Running since 1992, the STANSW Young Scientist Awards is a major project of the Science Teachers’ Association of New South Wales (STANSW). It is headed up by a 15-member committee and two STANSW Executive members representing all sectors of education. The Young Scientist Committee is composed of primary teachers, secondary science, maths and technology teachers, industry leaders and even a representative from the Australian Museum. As a STEM-focused project, one of our committee members is the Senior Vice President of the Institute of Industrial Arts Technology Education (IIATE) and another Young Scientist committee member is an Executive member of the Mathematical Association of NSW (MANSW).
In 2016 the STANSW Young Scientist Awards were restructured into three major categories (i) Working Scientifically (ii) Working Technologically and (iii) Working Mathematically. The major category awards in each of these categories is headed up by the respective professional teachers’ body who are collaborating together to promote STEM education in NSW schools. These respective category awards are: (i) STANSW Scientific Investigations (Sponsored by the Science Teachers’ Association of New South Wales Inc), (ii) IIATE Models and Innovation Awards (Sponsored by the Institute of Industrial Arts Technology Education) and (iii) MANSW Working Mathematically Awards (Sponsored by the Mathematical Association of NSW Inc). Within these categories we have a host of sponsored awards that reward a large spectrum of the Working Scientifically, Working Technologically and Working Mathematically skills outlined in the respective NSW syllabuses.
For Kindergarten to Year 12 students, Young Scientist offers worthwhile incentives to carry out scientific investigations or creating an innovative device. Thanks to Sebel Furniture, our Principal sponsor, with added support from major sponsors, the Intel Foundation and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, we sent our top six Year 9-12 students to the 2016 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix (May 2016). Sebel Furniture has committed to send a team of 6 students to ISEF in Los Angeles (May 2017) and they have also committed to send a team of at least 4 students to ISEF in Pittsburgh (May 2018). The Broadcom Foundation is also sponsoring a Year 7-8 student to attend the Broadcom MASTERS International program which runs in collaboration with ISEF in Los Angeles (May 2017).
The STANSW Young Scientist Committee are giving as much support to Science, Technology and Mathematics teachers as possible through professional development activities we organise and through resources, readily available on our website. To our best knowledge, we are the only science fair in the world who have their past winning projects accessible to all teachers, parents and students. There is no set formula for setting out a project, however, following the order of one or two of these projects is the best way to start. We also have a Young Scientist Youtube Channel with nearly 30 model and innovation projects on display. Showing a few of these is the best way of launching project-based learning in any classroom environment.
As a State Fair, the STANSW Young Scientist awards forwards the majority of winning entries to the national BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards for more chances of prizes.