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Little Scientists Big Science


John Monash Science School offered its inaugural ‘Little Scientists Big Science’ initiative for the first time in term three 2011.

The program was the brainchild of one Year 10 student, 2013 School Captain, Lachlan Harkness. Lachlan thought it would be a good idea to engage young students in Science and give them an opportunity he did not get in his own Primary education. He was also keen to give the JMSS students an opportunity to develop and broaden their scientific communication skills, and so the project was born.

Second

More than 300 Primary School students have participated in the program over the past eight years, concluding with each student presenting their final project in one of JMSS’s Science Presentation evenings. Feedback from schools, teachers, principals, parents and students has been overwhelmingly positive.

Since the success of this program the John Monash Science School has also run a ‘Mini Mathematicians’ program since 2016, and in 2020 is introducing ‘RoboGals’, alongside these great programs, which aims to increase participation of girls in STEM.

For more information please contact Ben Delves:

Email – ben.delves@jmss.vic.edu.au

Phone – +61 3 9905 1002

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Home » Education Advice » Creation and innovation at Scotch College

Creation and innovation at Scotch College


The latest project taking shape at Scotch College is the Design and Technology Cube. This will be a centre of innovation, where boys will discover new possibilities in the rapidly progressing fields of Design and Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Learning will occur through collaboration and experimentation in both traditional skills and emerging processes. In state-of-the-art workshops and design studios, boys will develop skills in design, testing and refinement that are essential to every field of enterprise.

The Design and Technology Cube is a contemporary response to both the ever-evolving discipline of design and the school’s commitment to creativity and progress built on sound academic principles.

Supporting the iterative nature of problem solving and development, the centre is premised on a seamless flow between studios incorporating computer-aided design facilities and spaces for creation – be the product electrical, mechanical, a piece of software, a traditional work of craftsmanship or, indeed, a system comprising some or all of these elements.

Scotch’s latest completed project is the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre for Science. Officially opened in late 2016, the centre provides the boys with the opportunity to engage with scientific areas of study which remain unresolved.

Scotch is home to 160 boarders, from Year 7 to 12. Boys reside in one of three boarding houses and it is in this environment they learn to share their lives with others from a wide range of backgrounds. Boarding at Scotch provides boys access to the school’s outstanding facilities and in any one day a boy might go from rowing training on the Yarra River at the western perimeter of the school, or playing tennis on one of the college’s 26 courts, to playing music in the James Forbes Academy. As Tim Byrnes, Dean of Boarding, noted “by boarding at Scotch, boys from rural and regional families can access world-class facilities such as these, ensuring the education they receive is on par with their city counterparts. It provides opportunities that are seldom found elsewhere”.

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Type Independent
Day/boarding Day and Boarding
Boys/Girls Boy
Years Year 1 - Year 12
Enrolment 1700 day students, including 160 boarders
Fees: 4k - 8k 8k - 12k 12k - 16k Over 16k
Tuition from $7750 (Prep) to $9691 (Year 12) per instalment (three times a year), boarding $24,657 per annum
Phone
03 9810******* 03 9810 4203
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Address 1 Morrison Street, Hawthorn 3122
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Home » Education Advice » STEM in the early years

STEM in the early years


In 2016, a group of educators from Catholic Education Western Australia explored Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education with young children. Sarah Denholm, the recently appointed director of Ruyton Early Learning at Ruyton Girls’ School, documented and shared their journey through the publication of the iBook STEM in the Early Years: A Journey.

Young children are capable and competent learners who have their own theories and thinking about the world around them. Educators should acknowledge children’s prior knowledge and foster their natural curiosity for STEM. Early experience with STEM helps build skills for problem solving, research, investigation, creativity, design and construction.

What research tells us about children’s brains and their capacity to learn
Children learn by building on their prior knowledge and experiences. Through home and school experiences, children gather information about the world around them — how things work and why. Opportunities for children to engage in scientific thinking processes through play-based learning allow them to engage in deep thinking. When children engage in deep learning they develop skills and competencies needed for life-long learning and thrive in today’s world.

STEM in everyday life and classroom
There are many opportunities for STEM in everyday life. The trick is to recognise these moments of learning and discovery. Walking down the street brings opportunities to notice, wonder and explore. A carefully planned classroom environment provides an invitation for exploration and wonder about the world around us. When educators design learning environments that invite children to problem solve, enquire, research and experiment it helps the development of skills and understanding for lifelong learning. The interdisciplinary nature of STEM learning and teaching supports educators to do this effectively.

