Celebrating science at Carinya Christian School, Tamworth

Carinya Christian School in Tamworth values and facilitates high quality science programs. In June this year they held their inaugural STEM investigation evening for Year 9 and 10 students to showcase a research project they had completed. Year 9 students conducted germination trials, and examined factors that affected the germination of various edible species. Year 10 students topics were open, and broad ranging.

Dr Kirsti Abbott, UNE Discovery Program Leader, was invited as guest speaker and one of 8 judges for the evening. She joined scientists from the NSW Department of Primary Industries agricultural research station in Tamworth to talk to students, judge their investigations, and encourage the pursuit of STEM as a way of solving problems in our rapidly changing world.

Kirsti’s presentation revealed some of the statistics about STEM achievement in Australia, and detailed a bit about her own journey through a life in science, and what STE(A)M can do for our young people – help them think critically, ask valuable questions, collaborate and find focus for deep thinking about specific problems, savour ‘a-ha!’ moments, and improve communication for more connected communities.

There were so many fabulous projects. Students had thought deeply about fair tests, controls and overcoming logistical issues when conducting a scientific investigation. Topics ranged from the stroop test and understanding the neuroscience of colour and words, to the effect of leg length and height on agility. Judges spent around 10-15 minutes chatting with each student – feedback from students revealed that they really enjoyed talking with ‘real’ scientists that were approachable, friendly and knowledgeable.

Robyn Harvey, science teacher and organiser of the event, said that parents and staff were very impressed with the night and appreciated Kirsti’s encouragement to their kids about finding something that they are interested in and passionate about and then pursuing this.  The science focus was fantastic; students were enthusiastic and engaged, and already looking forward to next year!

Thanks to Robyn Harvey and James Karnaghan for inviting UNE Discovery and Kirsti to be part of this wonderful occasion.