QUEENSLAND’S chief scientist had nothing but praise for the learning taking place at an environmental learning centre – Sheep Station Gully – at St Stephen’s School, Algester.
Dr Geoff Garrett joined Queensland Science Minister Leeanne Enoch for a tour of the award-winning, state-of-the-art facility, which was designed to enhance practical learning opportunities in the field of science.
Conceived under the national Local Schools Working Together initiative, the environmental learning centre benefited students from both St Stephen’s and Algester State School.
The building was built using brick, straw bales and ply cladding.
Wall temperatures, mains water, rainwater and power usage are monitored and recorded via a customised building management system and displayed on an interactive website for students to interpret.
Students from both schools presented a showcase of their recent science projects before being treated to an engaging presentation by Dr Garrett.
He spoke about how he loved science as a child and about being inspired by the words of American President John Kennedy, when he said he wanted to send a man to the moon.
He also confessed to the students to being a “Trekkie”, watching Captain Kirk, Spock and the crew of the Starship Enterprise go “where no man has gone before”.
Dr Garrett said it was great to see the two schools making such great use of the environmental learning centre and getting the best out of their students.
“It was amazing,” he said.
“Here we’ve got two terrific schools working together, collaboration is key and the enthusiasm from the seven-year-olds through to the twelve-year-olds was brilliant.
“They really are enjoying their science.
“They’re enjoying doing experiments, they’re observing and trying to understand what’s happening; they’re asking the right questions; they’re doing exactly what science is all about.
“And they’re having fun doing it.
“From experiments with frogs to making their own building bricks from clay to birdwatching or decoding or robotics – it’s all outstanding work.”
Dr Garrett also praised the “talented” teachers from both schools who were inspiring the students to be adventurous with their learning.
Ms Enoch was equally impressed with the student’s work.
“As both the Member for Algester and the Science Minister, I’m excited to see young people in the electorate developing a passion for science,” Ms Enoch said.
“An understanding of concepts like coding and robotics will be critical in preparing these students for the jobs of the future.”