Scientists and Science Teachers Collaborate for STEMM
Professor Nanthi Bolan and Associate Professor Silvia Frisia from The University of Newcastle were invited to present and be part of a forum panel for Year 11 & 12 teachers on Saturday 4th June at the University of Sydney.
The conference was organised and conducted by the Science Teacher’s Association of NSW to provide Professional Development for teachers of Year 11 & 12 Earth & Environmental Science, Biology and Senior Science.
Importantly, the conference also provided a forum where the teachers and academics could collaboratively consider both the ways in which Science students can be better prepared to enter and succeed in university STEMM courses, as well as be better supported within those courses to achieve greater success, particularly in the 1st year.
Prior to the forum, a combined series of keynotes, targeted workshops and seminars were provided to meet the needs of these teachers.
Professor Nanthi Bolan’s keynote speech led delegates on a journey using examples of both past and current issues and innovations, revealing how science, through rigorous investigation, collaboration and creative problem solving, continually works to achieve and maintain clean land, water and air, so essential for the health of all living things.
The workshop conducted by Associate Professor Silvia Frisia told the story of the global changes in the Earth’s climate from earliest times, through the evidence provided by the analysis of ice cores and cave stalagmite sections; with a simulation of the latter enabling teachers to conduct their own engaging hands-on analysis of the evidence on the day.
Both presenters pointed out the collaborative nature of their work, supporting the STEMM nature of scientific endeavour. The presentations primarily enabled the teachers to update their knowledge and understanding in relation to cutting edge research, practices and technologies aligned to the curriculum areas their courses address. This knowledge also enables teachers to show students how what they are learning relates to real world science, which helps teachers to increase the student’s awareness of the meaningful purpose behind the learning as well as insight into careers in Science.
The interaction of Science Teachers and Scientists is likely to be crucial to support a greater engagement of our school students with STEMM subjects. Greater engagement is necessary in order to see the essential importance of science to the well-being of us all and our planet, to see the beauty of science as it reveals the wonder of all that surrounds us from the microscopic to the infinite. This leads to greater motivation for students to experience the excitement of the pursuit of science as ‘questions that become journeys of investigation and discovery, that lead to the creativity necessary to find important answers and drive innovation’.