult experiences to overcome, but one in particular still resonated with him.
“I had to troubleshoot various problems with tooling (the mould you make all of your parts from) in the manufacturing base in Shanghai,” he said.
“A lot of engineering is just like that – quickly figuring out what the problem is and then designing a quick and workable solution.”
Daniel is looking forward to running the Space Engineering course and challenging gifted girls to think outside the box. He is also excited to push his own limits of knowledge in the field and observing how the students approach difficult design problems.
As part of the course, participants will learn about space engineering, employ gamification to think critically and creatively to solve problems, explore areas they are curious about and apply this to a deep-thinking engineering design challenge.