Exploring the Future of Science: How Electives at Santa Maria College Ignite Student Passion

“Why do we need to learn this?” It’s a question heard in classrooms all over the world, especially when students are faced with science textbooks filled with abstract concepts that seemingly have no connection to their future. While great teachers can bring these ideas to life, Santa Maria College goes a step further.

At Santa Maria College, we believe in showing our students exactly what a future in science could look like by offering four unique science electives that connect learning to real-life experiences. Each of these electives involves working with real-life scientists from various organisations and universities, providing an engaging and practical approach to learning.

Year 7: STEngineers - Igniting Curiosity and Creativity

STEngineers is designed for our Year 7 students, capitalising on their natural curiosity and creativity to develop innovative solutions to real-world problems. Guided through the Design Thinking process, students learn to understand issues and then design, create, test, evaluate, and improve their solutions.

Students present their concepts using various forms of media, focusing on personal and thinking attributes domains. Partnering with university and industry mentors, such as Engineers Australia, exposes students to innovative thinking outside the school environment.

Key Skills Developed: #Curiosity, #Creativity, #Problem solving, #Resilience, #Critical thinking

Year 8: Science Quest - Unleashing the Power of Personal Interest

In Science Quest, students design and conduct scientific investigations into areas of personal interest. Developing skills in researching, planning, and carrying out experiments. Students tackle real-world issues such as environmental solutions, aquaponics maintenance, biodegradable materials, and 3D printing for engineering problems.

Student projects may be entered into local and national competitions through Engineers Australia, CSIRO, and SciTech, showcasing their work to various audiences.

Key Skills Developed: #Analytical skills, #Adaptability, #Problem solving, #Resilience, #Confidence

Year 9: Marine Science - Exploring the Wonders of Australia's Coastline

Understanding our oceans is critical for conservation and long-term survival. The Marine Science course provides students with knowledge of marine plants, animals, and the environment, along with practical skills for researching marine habitats.

Working with organisations like the Swan River Trust, Sea Shepherd, and the Department of Parks and Wildlife, students participate in field work such as Swan River studies, a Penguin Island tour, and a visit to the Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA).

Key Skills Developed: #Stewardship, #Respect, #Creativity, #Collaboration, #Analytical Skills, #ICT Capabilities

Year 10: BrainSTEM - Delving into Cutting-Edge Science

Year 10: BrainSTEM – Delving into Cutting-Edge Science

BrainSTEM allows students to explore cutting-edge science, focusing on neuroscience and biotechnology. Students work with researchers from Murdoch University and the Harry Perkins Institute to investigate how the nervous system coordinates the body and the impact of diseases and the environment on its function.

This collaboration offers hope to those suffering from neurological and other diseases, showcasing the potential of neuroscience and biotechnology.

Key Skills Developed: #Initiative, #Critical Thinking, #Adaptability, #Analytical Skills, #Confidence

By offering these science electives, Santa Maria connects learning to life, providing students with a glimpse into the exciting world of science and its practical applications. Through hands-on experiences and collaborations, students develop essential skills that will serve them well in their future endeavours, igniting a passion for science that will last a lifetime.

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