Public school students are benefiting from an innovative partnership brought about by the recent COVID-19 restrictions.
South32 Illawarra Metallurgical Coal and Wollongong's Science Space are helping to bring science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects to life for local students.
When COVID-19 forced the closure of local schools, they teamed up to create kits containing STEM equipment, experiments, projects and activities in line with the NSW curriculum, to help Year Three and Four primary students learn from home.
It came as Science Space also closed due to COVID-19, meaning students could not visit and interact with its educational displays.
A pilot program for the STEM kits was launched at Mount Kembla Public School, much to the pleasure of science teacher & librarian Ainsley Larosa.
"We have really enjoyed the opportunity to learn from real scientists about scientific method and practice. The hands-on activities and Zoom conferences were excellent learning experiences that allowed students to find their love for science," Ms Larosa said.
The pilot project proved so successful and popular the kits are now being rolled out to more schools, to boost learning in the classroom.
The STEM kits also provide opportunities for live video conferencing experiences with staff at Science Space and links to online educational videos.
"This is a great initiative that is helping to inspire local students and prepare them for the jobs of the future," South32 Illawarra Metallurgical Coal vice president operations, Wayne Bull said.
"Many employers, including South32, value STEM skills very highly. It is the foundation of much of what we do at Illawarra Metallurgical Coal and we are proud to play a part in supporting our local communities."
It is hoped the STEM kits will be distributed to around 800 students at 26 schools in the Illawarra, Wollondilly, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands.
Apart from Mount Kembla Public School, Amity College, Shellharbour, Calderwood Christian School, St Pius X Primary School, Unanderra and St Paul's Catholic School, Camden have also participated in the project.
More schools are encouraged to take part, by contacting University of Wollongong's Science Space, Kim Noble via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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