Summer Science Satisfaction for Teachers at NYSF NSTSS

Forty teachers of high school science from around Australia made the most of their own week-long excursion to Canberra in January to re-connect with their inner “nerd” and work out why they were inspired to teach science in the first place.

Participating in the NYSF National Science Teachers Summer School (NSTSS) offered science teachers with an exciting opportunity to visit a wide range of science and education destinations in and around the Canberra region over the five-day program held each January. Visits included the Canberra Deep Space Complex at Tidbinbilla, the Australian National University’s Mount Stromlo Observatory, CSIRO Black Mountain, Geoscience Australia and other ANU Science facilities. They took part in a variety of hands-on activities that helped them to connect with science in a meaningful way, and also reviewed and shared resources that they could be applied in the classroom.

The NYSF’s NSTSS focuses on scientific engagement rather than exploring pedagogical practice – although no-one can stop teachers talking shop!

NYSF CEO, Dr Damien Pearce explains, “The purpose of the NYSF’s NSTSS is to maintain the spark, or in some cases re-spark, that passion for science that science teachers have when they start their careers. In contrast to other professional development opportunities for teachers, we come from the position that all those who come to the program are great teachers. What we aim to do is show them the latest technologies and discoveries, so they can return to the classroom and share their excitement with their students.”

Another key part of the NYSF NSTSS program is networking. While teachers are able to meet a variety of scientists and researchers during their time in Canberra, they also make meaningful connections with one other.


Long after everyone has gone home, the teachers are continuing to share ideas, experiences and resources. Cornelia Cefai, from Victoria says, “I met almost 40 other teachers searching for something similar at the NSTSS. We learned so much that was awe-inspiring from the researchers involved in the program, but we also gained a wealth of information from each other, such as how to run a fun science class on a budget, or novel ways to deliver the curriculum. Attending definitely reinvigorated my love for and faith in science.”

From practising synthesis and titration skills at the ANU Research School of Chemistry, to feeling the earth move at the Research School of Earth Science, and understanding how – at Geoscience Australia (including the intricacies of the SHRIMP!), the NYSF’s NSTSS continues to meet its goal of engaging teachers of science in the equation of STEM engagement.

NYSF’s NSTSS will run in two locations in 2018 — at The Australian National University and at The University of Queensland. To register your interest for the 2018 program, email nysf@nysf.edu.au

From the CEO

With the end of 2016 fast approaching, I’d like to wish all of our supporters, participants, alumni, volunteers and readers best wishes for the festive season, a fantastic summer holiday and a happy new year!

Of course here at the NYSF the end of the festivities marks the beginning of our busiest time. As we write, there are just 21 sleeps to go until the start of Session A, and 34 until Session C, and we are looking forward to welcoming the next round of 400 participants to join us here at the NYSF. As always, the focus of the NYSF program will be to show our young people the wide range of study, research and career options available to them, and to support them to make informed choices for their futures. In doing so, we also aim to inspire, as we know that inspired students are motivated students, and motivated students go on to achieve incredible outcomes.

inspired students are motivated students

It was very concerning to read in the media recently about Australia’s rankings drop in the latest Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) and the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). Here at the NYSF we are particularly aware of and concerned about these results, and consequently are even more driven to ensure we deliver a quality program to engage young people in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. In light of these results, we also recognise that the timing couldn’t be more significant for the opportunities we’ve recently been given to expand the programs we offer in 2017 and beyond.

2017 is going to be an exciting year for the NYSF and our participants. We will be piloting a new program targeting younger students in years 7 and 8. This pilot program will run in Adelaide in July 2017 in collaboration with the South Australian Department of Education and Child Development, with development funds from the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS). The new program is a residential program that aims to foster and encourage an interest in STEM at a time when many students start turning away from these subjects. Once the pilot is completed, we aim to roll the program out in even more locations around the country.

As a result of funding also secured from the Department of Industry Innovation and Science (DIIS) via the National Science and Innovation Agenda (NISA), the NYSF is nearing the final stages of negotiation with a current partner university to deliver a third NYSF Year 12 January Program to be run in 2018. We have also started discussions for a fourth program to be run at another site in 2019. This will give an additional 200 students the opportunity to participate in 2018, and by 2019 could see as many as 800 young people participating in the NYSF Year 12 Program, across four sessions. In addition, funding has been secured to establish the NYSF Equity Scholarship, which will contribute to reducing the participation fee for young people from communities that may previously have not applied to attend. We will be working closely with our Rotary colleagues to identify young people to access these funds.

We are also negotiating funding and hosting arrangements with the same current partner university to run an additional NYSF National Science Teachers Summer School (NSTSS) program in 2018, as well as maintaining the long-running and popular program that we have delivered at The Australian National University (ANU) for the past 12 years. Our NSTSS Program offers professional development to science teachers, as well as an opportunity to support their engagement levels and passion for teaching science to our young people.