Activities you can do with children
There are many examples of water-related STEM provocations and experiences you can create for the children throughout the iBook. You can use everyday items from the classroom and home to set up provocations. Loose parts and open-ended materials create opportunities for investigation and creation. The iBook includes a teacher’s toolkit with specific resources and ideas. Having a focus on water, our teachers found that a wet area with access to liquids and resources was a great place to start. A place where children had permission to pour, tip, squeeze, drip, float and sink at their leisure led to increased engagement and curiosity about water. Items such as buckets, spoons, straws, paintbrushes, ice and connecting pipes were made available for children to use in their experience and play. There are many opportunities for STEM in everyday life. The trick is to recognise these moments of learning and discovery.

What children learn
To meet the outcomes of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF), there must be provision and planning for children to develop the capabilities for learning in our changing world. Educators should focus on developing children’s curiosity, creativity, critical thinking and cooperative skills.

Why I published the iBook
I was fortunate to work with the early childhood educators from Catholic Education WA as they began a journey into STEM education. We wanted to explore what STEM could look like with children in pre-compulsory schooling. The iBook shares stories of educators working in various contexts, who had different levels of teaching experiences. Together, our aim was to increase STEM learning and teaching experiences and improved education outcomes for children. The iBook celebrates the journey of the educators to improve pedagogy practice and explore STEM in the early years. The iBook also showcases the capabilities and strengths of young children.

STEM in the Early Years: A Journey is available to download for free from the iTunes store: itunes.apple.com/au/book/stem-inthe-early-years/id1187113064?mt=11

Sarah Denholm is a passionate early childhood educator from Perth, Western Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood from Curtin University and a Professional Certificate of Instructional Leadership from The University of Melbourne. Her personal educational philosophy is play based and inquiry led, and takes inspiration from the work and research from Reggio Emilia and nature pedagogy practices. Sarah is passionate about learning environments, pedagogical documentation, and working with families and communities to make learning visible. At the time of the iBook’s publication, Sarah was working as an early childhood consultant for Catholic Education in WA.

Reproduced courtesy of Early Horizons 6.1 with the permission of ASG.

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Fees: 12k - 16k Over 16k
From $13,262 (Early Learning Centre) to $33,246 per annum (Year 12)
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03 9819******* 03 9819 2422
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Address 12 Selbourne Road, Kew 3101
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Home » Education Advice » STEM at De La Salle College

STEM at De La Salle College


“De La Salle students graduate with wide-ranging STEM skills, enabling them to contribute to Australia’s future economic development,” says principal, Peter Houlihan. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills will drive the potential of our future economies. De La Salle College is developing tomorrow’s STEM leaders by offering a range of opportunities to promote learning, engagement and innovation in this field.

STEM is deeply embedded in all levels of the curriculum, from junior Science and Mathematics studies to senior Systems Engineering courses. The philosophy at the foundation of teachings in this field is to enable students to recognise the relevance of this learning in their lives. This encourages students to think critically, reason, generalise, make connections and learn from their mistakes. Students develop competencies such as persistence, self-regulation, critical thinking and problem-solving skills; skills which will prepare them for the 21st century workforce.

The STEM approach provides a platform for interdisciplinary collaboration across subjects in response to issues such as climate change, population growth and increased reliance on technology and robotics.

Facilities include industry-standard machines and processes, such as laser cutting, 3D printing, 2D and 3D Computer-Aided Design, micro-controller coding, mechatronics and introductory Artificial Intelligence. The college is also moving to further expand its STEM facilities with the purchase of a 3D CNC (Computer Numerical Control) routing machine.

Putting these facilities to use, Year 10 Systems Technology students recently built Infrared Remote-Controlled vehicles. Students then tested their vehicles in a race, controlling them from the sidelines using controls they had borrowed from home. The vehicles use an Arduino microcontroller which is programmed by the students to follow commands sent using the remotes. The infrared sensor on the vehicles provide a way for the cars to receive signals from the remote control.

The project combines a number of real-world devices to demonstrate how various components can be used in an integrated electro-mechanical system. Students develop new skills when designing and making the vehicle such as learning how to code the microcontroller, 2D and 3D design, acrylic cutting using the Epilog Zing Laser and 3D printing using the CreatBot 3D printer.

A video of the vehicles in action is available here.

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Annual tuition fees range from : $9,720 - $12,689
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Home » » Newington IB boys bring science to life

Newington IB boys bring science to life


The Newington College Science Superlabs were abuzz with activity when the college’s Year 11 International Baccalaureate students hosted their Year 1 peers from Wyvern House Preparatory School, for a series of Science experiments.

