Science less challenging for enriched teens

Flinders University programs are removing student negativity surrounding STEM careers, with initial research finding that female students perceive science to be less challenging after completing a program through the University’s STEM Enrichment Academy.

While the academy’s Real Science Enrichment Days generally shift student’s attitude to careers in science from ‘No’ to ‘Undecided’, the shift from ‘No’ to ‘Yes’ is prevalent among participants of the Design and Technology Series.

The STEM Enrichment Academy at Flinders University is led by Associate Professor Maria Parappilly, and offers two different enrichment programs: Real Science Enrichment Days and a Design and Technology Enrichment Series for female Year 9 students.

These programs are designed to further encourage young women to consider careers in science by engaging them in informative activities focused around science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

For the Real Science Enrichment Days, groups of students from a variety of schools attend a single full-day workshop dedicated to one area of science, such as physics or chemistry.

The Design and Technology Enrichment Series sees groups of students attending a series of consecutive workshops, focused on design and technology, robotics and coding throughout an academic year.

Friday 21 June saw students experiment with light, and explore laser radio activities, colour and photonics activities, and solar race car activities at the Real Science Enrichment program, which focused on physics. Activities were led by Dr Chris Perrella from the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing at University of Adelaide, and Associate Professor Ingo Koeper from the College of Science and English at Flinders.

During the workshop students learned how sound can be transmitted using light, how far can they send information over light, and investigated what makes up the colours in the world around us. Students built solar-powered mini racing cars using solar panel kits.

The STEM Enrichment Conference scheduled at for Year 9 students and their teachers at Flinders University next week is already at full capacity.

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