Two QUT Secondary Education students have been selected to travel to Western Australia to join some of Australia's best scientists and teachers for a conference designed to develop and promote excellence in science education.
CONASTA is the annual National Science Education Conference of the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) held at Mercedes College in Perth on July 6-9. More than 4000 educators and institutions across Australia, and worldwide, have a voice in the future of science education, policy and practice through ASTA.
It is the first time pre-service teachers have been supported to join the event which showcases science teachers' successes using varied approaches to learning and teaching.
They will also hear from Australian Living Treasure and former Australian of the YearProfessor Fiona Wood who pioneered spray-on skin for burn victims.
Inspiring a lasting interest in science in secondary students is still an uphill battle with a longitudinal analysis of national enrolments in Year 12 science subjects in gradual decline, as reported in the Australian Science Teachers Association's strategic plan 2014-2019.
QUT's pre-service science teachers Alexandria Leighton and Nick Davis-Poynter have been handpicked alongside four other Queensland students to attend the event. These students were selected to collectively represent the broad range of experience brought to teaching careers.
They will develop a special program designed to meet specific needs of pre-service teachers as part of next year's CONASTA 2016 which will be hosted in Brisbane.
With a passion for integrating science into other disciplines and bringing it into our everyday lives, Alexandria Leighton is building on her primary education experience with a degree in secondary teacher education.
She is completing her second year studying secondary science and home economics.
"I hope to create a kitchen-garden program that promotes the unity of science and food as this connection can teach nutrition and scientific concepts in a meaningful and dynamic manner," she said.
Nick Davis-Poynter is studying a post-graduate diploma at QUT's Faculty of Education after working as a virologist.
"I wanted to bring my science knowledge to the classroom and I was looking to challenge myself," he said.
He was recently involved in a specialist STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Studio held at QUT as part of the STEP UP program which is engaging and supporting high-quality secondary school teachers working with scientific experts in designing curriculum and engaging students in secondary science.
Both students hope their teaching will inspire a new breed of high-school students who are engaged in the study of science.
Their colleagues include Shawtima McLoughlan and Natalie Lund from Griffith University and Karen Board and Gay McCauley from James Cook University.