The CQUniversity Science Education Experience event will be open to teachers and pre-service teachers during National Science Week, on Saturday and Sunday August 22-23.
The event’s organisers recently received an $18,266 grant from Queensland Gas Company (QGC) to expand the initiative, which is also supported by the Fitzroy Basin Association, and a range of industry partners.
Coordinator and CQUniversity Research Fellow, Dr Linda Pfeiffer, said CQUniversity’s Gladstone Marina campus location was a perfect hub for teachers’ practical experiences.
“We’ll look at a number of aspects of environmental science in Gladstone – from water quality testing in our lab, to a guided industry bus tour, a Botanic Gardens visit, and a networking event with long-time wildlife educator Ranger Stacey from Totally Wild,” Pfeiffer said.
CQUniversity graduate and first-year teacher, Mirrin Rashleigh, who will be among the attendees, said linking science to primary students’ real life experience of their environments was crucial.
“You often hear that kids today never get outside – but actually, they loving exploring the outdoors, and you can see how that really fires their passion for science and understanding how the environment works,” Mirrin said.
“Developing new creative ways to teach science and help students make that connection is a great opportunity – and it’s great to have it in Central Queensland.”
Pfeiffer said the event would be “a great opportunity” for teachers to experience first-hand how local organisations and businesses are using environmental science in the real world.
A stronger focus on science education is part of a broader push to get students involved in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.
The Federal Government has estimated that up to 75% of the areas with fastest-growing jobs will require STEM skills, something many schools are becoming increasingly aware of as students prepare to enter the workforce.
Recognising the growth of this sector and the skills associated with it, the Federal Government last year provided $12m towards boosting STEM education, including funding for computer coding and maths summer schools.
The move was followed by the Government’s announcement in January that new primary teaching graduates will have a subject specialisation which could include maths.
Each session at the upcoming event will be linked to the Australian Curriculum Science, and the $150 cost per participant includes all resources, sessions and meals. For CQUniversity students, the subsidised cost is just $50.
Registration closes on Friday, August 7, and participants also receive a certificate to meet Professional Development requirements.