ABC Splash recently hosted a live chat with ICT integrator Ian Fairhurst. He talked about the importance of STEM in Primary Schools and then answered the questions posted during the event.
The key takeaway was that of identifying and maximising student passion and creativity, and that facilitating real world skills in learning activities is essential when teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) to primary students.
We are over the moon, here in LA. We have just finished the 2017 Intel ISEF Grand Awards Ceremony and our girls have performed tremendously. Last year was our previous best performance with four 4th place Grand Award prizes and 1 special Award.
This year we won the same number of awards but our level of achievement was higher again. We received a 1st, two 3rd’s and a 4th Grand Award and one Special Award last night.
This is the first time that any Australian student has ever won a 1st place award at ISEF in the 17 years that we have competed.
Our 2016 Young Scientist of the Year, Macinley Butson from The Illawarra Grammar School took out the first place award in a category called Translational Medical Science.
Mary-Anne Poyitt from Redeemer Baptist School took out 3rd place in Plant Sciences.
Rebekah Kang from PLC Sydney took out 3rd place in Energy Environmental.
Jade Moxey from Sapphire Coast Anglican School took out 4th place in the category of Animal Sciences.
Last night Eleanor Lawton-Wade from PLC Sydney won a Special Award with the King Abdul-Aziz & his Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity Award
Broadcom MASTERS International 2017 Delegate (Sponsored by Broadcom, but still part of the Young Scientist team)
Ever noticed how much air is in a chip packet? Eliza set out to investigate whether the presence of air really does help reduce chip breakage, as claimed by the manufacturers. She filled bags with chips and varying volumes of air and then dropped a mass on each. By counting how many fragments resulted she was able to establish that that air does help cushion the chips. So, if you don’t like your chips whole then be grateful for all the air in the package!
Bushfires and other damage to bushland have an enormous impact on the surrounding environment and the delicate ecological balance. Mary-Anne used ANONA Analysis and the Simpson Index to test species variation in a bushland environment by three measures: the soil type, distance from the creek and elevation from the creek. Her study may help ecologists revive plants near creeks and in other natural environments in Australia.
When working on her family farm in Bega, Jade Moxey often sees sheep feeding on fireweed. It made her wonder whether this toxic weed is moving through the food chain onto the dinner plate. Fireweed contains Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids (PAs) which can be toxic. Jade studied whether PAs entered the food chain as a result of sheep feeding on the toxic weed. She conducted blood testing, liver analysis and liver histopathology to determine whether residual PAs were present in the tissue of sheep.
Investigating the effects of increased freshwater temperature on a number of abiotic factors, as well as on populations of phytoplankton, zooplankton and algae, Eleanor collected numerous measurements and conducted a rigorous statistical analysis of the data in order to ascertain the statistical significance of her results. She thus assessed the validity of her results and their significance for the impact of climate change on the biodiversity of freshwater environments.
With an average of 21 Australians drowning each year in ocean rips and 90 percent of beach rescues related to rips, many swimmers lives would be saved if they were alerted in advance to avoid dangerous beaches. Inspired by her work as a lifeguard, Maddison King developed a warning system for rips, powered by the rips themselves. A turbine in her device uses the energy from the rip to power a warning signal to swimmers. Her biggest challenge was making the device waterproof and establishing an anchoring system that would not interfere with the turbine.
A quick clean-up of oil spills can reduce the devastating consequences of these environmental disasters on marine environments. Rebekah Kang developed a method for separating oil from water by using magnets, pantyhose and feathers. She found that magnetite granules sprinkled on oil were able to separate oil from water when swept by a device containing a magnet and organic materials such as feathers. She hopes her research could be the basis for a more effective natural clean up method of oil spills in the future.
A good scientific investigation uses a systematic approach to answer questions about the world around us. Ann Hanna, Professional Development Officer of the STANSW Young Scientist Awards Committee, explains how students can carry out investigations that are not only systematic, but also reliable and engaging. Read the full article on the ABC Splash site here
Australian scientific equipment supplier Rowe Scientific has committed significant financial support to ASTA and each state Science Teachers’ Association over the next 5 years. The STANSW Young Scientist Awards will benefit by receiving $10,000 annually, for which $8,000 will go directly into student and school prizes. This $8,000 will be allocated to the following three areas:
$3,000 will go towards 3 grants of $1,000 for schools that are either rural or remote, have a high percentage of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds or have a high portion of indigenous students. Schools who satisfy one or more of these criteria and have two or more entries from Year 7-12 students in the 2016 STANSW Young Scientist Awards are eligible for one of these grants. Each grant will include at least $500 in resources (scientific equipment selected by the grant-winning school) and a visit from a Young Scientist Committee member who will run a training session for the staff of the grant-winning school.
$700 will go towards prizes of $400, $200 and $100 for the Rowe Scientific Equipment Prize for three Year 7-12 students who best utilise scientific equipment in designing their solution to a scientific or technological problem.
$4,300 will be allocated to increasing the value of all Working Scientifically, Working Technologically and Working Mathematically category awards by at least $50. Now, all of our 36 primary category awards and 36 secondary category awards will be at least $100 in value. Rowe Scientific are specifically contributing to extra prizemoney for secondary students and funds from BHP Billiton Foundation are being redirected to increase our primary prizes.