Day 72. Science for primary schools

In October 2012 on October 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm

For two years I’ve been the Parents and Friends representative on the board of my daughter’s primary school. It’s been a very enlightening experience, and I have a enhanced level of respect for the heads of schools and their support staff. The constant pressure to create and deliver good teaching programs, plan for the future and manage the daily interests of children, teachers, parents and other stakeholders in the community is an incredibly difficult and often demanding job.

This week I put together a list of free Australian science enhancement programs and activities for the board, as the school expressed a desire to develop this area of teaching in the coming years.

Here is a version of that list:

Scientists in Schools
Scientists in Schools, which includes the sub-program Mathematicians in Schools, is a national program that creates and supports long-term partnerships between teachers and scientists or mathematicians. Partnerships are flexible to allow for a style and level of involvement that suits each participant. As an example, CSIRO Fellow Elizabeth Heij was partnered with Galilee Catholic School, Aldinga SA. During this 4-year partnership, Elizabeth worked across all year levels in the primary school, highlighting the science in class topics and emphasizing observation, testing, measurement and recording skills.

MyScience is an award-winning program that brings in people (with science knowledge) from outside the school to support the teaching of science in primary schools. MyScience establishes a sustainable model of collaboration between schools, industry/business and university sectors. It aims to stimulate interest and enhance capacities of primary science teachers and students in conducting authentic scientific investigations.

I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here!
I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here! is an award-winning science enrichment and engagement activity that has been running in the UK for three years. It’s an Australian Idol-style competition for scientists, where students are the judges. Scientists (usually Australian, but sometimes from overseas) and students at Australian schools (years 7-10) ‘talk’ on the website, via question-and-answer platforms and live moderated chat sessions. Supporting material offers opportunities for extended learning related to topics covered in the Q&A and chats. Students vote for their favourite scientist, and the winner receives a cash prize to spend on science communication and outreach. This resource operates as a discrete program running several times each year.

Primary Connections
‘PrimaryConnections: Linking science with literacy’ aims to enhance primary school teachers’ confidence and competence for teaching science. A partnership between the Australian Academy of Science and DEEWR, PrimaryConnections focuses on developing students’ knowledge, skills, understanding and capacities in both science and literacy. To achieve this, The PrimaryConnections program provides teachers with curriculum resources and professional learning workshops to boost their pedagogical content knowledge in the teaching of science and literacy under the framework of the new national curriculum.

[photo thanks to audio-luci-store on flickr]


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