Science and Technology

Next generation geoscientists help solve real-world problems

Students weighing mineral samples during their visit to Geoscience Australia

High-performing Year 11 and 12 students from across Australia will visit Geoscience Australia throughout January 2017, offering a unique hands-on science experience to some of Australia’s best and brightest science students.

Geoscience Australia’s acting CEO, Dr Andy Barnicoat welcomed the students and explained that Earth science is a very diverse field with many opportunities to offer.

“By studying subjects such as geology, environmental systems, maths, chemistry, physics, computing and engineering, you have the potential to help solve some of Australia’s major geoscience challenges. This is includes helping to unlock the secrets of Australia’s ancient mineral systems, managing Australia’s precious water resources and finding better ways to manage the impact of natural hazards.”

During the 2017 National Youth Science Forum visits, students will carry out practical science scenarios to find and analyse a hidden heavy mineral sands deposit.

They will work in teams to complete a magnetic survey, use laboratory equipment to separate out the minerals found, and then run a detailed data analysis of their samples.

“By challenging these students with real-world problems, they can experience the excitement and importance of scientific discovery,” said Shona Blewett, coordinator of Geoscience Australia’s Education Centre.

“There are some incredible career opportunities available in the Earth sciences, and we hope these students will further engage in science and ultimately follow a career in the geosciences.”

Geoscience Australia will also host a visit from the top-performing Earth and Environmental Science students attending the Australian Science Olympiad Summer School.

High-achieving students attend the summer school, and those who perform well in final selection exams, earn a spot on the Earth and Environmental Science Australian Olympiad team and will go on to compete at the 2017 International Earth Science Olympiad in Côte d’Azur, France in August.

And to support the teachers that inspire and extend these students, Geoscience Australia will also host several professional development workshops for Primary and Secondary teachers throughout January.

This includes welcoming the Australian Science Teachers Association’s STEM X Academy program being held in Canberra from 8-13 January 2017, and the National Youth Science Forum summer school for teachers.

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