Young science enthusiasts will have the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s best scientists as part of a new extension course.
The course focuses on the authentic application of scientific research skills to produce a Scientific Research Report.
Students propose and develop a research question, formulate a hypothesis and develop evidence-based responses to create their Scientific Research Report which is supported by a Scientific Research Portfolio.
Science extension students from Bomaderry to Pambula gathered at Ulladulla High School on Monday, to discuss their project ideas with guest presenters from NESA, Department of Education and UOW Innovation Campus.
NSW Education Standards Authority science curriculum inspector and designer of the Science Extension course Kerry Sheahan was one of Ulladulla High’s visitors, and said the response from students was “absolutely phenomenal”.
“One little girl had stars in her eyes, she’s ready to save the world from micro-plastics,” he said.
“She’s so happy that this course gives her the chance to do that, it won’t be immediate, but it will giver her a start.”
Mr Sheahan said it was the first truly flexible learning pathway for students in Year 12 Science.
“The students can choose whatever they’d like to research, and the point of that is to really extend their knowledge,” he said.
“They have to read contemporary research and contact national and international researchers for further data and information.”
Mr Sheahan likened the subject to a scientific apprenticeship, rather than a school course.
“In other science subjects students learn to get a mark, this is an apprenticeship for a scientist,” he said.
“When they leave school they will have a research report they can show as part of resume, which demonstrates their skills as analytical researchers.”
The subject has been labelled ‘groundbreaking’ in that it will be the first HSC subject to be tested online.
“The children upload their research the report online, and then they will be asked questions about what they’ve learnt,” Mr Sheahan said.
The subject has also been praised by the business community, according to Mr Sheahan.
“This subject is made up of our most creative and inventive students,” he said.
“They are the brightest in terms of mathematical ability because it is all about data analysis and big data.
“Big data is the job of the future, companies like Ikea, Telstra, Google, Amazon all need data analysts and these students aren’t afraid of that world,” he said.”
Students at Ulladulla High School discussed their project ideas on Monday, including big issues like coral bleaching, the decline of bees and global warming.
Teachers at Ulladulla High School were just as excited as the students for the roll out of the new subject.