The labs were alive with home-made lightsabers, slinky sound effects, laser light experiments and vibrating balloons as the Year 11 IB boys guided their younger peers through experiments designed to introduce them to concepts of sound and light and build their interest in Science and Technology.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to work with the Year 1 Wyvern students and develop their interest in STEM subjects,” says Year 11 student Richard Ge. “What was most rewarding was seeing their faces light up when participating in the workshops and watching their curiosity guide and drive them in various experiments with light and sound.”

The Year 11 Science students worked together with Ms Lindsay Bosch, STEM teacher at Wyvern, to design the experiments to complement the Stage 1 Science Unit ‘Look! Listen!’ The senior boys’ relationship with Wyvern will continue throughout the year as they take on a number of Science leadership roles with selected Prep School classes as part of their IB service.

The Year 11s loved giving the younger boys a taste of high school science. They led them with flair and expertise as they carefully explained concepts and maintained high levels of engagement and enthusiasm throughout the lessons.

“The Wyvern Science shows were a really good opportunity to introduce a few fundamental concepts, such as light and sound, which the younger boys will encounter while studying senior science in a few years,” says Year 11 student Jock Ferguson. “They really seemed to get a lot out of the sessions through the more interactive nature of our shows, compared to what they would usually experience in the classroom.”

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Home » School News » FRENSHAM is full STEAMm ahead

FRENSHAM is full STEAMm ahead


 

Testament to Frensham’s innovative curriculum and resources applied to ‘STEM- focused’ studies were 2016 Higher School Certificate ‘Top Ten in Course’ achievements in both Design & Technology and Agriculture, by Year 12, and first placing in day one 
of the NSW Science and Engineering Challenge, by Year 10. New facilities and inspirational teachers have continued to support Frensham’s high rate of student involvement in Mathematics, Science, Design and Technology – a contrast to the concern internationally about girls being under-represented in high school Mathematics and Science-based subjects.

Frensham links STEM education to core student involvement in the Arts and in Music – hence the A and the extra ‘m’ the school adds to the familiar acronym.

In a world that is now so dependent on technological innovation and scientific discovery, it is essential that Frensham students leave school with the skills and motivation to undertake the many related professions linked to what are widely known as STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) with equal emphasis on interpretation through the Arts artistic expression, creativity and design thinking – embedded in Music.

More than 85 per cent of Frensham students are enrolled in Music Tuition as an Extra Subject.

Frensham – an outward-looking, forward-thinking boarding school.

Around half of Frensham’s 250 boarders are from families new to boarding. Increasingly, parents are seeing the benefits of ‘boarding’ for developing emotional and intellectual maturity, self-discipline and self-management, and inspiring a deep sense of personal connection.

Futurists say what the world needs most is high-functioning young people – emotionally intelligent, with strong self-management skills – young people with empathy and skill, who value other’s points of view. From their first year at Frensham, students are asked to share in organising and managing important aspects of school life, with the imperative to care about their impact.

In a recent address to parents, Head of Frensham, Julie Gillick shared the following short poem by Guillaume Apollinaire, late 19th century French poet and philosopher, to confirm Frensham’s central belief in supporting students and parents to set the highest expectations – academically and in terms of character and leadership.

“Come to the edge.”
“We can’t. We’re afraid.”
“Come to the edge.”
“We can’t. We will fall!”
“Come to the edge.”
And they came.

And he pushed them.
And they flew.

Ms Gillick noted: ‘I love those words – Apollinaire makes it sound so easy – imagine if all it took to move from 
‘we can’t, we’re afraid’ to ‘flying’ were
 as simple as one short phrase of encouragement – repeated three times. Of course it is not that simple, but at Frensham we believe that with shared commitment to aspirational effort, all students can develop the courage to strive.’

From Term 1 2017, Frensham will accommodate an additional 32 senior boarders in the newly refurbished Linden Turner House, with boarder enrolment at well over 70 per cent of the total school enrolment.

Mimi Wylie from Murrurundi NSW and Abbey O’Regan from Sydney, both with results of 98/100, placed 8th and 10th respectively in NSW in Design & Technology:

Mimi_and_Abbey_Frensham

Mimi Wylie’s app and casing design to monitor the fitness and health of horses in polo matches.

wylie-e-check1

wylie-e-check2

 

Want to know more about Frensham? Take a look at their SchoolChoice page here: Frensham

 

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Home » School News » A love of science

A love of science


 

John Monash Science School (JMSS) is Victoria’s first specialist senior secondary school focusing on science, mathematics and associated technologies.

