A dedicated hands-on learning centre at Lucas Heights Community School is aiming to ensure students are staying ahead of the curve in maths and science.
The school’s new gemaker STEAM room – which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, is a collaborative space where teachers can help students experiment and solve problems.
The room will primarily be used for pupils in Kindergarten to year 6 but children will also get the chance to work alongside their older peers in activities including coding.
Students outcomes in key subjects such as science have declined since 2000, according to the latest Australian ‘Gonski’ report that made recommendations on how to improve student learning.
To curb this trend, the room aims to give students a head start in their skills for 21st century learning and provides early training for future employment opportunities.
It was launched this month by award-winning biomedical engineer, Jordan Nguyen.
He founded Psykinetic, which uses biomedical technology, robotics, virtual and augmented reality to improve the quality of life for people with a disability.
Former employee of the nearby Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Natalie Chapman, who is supporting the school’s initiative, invited Dr Nguyen to the launch.
She is the founder of gemaker, a small Woronora-based business that helps researchers take their inventions to the market by educating people about the opportunities they can offer.
The Sutherland Shire mum donated $5000 towards the project, which will go towards lab coats, safety glasses, robotics equipment and a 3D printer so students can dress the part and be equipped while innovating.
“State schools need all the help they can get,” she said.
“And this is about how to take work out of the lab and into use.
“About three years ago I joined the P&C and I wanted to use my skills in innovation and education, to bring in extra opportunities for students.
“I’m not particularly good at making sandwiches but this is my forte.
“I loved the school’s ideas and supported it with cash and equipment to make it a reality faster.
“There are so many different careers opening up for kids that they or parents and teachers aren’t aware of, and I want students to think of these subjects not as boring but ones that can be fun.”