The full-day community event exposed a crowd of more than 500 people to physics experiments, catapults and other medieval technology, engineering challenges, an archaeological dig and frog identification using auditory DNA.
Parents on the Strathfield South school’s STEM committee organised the event, held on 4 August – a week before schools across Australia celebrated the 2018 event’s ‘Game Changers and Change Makers’ theme. It drew on the expertise of Macquarie University’s Junior Science Academy, Engineers Without Borders, Fizzics Education, Young Engineers, and The Australian Museum.
Principal Mark McKeown said the event complimented the school’s involvement in STEM education. The school’s librarian, Sally Biskupic is a university lecturer in Science education. She leads challenge-based learning at the school and introduced students to MyScience, a program that gives students a real-life scientist as a mentor while they design an experiment to solve a real-world problem.
We hope that activities like this encourage students to think about continuing study Science.
Students from De La Salle College and Bethlehem College in Ashfield also helped on the day by leading coding and engineering-based challenges for families.
“They didn’t get through the gate without experiencing something thought-provoking,” Mr McKeown said.
“One of the ideas of challenge-based learning is that children are able to follow their personal interest to meet the curriculum outcomes.
“The high number of students, and particularly girls you see in our pictures of the day that are deeply engaged in Science and Engineering is in some ways directly opposite to those that tend to stay with it as a study.
“We hope that activities like this encourage students to think about continuing study Science because that area continues to meet their interests.”
- National Science Week is on 11–19 August.