January was a busy month for outreach

30 January 2017

January is not normally thought of as a teaching-heavy month, but RSB members were involved in a number of outreach events early this year.

During the first week of January, the ANU Kioloa campus held its annual ‘Open Days’ event, which is free, and popular with families visiting the coast. Paul Cooper took daily groups exploring rock pools, and looking at ‘creepy crawlies’ and Alex Maier and Melanie Rug held a session on ‘Hidden beach treasures revealed under the microscope’.

Stem X is a 5 day residential teacher program, run by the Australian Science Teachers Association, CSIRO and Questacon. A hundred and forty-seven teachers attended this year, from both primary and secondary schools. RSB members Ben Long, John Evans, Carly Conlan, Alisha Duncan and Allen Rodrigo held workshops for the secondary teachers, who had come from all over Australia. In addition, the Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis provided two scholarships.

Two intensive residential courses for students also took place at ANU in January. Juliey Beckman is Deputy Director of the Biology Olympiad summer school, a two week residential course incorporating lectures, practical classes and a field trip to the ANU Kioloa campus. Around 1400 high school students from all over Australia sat the qualifying exam last year, and the top 21 were selected to attend. Special thanks to Chris Fulton, who gave a guest lecture, and Peta Moisis, Melanie Trinick, Tammy Gomersall, Yiming Li and Fiona Roxburgh from the Biology Teaching and Learning Centre, who helped coordinate the practical sessions. Four students from this group will be selected to compete in the International Biology Olympiad, to be held at the University of Warwick, UK, in July this year.

The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) was held at ANU throughout January. Around 400 rising year 12 students, who are passionate about science, technology, engineering and maths attend the program, which aims to show participants the wide variety of study and career options in stem fields. RSB hosted several groups of students, with practical sessions and lab visits organised by Andras Keszei, Giel van Dooren, Liam Bailey and Alisha Duncan.

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