JMSS has formed strong partnerships with researchers and academics in a broad range of scientific fields at Monash University and CSIRO, sharing resources and expertise and ensuring the courses offered at JMSS are challenging, contemporary and relevant. The curriculum allows students to explore the cutting edge of scientific knowledge and understanding in the areas of physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, mathematics, engineering, biomedical science, geography and computer science. Many students access a university extension subject on the Monash campus alongside traditional Year 12 subjects.

Flexible learning spaces enable students to learn individually and in teams. Each student has access to a range of co-curricular options including languages, music, the arts, community service, leadership and sport. JMSS believes in a holistic education for all students, and the strong focus on personal wellbeing and empowerment, physical activity and leadership development is a feature of life for students at the school.

The school accommodates 640 students from Years 10, 11 and 12 (VCE) from all over Victoria. Each student has their own mentor teacher who is responsible for overseeing the student’s day-to-day progress and wellbeing. The school runs many House events and other programs designed to build confidence, resilience, connectedness and spirit within the community. There’s also a well-developed Mindfulness program to build focus and resilience in students.

The school’s growing outreach program includes work with students and teachers from regional Victoria, as well as local primary schools. Partnerships with several international specialist science schools enable students to collaborate, share research and build friendships with equally passionate students across the globe through exchanges and science fairs. JMSS is excited about opportunities available for teaching its contemporary curriculum online via Emerging Sciences Victoria (ESV) — visit emsci.vic.edu.au for more information.

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Home » School News » Learning through projects

Learning through projects


 

The practice of project-based learning is a Reggio Emilia teaching principle, which inspires education with young Ruyton students. Projects provide a rich inquiry-based approach to learning and operate on the notion that children learn best when they are fully engaged and focused. The children are instrumental in deciding the project topics. As educators observe and document the children’s interests, it becomes clear which topics would serve well to investigate. What is important within the project is that the learning is child-led, rather than teacher-driven. This ensures that a project-based way to learning is meaningful and authentic.

At Ruyton Early Learning, the children participated in a variety of projects. Both Kindergarten groups worked collaboratively on their City Project to complete an amazingly detailed city sculpture. In Co-Ed Pre Prep a project about a journey through space was explored. The children created solar systems, alien pictures, their own UFOs, set off some balloon rockets and used boxes to build an alien city. They learnt about space in their French class and were taught the words for moon and stars. The completion of the project was celebrated with an alien-themed morning tea.

The Girls’ Pre Prep are continuing with the Peace Project. This project was initiated by discussions around two books, Little Peace by Barbara Kerley and The Peace Book by Todd Parr. Both books offer very simple but profound ideas about what peace is, through photographs of people around the world and simple phrases. The children brainstormed their thoughts about peace and this documentation is on display in their classroom.

As the children engaged in the classroom projects they used everyday experiences and discoveries to weave magic into their learning. The projects provided opportunities for the children to connect and collaborate with their peers and educators, and to become co-researchers in the learning process.

Ms Teresa Wojcik, acting director of Early Learning

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03 9819******* 03 9819 2422
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Address 12 Selbourne Road, Kew 3101
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Home » School News » Preparing students for a technological future

Preparing students for a technological future


By Michelle Dennis, eLearning manager at Mentone Girls’ Grammar School

One of my immense joys about working as the eLearning manager at Mentone Girls’ Grammar School is also the greatest challenge: to keep one eye focused on the future. Education must not just prepare students for the world we know now, but the one that our students will be living and working in 10, 20, and 50 years’ time.

The wonders of the ‘Magic School Bus’ are closer than you may think – in fact, some of our students are already experiencing some magical field trips. With Virtual Reality Headsets, we can transport our students into other worlds; they can follow red blood cells through vessels, land Apollo 11 on the Moon or have encounters with dinosaurs. To introduce students to this new way of thinking, we are currently developing a program in Year 9 Geography where students will use contour maps to construct Australian landscapes to explore in Virtual Reality.

Sewable electronics, 3D video games and dancing robots are some more ideas being explored as we develop new courses for Digital Technology at Years 8 and 9. Students will generate creative and fun solutions, engaging with new technologies and learning computational thinking skills. These core new subjects will be introduced in 2017 and will provide a platform for our students to become global leaders in the ideas economy.

