What’s your school’s STEM program like? Three students walk us through theirs

One of the coolest projects MCSHS STEM students have worked on is a sophisticated mentoring program with 40 Year 5 students.

Mountain Creek State High School’s STEM education program is highly regarded – and after chatting to three of its students, we can see why

Being into STEM is one thing, but finding the support within your school to dive into all that fun, extra-curricular stuff is another.

Mountain Creek State High school (MCSHS) is one of those schools – celebrating STEM at every opportunity! On top of their Year 7-9 STEM classes, they’ve developed an epic science, tech, engineering and maths syllabus which includes a nationally recognised robotics team, coding club, National Science Week effort, UQ Science Ambassador Program and even its own block of classrooms dedicated to STEM learning – the Leading Edge STEM Centre.

Here, we chat to three students heavily involved in the school’s STEM initiatives – and find out how they’ve prepped them for tertiary study and future employment opportunities.

From left to right: Jenna, Saara, Sophie
  • Saara, Year 12, chemistry lover
  • Jenna, Year 12, maths fan
  • Sophie , Year 11, science enthusiast

Hi guys! Tell us about some of the awesome projects you’ve been involved with.

The girls: “We’ve achieved so much in the last year! We’ve been involved in organising National Science Week within the school and hosting workshops in collaboration with the Academy for Enterprising Girls, but the one that stands out most is the ‘Year 5 Start-Up Mini’ – a workshop we created and hosted in November for future STEM leaders! We invited 40 Year 5 students from local primary schools to participate in a day of design thinking to develop their critical thinking and collaborative skills. We showcased the importance of STEM by getting the kids to brainstorm ideas around UN sustainability goals, guiding them to develop them into business or social enterprise solutions. ”

Encouraging younger students into STEM is all in a days work for the students at MCSHS.

Us: Wow, so cool! Such a fun introduction to STEM. What about a regular day – when you guys are just doing your thing at school? What are your classes like?

The girls: “Most of our science classes are held in labs and classrooms where we learn scientific theory, but also get to test their application in practical ways. Often physics, biology and marine biology students go on camps and excursions to apply the theory they’ve learnt into the real world.”

Us: What about STEM team projects? You guys must do a lot of collaborative stuff. What’s the secret to smashing team-based assignments?

The girls: “Yep, we do – and it’s great because we all bring something different to the table. We’re all equals and share responsibilities! Listening to each other is really important – and taking everyone’s opinions on board really helps with the planning and implementation stages. It’s also been helpful to focus on one or two goals at a time and executing them well. And of course, keeping the wider community in mind – who we’re doing it for.”

Us: What’s the coolest thing about studying STEM?

The girls: “Ah, so hard to pinpoint. STEM is for everyone – it covers infinite opportunities and interests, but the value of meeting like-minded people is immeasurable! It’s an abbreviation that covers a broad range of subjects – all linked to each other – that allows people of those interests to work effectively together.”

Us: Wow, yep – that is cool! Can you picture yourselves studying something STEM-related after high school?

The girls: “Yes, for sure! At the moment we’re interested in going into medical and psychological fields – but even if that changes, all the problem-solving and design thinking skills we’ve learned through studying STEM can really be applied to any field or career.”

Us: Totally! You guys must have some pretty awesome teachers.

The girls: “Yes, we really do. We’re privileged to have STEM teachers who share their love for learning, and are keen to pass on their wisdom to the next generation of leaders – us!”

Us: So excited to see what you guys do in the future! How do you think you would bust stereotypes out there in the STEM world? Our fave thing to do, obviously.

The girls: “Haha! Well, at the moment we’re a full-female team which we’re really proud of – and we don’t wear lab coats for the most part. However, we strongly believe that it’s important to maintain the balance of guys to girls in STEM because it’s for everyone! We’ve focussed on involving all young people – no matter preferred STEM-discipline or identity  – so that the future is full of people who love what they do, and who can make a difference. “

Us: Amazing! What a cool crew you guys have.

Keen to know more about the MCSHS STEM program? Head here.

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Cassie Steel

Author: Cassie Steel

As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.

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