In2science reflections: September 2015

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Growing minds, communicating science and mid-placement check-ins

September has been a busy month for In2science, with placements in full swing, mid-placement training and professional development sessions for mentors. Join us as we reflect on the month that was.

Emily and Lauren from Teach for Australia

Emily and Lauren from Teach for Australia

Developing our mentors

Once an In2science mentor starts their placement, their training and development doesn’t stop.

In late August, Emily and Lauren from Teach for Australia ran a professional development session about how to encourage students in maths and science. Covering positive framing, growth vs fixed mindset and behaviour management, Emily and Lauren gave our mentors some great tips for maximising their impact in the classroom.

September saw two bouts of training, starting with mid-placement training at each of the partner universities. This allowed mentors to come together, share experiences and discover how they navigate similar challenges during their placements. In late September, science communicator Jason Major ran our second professional development session, guiding mentors through methods on engaging students in controversial science topics and finding links between science and society.

Stories from the schools

Jason Major presenting our second professional development session on science communication.

Jason Major presenting our second professional development session on science communication.

In2science coordinators have been busy visiting placements in the final weeks of term 3, with many visits continuing into term 4. Mentors are helping out with some really interesting activities and sharing their experiences in science and maths with many students. Here’s a snapshot of what our mentors are getting up to.

  • Mentor Zi Kuan helped year 9 students at Mount Alexander College to dissect sheep brains during a general science class. The students were fascinated with the small size of these brains and questioned whether the areas primarily responsible for the language processing in humans (Wernicke’s area and Broca’s area) were also present in sheep. Zi Kuan was a great help in the class, both with the set-up and dissection of the brains, but also in getting the students to think about things in a different way. It was fantastic to see the students easily recall the different areas of the brain and describe their function.
  • Rachael has been mentoring in an all-boys year 8 general science class at Maribyrnong Secondary College. For the end of term 3, Rachael showed the students how to make their own fossils. The boys relished the hands on activity and weren’t afraid to get a bit messy with the Plaster of Paris! Rachael presented in a clear and engaging way, helped the students create their fossils and discussed questions on fossils ranging from ferns to dinosaurs.
  • Mentor Nathan has been working with an accelerated learning year 8 science class at Reservoir High School, guiding students on their journey to research, design and execute their own experiments for a science fair. Nathan’s probing questions have helped students think deeply about their chosen science topic, encouraging them to think deeply about the quality of their source information and how robust their experiments will be. We are excited to see the results at their science fair in term 4!
  • Science and accounting student Jen has been assisting a year 9 maths class at Roxburgh College. Working primarily with a group of female students in the class, Jen has encouraged and supported these students as they apply mathematics to finance problems, such as interest rates, discounts and profit margins. Jen’s passion for maths is certainly rubbing off!