It’s also imperative that students have a solid introduction to STEM-related studies in their early years of learning so they can develop their digital technology skills. For example, our Prep students have been abuzz after meeting the newest members of the school: the Beebots, which provide our young students an accessible and fun introduction to sequencing and algorithms. Meanwhile, our Years 2–6 students recently participated in Code Camp Australia, where they had the fantastic opportunity to build their own iPhone apps.

From OneNote in Japanese to the gamification of Accounting, these are just some examples of how schools can embed technology, coding and virtual reality into their curriculum.

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Enrolment Approximately 780 students
Fees: 12k - 16k Over 16k
$12,215 - $27, 515
Phone
03 9581******* 03 9581 1200
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Address 11 Mentone Parade, Mentone 3194
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Home » School News » A unique learning experience

A unique learning experience


Did you know that Victoria has its own specialist secondary school focusing on science, mathematics and associated technologies?

Applications open early each year for students to attend John Monash Science School (JMSS) in Years 10, 11 and 12, which is the result of a unique partnership between the Victorian Government and Monash University. It’s located in a purpose-built facility on the university’s Clayton Campus.

JMSS has formed strong partnerships with researchers and academics in a broad mix of scientific fields at Monash University, sharing resources and expertise, and allowing students to explore the cutting edge of scientific knowledge in physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, mathematics, engineering, biomedical science, geography and computer science.

JMSS is unique in many ways — learning spaces are flexible, so that students can learn individually as well as in teams, and students develop individual learning portfolios informed by their own interests and abilities.

Students travel from all over the state to attend JMSS, and current student Geraldine explains what it’s like to study at this specialist school.

What attracted you to JMSS?

What attracted me to attend were the opportunities and facilities unique to JMSS. Also, as a science enthusiast, the idea of students and teachers who share a common passion for science and mathematics coming together to achieve something greater, as well as supporting each other and learning collaboratively, appealed to me.

How is JMSS different to non­specialised high schools?

In Year 10 we study core science (biology, chemistry and physics) as well as choosing emerging science electives such as nanotechnology, astrophysics and bioinformatics. A key feature of JMSS is the approach to learning from the students and teachers, with the open classrooms and the table arrangements, which allows flexibility as well as making it easier to communicate and collaborate with other students. Moreover, most classes are larger, and have two supportive teachers who are able to teach concurrently, or split up and take smaller groups of students in order to suit their needs. Furthermore, as a kinaesthetic learner, I learn best by experiencing things and seeing them in action, and the teachers at JMSS understand that and embrace it, and take the opportunity to engage the students as well as challenging us to stretch our knowledge of important concepts.

How did you feel when you were accepted as a student at JMSS?

I was overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions such as excitement and determination to tackle all the challenges ahead, however I was also worried about the new experiences and what JMSS had in store for me. Looking back, I didn’t have anything to be worried about because the JMSS community is one that welcomes and supports its students.

What’s your favourite subject and why?

Currently, I can’t choose what my favourite subject is because I love biology and psychology equally the most. I have a passion in these subjects, and the teachers deliver the content in an engaging and interactive method, ranging from activities such as practicals and dissections, to redesigning our brain.

What do you and your friends aspire to be when you finish studying?

When I finish my studies, I aspire to work in the field of biology or psychology because those are where my passions lie. However, I’m still watching out for other opportunities and possible future occupations available. Most of my friends are still deciding what they aspire to be, however a few of my friends hope to become engineers, physicists, chemists and biologists.

Tell us about your favourite learning experience at JMSS?

My favourite learning experience as a JMSS student was attending the annual Japan Super Science Fair held in Kyoto last year with a small team of students and a teacher to showcase our projects, as well as to interact with other schools and passionate and determined students. This opportunity has impacted me greatly, broadening my exposure to the scientific field and developing my communication skills, not only in English, but also in Japanese. This once-in-a-lifetime experience is one that I will never forget.

What would you say to students thinking about applying at JMSS?

To those thinking about applying at JMSS, I thoroughly recommend it because some of the experiences and opportunities that will be open to you here will not be available in any other place.

Join John Monash Science School for its Information Night at 7pm on Wednesday 4 May 2016, at Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University, Clayton, Melbourne. Entry is free, and bookings are not required.

* See the school in action at its annual Science Exhibition Night from 5pm to 7pm on Tuesday 10 May. Entry is free, and bookings are not required.

Address: 39 Innovation Walk, Monash University Vic 3800

Phone: 03 9905 1002

Email: john.monash.ss@edumail.vic.gov.au

Website: jmss.vic.edu.au

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