I am sure you will agree, there is a lot in the pipeline here at the NYSF – the result of some hard work by our Board and corporate team in the past two years, and I must acknowledge their role, and in particular, Professor Tanya Monro, our immediate past Board Chair.

Before I sign off, I note that we are seeking some assistance in billeting students who are travelling to and from different locations around the country, via Sydney and Melbourne, to attend the NYSF Year 12 Program in January. This is a great opportunity to get to know some of the bright young people who are attending the program, and be involved, even if you’re not in Canberra.

In Sydney, we’re looking for people to host students overnight on these dates:

  • Sunday 1 January
  • Sunday 15 January

In Melbourne, we’re looking for people to host students overnight on these dates:

  • Sunday 1 January (students travelling to Session A)
  • Saturday 14 January (students travelling home from Session A)
  • Sunday 15 January (students travelling to Session C)
  • Saturday 28 January (students travelling home from Session C)

The NYSF believes that child protection is everyone’s responsibility and those interested in billetting will need to meet the community standards (legislative requirements) in your state of territory. For more information, and to volunteer as a host, you can go to  https://goo.gl/forms/vBwhE6oWICM4QCML2.

We look forward to welcoming in the 2017 year, with all of its new opportunities, along with the next cohort of 400 young people to join our Year 12 January program.

Once again, all the best for the festive season, and thank you for your support.

 

Dr Damien Pearce

Chief Executive Officer

A few places left in NYSF’s National Science Teachers Summer School (NSTSS) 2017

NYSF has a few places left for teachers to attend the NYSF National Science Teachers Summer School (NSTSS) 2017 which is being held again with the support of our host university partner, The Australian National University, in Canberra from 9-13 January 2017.

Participants will visit world leading research labs and facilities at the ANU and around the region, hear from organisations developing resources that support class-room teaching, and network to learn from an engaged cohort of peers.

The NYSF is proud to be continuing its delivery of this program, developed over many years’ experience. We invite you to join us in January, for STEM fun in the sun!

Further information is at http://www.nysf.edu.au/other/teachers

 

Media release: Associate Professor Graham Hardy and Professor Shari Forbes speak at the National Science Teachers’ Summer School

We know that enthusiastic and committed teachers make a difference to Australian students studying science both in and beyond high school. Supporting teacher engagement is important to address the current high drop out rates from STEM subjects, particularly among female students.

The federal government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda released this month injected $48 million into improving science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education with the aim of increasing numbers of coding classes, training for teachers to teach digital technology, and boosting participation in STEM classes.

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb earlier this month endorsed the Education Council Report, National STEM School Education Strategy[1], which is an important step toward improving STEM skills of students by lifting the standard of STEM content in teacher education.[2]

For 10 years, the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) has been delivering the National Science Teachers Summer School (NSTSS) each January. The NSTSS aims to address issues of teacher engagement in a five-day residential program based at the Australian National University (ANU).

Running from 10–15 January 2016, the program aims to reignite teachers’ passion for science and to conduct a professional dialogue about teaching and learning, as well as exploring ways of engaging students in STEM.

The 2016 program has an exceptional line-up of speakers including two lectures by Associate Professor Graham Hardy from the University of South Australia who will share his research on Science as Human Endeavour: Exploring the Big Ideas, and Approaches of Teaching, covering how interdisciplinary inquiry can benefit STEM teaching.

His recent work includes a project on interdisciplinary learning in science and mathematics, and a second project focused on developing Inquiry Based Learning approaches and how to apply them in science and mathematics. He is now working on a Higher Education Priority Pool (HEPP) funded STEM project to support the development of pedagogical practice in low socioeconomic schools around Adelaide.

Professor Shari Forbes from The University of Technology Sydney and coordinator of Australia’s first body farm will also address the teachers, exploring her experience of the advantages and challenges of interdisciplinary research.

Please contact the NYSF communications team if you would like to interview Associate Professor Graham Hardy or Professor Shari Forbes.

END

Media enquires: Julie Maynard 0421 154 201, julie.maynard@nysf.edu.au

[1] Education Council, (2015), National STEM School Education Strategy, http://www.educationcouncil.edu.au/site/DefaultSite/filesystem/documents/National%20STEM%20School%20Education%20Strategy.pdf

[2]Australia’s Chief Scientist, (2015) Media Release: Making STEM a priority in schools http://www.chiefscientist.gov.au/2015/12/media-release-making-stem-a-priority-in-schools/

NYSF National Science Teachers’ Summer School 2016 continues the tradition

Operating for over ten years, in 2016, the NYSF’s National Science Teachers’ Summer School (NSTSS) will continue to deliver a high quality science learning and teaching experience for all participants.

