Big Science competition free to schools - Education Matters Magazine
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Big Science competition free to schools

NAP-Science-Literacy-report-2018-results

One of Australia’s biggest national science competitions is being offered to schools and students across Australia free of charge for the first time, giving more students an opportunity to test their science knowledge.

The Big Science competition helps students in Years 7 to 10 to challenge their science knowledge against state and national performance averages.

High achievers can receive further opportunities, including invitations to take part in programs such as the Curious Minds program for Year 9 and 10 girls, the new Australian Junior Science Olympiads program, and the prestigious International Science Olympiad competitions.

The 50-minute, multiple-choice quiz is written by science education professionals and aligned to the Australian Curriculum.

Teachers receive information, which they can use to assess their students’ science understanding and critical thinking skills, and diagnose strengths and weaknesses in conceptual knowledge, skill development and scientific literacy.

Leader of Learning, Science at Casimir Catholic College in Sydney and a Board Member of Australian Science Innovations (ASI) Anna Davis said the competition results can help teachers to uncover common misconceptions and improve learning outcomes for their students.

“By making the Big Science Competition free of charge, ASI wants to see schools not only put their top class in the competition but open it up to more students,” Davis said.

In the past five years, more than than 100,000 Year 7 to 10 students from 550 schools have participated in the Big Science Competition.

“I did the Big Science Competition a couple of years ago and I loved it because it included the science concepts we do at school but also involved some cool problem solving,” Sarah Onoprienko, a Year 10 student at Isis District State High School in Childers, Queensland said.

Onoprienko’s performance in the Big Science competition led to an invitation to participate in ASI’s national Curious Minds program, which immerses girls in extension science learning and provides them with a female mentor who works in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Australian Science Innovations’ Executive Director Ruth Carr added that in the future the completion will help it identify students from underrepresented regional and rural schools for its new Junior Science Olympiad training squads.

“No matter where students live or go to school, this competition opens doors to further opportunities, and lets them take their passion and aptitude for science to the next level,” she said.

Registration is open for schools and students to participate in the Big Science Competition until 16 May 2021.

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