Science is all about the art of discovery and learning. Using research and experimentation to advance, innovate and evolve. This is an exciting field of interacting with and understanding the world we live in. With the journey of self discovery playing part in scientific development, the value of making the study of science enthralling holds benefits beyond just knowledge. Education resources are evolving to this ideal, that science is learned best when experienced first hand. The TwistED education centre and IntoScience learning program are both cases as to how scientific learning is becoming more engaging.
Echuca is a small town along the Murray River in Victoria. A place of old timey steam boats and old fashioned hospitality. But while there is considerable heritage to Echuca, the actions being done in the name of education and science are anything but traditional. Kathy Stubberfield is a local to the town of Echuca. With her background in science as a University wheat breeder and a school lab tech, she decided to create something that would combine “what kids like, and what I think science education should be like” (Masterson 2015). This led to the creation of TwistED.
TwistED is a science themed education centre that addresses scientific topics in 20 different environments filled with science related activities. TwistED engages the mind through activites like interactive sand contour maps, building mock spaceships, and sending balls through an obstacle of tubes. All activities done within the centre aren’t just created to educate but to build a learning experience. To engage people with science that they can see, feel, smell and hear. Ms Stubberfield says that “We don’t tell people how to play with anything, or how anything works. It’s all about doing it your way” (Masterson 2015) . Creating an environment where you can both learn about science, while appreciating the process of discovery.
IntoScience is an educational program that fosters the same scientific learning. IntoScience takes curriculum learning and breaks it down into activity points. A student can engage in school topics in a way that is out of the norm, whether that be exploring the virtual Jenolan caves, zooming in on particle activity in everyday objects, recording crash test results in your own simulator or competing with other budding scientists in fast paced quizzing.
IntoScience is a tool that lets students’ engage with their learning. They see, hear and interact with scientific topics on a number of easily accessible platforms in order to make science easy and entertaining. Teachers can use IntoScience to reinforce learning by giving students’ the knowledge and freedom to explore their scientific curiosity, all while allowing teachers to access student results and data to transfer knowledge back to classroom learning.
Learning environments like TwistED and IntoScience are an indication of what can be accomplished when students are given a learning environment built around exploration and discovery. This educational approach is one of extreme value as it allows students’ to learn within the foundations, curiosity, discovery and self-growth of a real scientist.
Masterson, 2015, A TwistEd approach to science, maths education helps rural kids. October 25 2015. Andrew Masterson: Blog. Available from: <http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/a-twisted-approach-to-science-maths-education-helps-rural-kids-20151019-gkciuu.html>. [26 October 2015].
twistED, 2015. Available from: <http://twisted.twistedscience.com.au/>. [26 October 2015].