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May 2016 Reflections

By 31 May 2016News

May has been a busy month for the In2science team attending events in the education community, in addition to running the program. Here’s a round up of events:

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In2science mentor Eloise Molan helps students program their robot at Quantum Victoria

In2science & Quantum Victoria Event  Quantum Victoria, with assistance from In2science, hosted a day of immersive STEM workshops. Over 100 students from 3 schools, participated in workshops including 3D design through CAD software, playing with logic gates in Minecraft, and reverse engineering robots.

The students were accompanied by five In2science mentors, and had opportunities to ask the mentors about further studies in STEM and their experience of university. The event concluded with a Q&A panel session featuring the mentors, the In2science Program Director, Program Manager, and the Director of Quantum Victoria.


Encouraging Girls in STEM  Maddy Yewers, In2science Coordinator at The University of Melbourne, attended the “Encouraging Girls in STEM” event as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week. It was hosted by a start-up called Power of Engineering which runs one-off events in schools for girls to show the possibilities of engineering for women.

A number of great resources and ideas were discussed, including the importance of role models and incorporating Growth Mindset in STEM classrooms.

The language that people use when speaking to girls about studies and careers STEM is also important.  Girls benefit from collaboration, especially when they can participate and communicate fairly. Girls are motivated by projects they find personally relevant and meaningful.

Furthermore, it is useful to discuss careers in STEM in terms of the personal characteristics they require, not what STEM professionals ‘do’. Research also shows that, on average, women self-identify using adjectives (e.g. helpful, organised, friendly, shy) whereas men self-identify through activities that they are involved in like jobs, hobbies and interests.

These valuable insights will be passed onto In2science mentors in training sessions to further encourage girls in science and maths classrooms.


ACER workshop makes maths fun   What is the best way to get students to have fun with maths?  The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) ran a workshop last week to explore this question and RMIT University In2science Coordinator Claire Farrugia went along to find out more.

The workshop highlighted the importance of language when developing maths literacy and offered a plethora of examples, activities and games for developing maths language and skills.

Words that we know as having a mathematical meaning like volume or takeaway have other more common meanings for students. The workshop suggested that language is extremely important in teaching maths, and extra time should be spent to understand the context of these words so students become familiar with them.

The workshop also provided a number of different cooperative logic problems to build language, teamwork and confidence in mathematics.

These resources will be used to train In2science mentors heading into maths classes in semester 2, 2016 and beyond.

ACER run a wide variety of professional learning workshops across Australia. For more information visit their website.


Encouraging students to explore career pathways in STEM  Genevieve Lazzari, In2science Program Director, delivered a presentation at the Department of Education and Training’s STEM Education and Careers Workshop.

The presentation focused on the importance of mentoring in schools by university students studying science, engineering and mathematics courses. Genevieve was joined in the presentation by Sally IP of CSIRO’s Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools.

The event was a showcase of STEM careers resources provided to teachers in order to plan for enriched student learning experiences.