Thinking of involving your students in this year's Science and Engineering Investigation Awards? Through developing inquiry skills, increasing content knowledge and solving problems, the Awards link to the Australian Curriculum: Science.
The Awards also provide an opportunity for your students to showcase their work outside of school, and to receive external encouragement and recognition of their projects by experts.
Participating in the Awards is free and your students will receive a certificate acknowledging their efforts. Financial assistance may be available towards transport costs. You can contact your local Rotary club to request assistance if needed: School/Club Relationships
Plan your involvement in the Science and Engineering Investigation Awards using the checklist for teachers. We have provided some classroom resources to help you get started. We've also outlined some links to the Australian Curriculum to help integrate the Awards into your classroom.
For your keen students, the Awards can be the first step in entering other inquiry-based competitions such as the Tasmanian Science Talent Search.
Top tips for teachers and home educators
Make the Science and Engineering Investigation Awards work for you! Whether you are teaching in a high school with the support of a laboratory manager or in a primary school or at home where you may be doing it all yourself, the following management strategies might help to make your life easier.
- To initiate discussion but to keep ideas-focused, use a common theme with a suggested list of topics as a starting point. This may also help reduce the range of resources required.
- Assist students to construct a timeline and impose time limits at various stages of the project, e.g. planning, experimentation or design, and reporting stages. Project teams could deliver a short update to the class at the end of each of these stages.
- Encourage students to make a clear list of materials and equipment required.
- Consider time constraints and costs of obtaining materials and equipment and preparation time.
- Set up a personal storage area for students projects, e.g. a box or space on a shelf, so that all materials and equipment can be stored together in one place.
- Allow students to drive their project by encouraging them to make relevant contacts, be responsible for providing and organising some of the materials, supplying accurate plans, measurements and quantities.
- Run another unit of work concurrently so students have work to continue with while they are waiting for results. Or encourage students to work on writing their report (introduction, materials, method).
- If class time is limited, introduce investigations in advance (during another unit, or before a term break, allowing for “thinking time” out of class). Researching ideas and developing an initial plan could be assigned as homework, allowing a shorter allocation of class time to actually set up and carry out projects.