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Teachers, here’s how to use the Bragg Prize in class

Bragg Prize in Class

Looking for ways to incorporate this year’s competition into your classroom? You’ve landed on the right page

The UNSW Bragg Student Prize for Science Writing is a competition for Year 7-10 students in Australia. This year’s topic is biodiversity and community: working together to protect the environment. We’re asking students to describe, in 800 words, some great community interaction with conservation and biodiversity. Their essays could cover:

  • What is the best citizen science project – how does it work and how is it used? Examples include Frog ID, Birdwatch
  • How is your school or local community involved in conservation?
  • How are Indigenous values inherent in conservation practices?
  • How do scientists work with communities in conservation research?

Here are some examples of how you can get the ball rolling with your students

Spread the word

    Assistant Director of Mathematics and VET Cybersecurity teacher at John Curtin College of the Arts in Fremantle (and Bragg Prize judge!) Donna Buckley encourages you to advertise the competition on the school notice board and to pass it on to other STEM teachers.  You could also use the competition a part of National Science Week school activities and publish essays in your school magazine or newsletter.

    Help them decide on a topic

    Cherie Donohoe, a science teacher at Kirrawee High, has entered her students in the competition multiple times. Her tips for settling on an essay focus are:

    • Review past winning entries as exemplars – what sets them apart from the rest?
    • Get students to map out a selection of ideas they might like to pursue.
    • Divide the class into groups to create mind maps followed by a class discussion to share ideas.
    • Reach out to your English faculty for advice and guidance as they can share specific suggestions on writing for audience. “Make sure they have seen the previous winning entries and understand the style of writing that is required,” she stresses. 

    Make it mandatory

    Another piece of advice from Cherie: “Hand out and chase up permission forms. Communicate with the parents about how this competition is an opportunity for students to develop writing and research skills!” 

    Integrate it with other subjects

    Last year at Donna’s school, the Year 9 Academic Extension coordinators for English, Maths, Science and HASS integrated the competition as an interdisciplinary task, with one lesson dedicated to discussing and learning about the essay topic within the context of their learning area perspectives. 

    Give them writing tips

    We’ve rounded up some excellent science writing tips from science communicator and past judge, Heather Catchpole, here. Share the link with your class via email or Google Classroom.

    To learn more about the UNSW Bragg Student Prize for Science Writing and to enter, visit the official competition page.

    Looking for more STEM education resources? Sign up to the Careers with STEM: Teachers e-newsletter and subscribe to the Careers with STEM YouTube channel.


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