QAHS has developed a unique partnership with a number of primary schools in the region as part of the STEM in Queensland State Schools strategy. In previous years, these masterclasses were delivered virtually via the online platform iConnect. However, this year, we are welcoming the Year 6 students to our campus to enable them to experience life at QAHS, be able to use and experience our wonderful facilities first-hand and, above all, engage with some of our wonderful Year 10 and 11 students.
Our 23 STEM mentors have self-selected an area of interest, focussing on either Biology/Exercise Science (Awesome Airways), Physics (Brilliant Bridge Building) and Chemistry (Marvellous Mixtures). Students are currently close to finalising the planning phase of the masterclass series and are looking forward to term 4 when they will deliver their three-lesson series.
Brilliant Bridge Building
Over the past few weeks, myself and seven other students from Year 10 and 11 have been preparing a three lesson Physics inspired STEM program for students in Year 6 from around the Gold Coast.
Our group is organising the Physics course called: Brilliant Bridge Building, where students are taught about basic algebra, geometry and Pythagoras Theory to ultimately gain a holistic understanding regarding the physics behind bridges. The course contains two theory-based sessions with engaging group activity to learn content and a final session which involves a hands-on experiment: building a bridge out of day-to-day objects.
We have refined prior learning documents from previous years of online classes to suit an in-person experience, by designing interactive lessons, with rotations, group work and creative components, as we understand how imperative it is to learn dynamically.
As students, we have a unique perspective on learning, and with careful consideration, we have developed a course which is not only educational but also interactive and fun. This course is beneficial for both the students and us, as mentors, because it allows us to explore the real life applications of the STEM subjects we learn in school. The STEM fields are a key component of future innovation, so it is rewarding that we can instigate an interest for these fields in younger students.
Abigail Schmidt and Gihansa Kottasha Vidhanelage
Students who are more interested in the Biology field will have the opportunity to join the 'Awesome Airways' activity that focuses on the respiratory system and its functionality. There is a multitude of exercises and activities, ranging from sprinting in the green heart to handball. These will help expand the students' understanding of gas exchange and anaerobic/aerobic respiration in a fun and memorable manner. Through the program, students will be able to apply the skills and knowledge that they have built up so far in addition to develop their understanding in a group setting. Overall, what students will take from this program is a broader understanding of the respiratory system and new connections between students with similar interests.
Harrison Hanley and Jackson Youngman
Marvellous Mixtures is one of the courses based around Chemistry. STEM Mentors have concocted three lessons that induct primary students into the wondrous world of Chemistry by providing them with an interactive, engaging approach to the properties, relevance and various uses of water, an important substance in mixture-making. STEM Mentors have also strategically structured the course to help instil a cogent understanding of the real-world applications of the curriculum within the students. For example, the course is designed to finish with a fun, hands-on water filtration experiment that teaches students the process and pertinence of desalination.
Mrs Christina Rekort-Blundell
STEM Mentors Coordinator