NSTSS 2016 offers teachers from all over Australia with an opportunity to visit The Australian National University and

  • Engage with leading researchers about the latest developments in science, in a collaborative and respectful professional environment;
  • Learn about the latest teaching resources developed by some of Australia’s iconic science and technology agencies;
  • Network with like-minded peers and challenge each other in discussions about what works in teaching Australian students today, and why? and
  • Join 200 of Australia’s leading science students at the NYSF 2016 Session A Science Dinner, featuring guest speaker, Dr Nick Gales.

Dr Gales is Director of the Australian Antarctic Division, and will address our dinner guests – including participants in the NSTSS 2016 – about his fascinating career, starting off as a country vet, leading him to be head of one of Australia’s iconic science agencies.

Dr Nick Gales

Dr Nick Gales, Director, Australian Antarctic Division

Other highlights include:

  • Discussion led by Professor Shari Forbes, University of Technology Sydney about Interdisciplinary Science in Practice in the context of forensic decomposition chemistry and the first ‘body farm’ in the southern hemisphere;
  • Live video conference with Dr Rolf Landua CERN, to learn the latest developments at the Large Hadron Collider and all things particle physics;
  • Visit to Tidbinbilla Deep Space Centre – they might let you drive a telescope!
  • Keynote and subsequent discussion from Associate Professor Graham Hardy, University of South Australia, on interdisciplinary teaching and learning in STEM;
  • Tour of science teaching facilities at Melrose High School, led by Geoff McNamara, Winner of the 2014 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools;
  • Briefing discussion: Science Policy and Science Curricula – Dr David Atkins, Branch Manager Curriculum and Students with Disability, ACT Department of Education and Training;
  • Panel discussion with representatives from Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools; the Australian College of Educators, and the Australian Academy of Science.

Dates:   Arrive Sunday 10 January and depart Saturday 16 January 2016.

To apply, further information is here.

 

Searching for CERN

A visit to Questacon on the evening of day 9 NYSF 2015 offered students an insight into an area of international research which is both answering and creating questions in the field of physics. And for the first time, Session A students engaged with the science teachers attending the National Science Teachers’ Summer School during the live cross to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.
Hosted by Questacon, the evening began with a presentation from Kaitlin Cook, an NYSF alumna. Kaitlin delivered an overview of the operation of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.  Her background talk particularly explained about the discovery of the Higgs Boson which has enabled further verification of the Standard Model of particle physics.
DSC_0394

Kaitlin Cook an NYSF alumna

This sparked the interest of both the students and science teachers, and questions began to arise from the crowd.  The special guest, Professor Rolf Landua – who was being viewed live from the LHC at CERN, (8:30am, Switzerland time) left no question from the audience unanswered. Perhaps he had heard it all before?  He has been conducting this session for the NYSF in Canberra for nine years – a very unique and exciting activity for all who participated.
DSC_0416

Professor Rolf Landua live from CERN

by Brett Slarks

National Science Teachers’ Summer School

The National Science Teachers Summer School (NSTSS) is designed to provide experienced teachers of science with a chance to re-engage with their love of science, and in turn, enhance their teaching of science to students.

In January 2015, just like students attending the NYSF, 46 teachers from around the country again converged at the Australian National University in Canberra for a program filled with seminars, lectures, lab visits and workshops designed to develop and enhance teaching practices in the classroom.

NSTSS 1A

Damien Pearce, Director of National Youth Science Forum says, “The NSTSS is an NYSF program designed to really excite the teachers who attend about the latest scientific developments and possibilities,” he said. “It also provides hands-on lab experiences that they might not normally be exposed to, using the latest equipment. And that’s quite a different opportunity for those who participate.”

Federal Member for Bowman in Queensland, Mr Andrew Laming, opened the 2015 NSTSS with a speech focusing on the importance of STEM education and its far-reaching effects on school children. He focused on the importance of arming young people with the appropriate level of STEM knowledge and understanding so that they can find good jobs, irrespective of whether they end up working in STEM fields.

NSTSS 2

Supporting funding for the 2015 program was provided by the Commonwealth Department of Education and the Department of Industry and Science, through Questacon. NYSF acknowledges this support and would also like to thank the ANU, University of Canberra, CSIRO, Australian National Insect Collection, Questacon, the National Arboretum, Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Station, Mt Stromlo Observatory, Australian Parliament House, School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering – University of Sydney, National Arboretum, Mount Stromlo Observatory and Geoscience Australia for running seminars, workshops and lectures.

NSTSS 4

Mr Pearce says, “We know from our engagement with NYSF students and their families that enthusiastic and committed teachers of science make a difference to a young person’s decision to continue to work in the STEM areas. We’re looking forward to running the 2016 NSTSS and reaching out to more teachers through this program.”

The 2016 program will run from 11-15 January. For more information about the 2016 NSTSS program, email nstss@nysf.edu.au