From the Director

Welcome to the December edition of NYSF Outlook.

At the time of writing there are 400 young people who are preparing to travel to Canberra for the January 2015 NYSF Sessions. This map shows just how widespread our reach is for young Australians.

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To say that there is a sense of excitement building would be an understatement! I know of at least one group of students that are already ‘counting the sleeps’. Thanks to the support of The Australian National University (ANU), in 2015 we have been able to increase the number of students by 40 places for each of the sessions, giving us a total cohort of 200 per session.

Our domestic students will be joined this year with students from Germany, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada and for the first time Brazil and Fiji. The international participation over January is relatively small, however is well justified in terms of the opportunities it provides for our young people for knowledge and cultural exchange. This also exposes the international students to the study and career opportunities that are available within Australia, which they share in their home communities.

One of the highlights of the NYSF January sessions this year will be the Science Dinners. Instead of having a single keynote speaker as we have had in the past, the dinners this year will be run as a symposium. We have secured some of the best thinkers, researchers and practitioners to participate and offer us their insights. The theme for the Session A Science Dinner is engagement of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). The Session C Science Dinner will focus on Indigenous Engagement and Knowledge with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). We believe both of these discussions and the Q&A sessions that will follow will be stimulating for the students. If you are interested in coming along to the dinners, you can buy a ticket.  Email nysf@nysf.edu.au and we can send you the information.

For the 2015 National Science Teachers’ Summer School (NSTSS) we will be welcoming 50 science teachers from across the country from primary, secondary and senior secondary schools. The NSTSS is an NYSF program that is currently conducted in collaboration with the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA). The aim of the NSTSS is to immerse teachers in cutting edge STEM research and feed their – often infectious – motivation. The NSTSS challenges the participants to consider the question, “What do we want our students to know about science?” The resulting discussions regularly transcend curriculum frameworks. I would like to acknowledge Questacon and the Federal Education Minister, Minister Pyne, for their financial support for this much-needed program. Negotiations are ongoing to secure the longevity of NSTSS program into the future with the hope of it being extended to other locations.

On behalf of the NYSF Council, Executive and everyone here at NYSF Central, I would like to extend our best wishes for the Festive Season and New Year! And to the 2015 students … we’ll be seeing you soon!

Why should the kids have all the fun? Summer school for science teachers

For the fifth year, the National Science Teachers Summer School will be running in Canberra next January, coinciding with the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF).

Applications open:   Wednesday 24 September 2013

Applications close:   Friday 24 October 2013

Aiming to provide teachers of science with a chance to reignite their passion and enthusiasm for science and teaching, the NSTSS takes participants into research labs at the Australian National University (ANU) and other sites around the nation’s capital including the Mount Stromlo Observatory and CSIRO.

“We’re able to offer the teachers unique experiences in science and science education,” says Damien Pearce, NYSF Director.  “They take part in workshops, and have discussions about teaching, learning and assessment in the classroom. We also look at the range of tools available to enhance teaching practices.”

The teachers also interact with students taking part in the January Sessions of the NYSF, and attend the NYSF Science Dinner at Parliament House.

Professor Ian Young, Vice Chancellor of Australian National University at the 2013 NYSF Science Dinner

Professor Ian Young, Vice Chancellor of Australian National University at the 2013 NYSF Science Dinner

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NSTSS is made possible through the collaboration of the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA), ANU, and NYSF.  “This collaboration is allowing Australian teachers of science with a really valuable professional development experience,” says Vic Dobos, CEO of ASTA.  “The support we receive from the researchers who host the lab visits makes a big different to the understanding and engagement of the participants.”

  • “Dr Kirk seamlessly brought to life the complexities of research, funding and science. There are many ways in which this can be brought to the classroom from planning a unit around a relevant theme and weaving the facts into a bigger story through to using simple everyday objects to represent the models we teach. The opportunity to listen to a great science communicator and be inspired by them was priceless.”  Dr Paula Mills, Prince Alfred College, Kent Town, SA
  • “These world-recognised academic speakers were exceptionally approachable and showed a sincere willingness to help teachers with questions and points of clarification. Many also invited post Summer School contact. This offer to remain in touch was most impressive.”  Paolo Arman, St Aloysius College, Adelaide, SA
  •  “As a primary teacher focusing on science and extension I now feel more confident in advising fellow staff as to how they might teach science and how I can support them to improve student outcomes.”  Neil Bramsen, Mt Ousley Public School, NSW
  • “Attending sessions with the students from the NYSF was an absolute privilege. I learned so much from them. Seeing them and listening to them makes what we all do so worthwhile. I think sometimes we forget this”.   Karen Jared, Mt Gambier High School, SA

NSTSS 2013 Chemistry lab res1 NSTSS 2013 Mt Stromlo res 1

Successful applicants to NSTSS will receive economy airfares to and from Canberra, six nights’ accommodation on campus at ANU, all excursion travel and most meals. A registration fee of $500 + GST is sought, which is fully tax deductible.

Key dates for NSTSS 2014:

Applications open:                                                                 Wednesday 24 September 2013

Applications close:                                                                Friday 24 October 2013

Successful applicants notified by email:                           Friday 1 November 2013

NSTSS 2014 will be held from Sunday 12 January to Saturday 18 January 2014 with participants staying on the campus of the Australian National University, Canberra.

For more information please contact Vic Dobos on ceo@asta.edu.au or phone (02) 6282 9377 during office hours.