BSc students inspire and entertain high schools with science experience
Over the past two weeks, seven students from the Faculty of Science delivered interactive activities and workshops to schools in regional and metro low-socioeconomic areas.
Called ‘Science Delivery’, this new program aims to increase the participation of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). In total, the program was delivered to around 800 high school students.
Teacher Marnie Bates from Caroline Chisholm Catholic College said the presenters were amazing.
“I can’t rave enough about them. A lot of staff have stopped me and told me they have heard great stories about the sessions,” she said.
“This was something different, something exciting for the students that they don’t normally see. It appealed to us because the presenters were only a little bit older than them, and we want to encourage our students into science.”
Each session included a short science show with interactive activities such as a ping pong bazooka, which uses the pressure difference between the air around us and a vacuum to shoot a ping pong ball across the room, and a Ruben’s tube, which uses flames to visualise sound waves. The high school students also participated in smaller workshops where they made ice-cream, learnt the fundamentals of coding, or built model bridges that could withstand around six kilograms.
The university students, who have themselves come from financially disadvantaged or rural backgrounds, were recruited and trained as volunteer science presenters. They not only delivered, but also developed the program, and during each session acted as role models for the high school students, reflecting on their personal experiences of university.
One of the presenters was Bachelor of Science student Monika Gdak, who is studying environmental science.
“I was attracted to the program because I am passionate about different areas of science, and I love sharing that with other people,” she said.
“I have loved this experience, from going on the trip, to staying in the country and presenting in schools - it has been so exciting. Each show is different, each school is different. I love how excited the students get. I have learnt how different science is at different schools, and how important science communication is.”
The program was funded through the University of Melbourne Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program Funding.