We have celebrated National Science Week right across Ascham this week. So it is timely that our Head of Science, Ms Ann Brownlee, answers the million-atom question… why science?
‘Science is an amazingly broad subject that is found in so many aspects of day-to-day life, from the physics of forces and seatbelts in cars, chemistry in our kitchens, medicines and materials like plastics and technology and biology in viruses, vaccines and pandemics. By studying science we gain a better understanding of useful concepts that help us explain the how and the why of issues around us. Our Science curriculum gives students real-life application and the knowledge to understand what real science is and what is pseudoscience. It also aims to give students the creativity to find solutions to some of the world’s problems.
Our Years 7-10 courses allow students to explore all strands of Science; the living world, physical world, earth and space and the chemical world. They are introduced to working scientifically skills to help improve scientific literacy. The course is practical, interesting and engaging but also challenging. It allows students to be curious about the world around them and gain an appreciation about science. This then lays the foundation for further science study in Years 11 and 12.
When students study science in Years 11 and 12 they get to extend their knowledge in their chosen science discipline. This will give the students the relevant foundation to further study at tertiary level.
The importance of science in our current times can be seen in the Australian Government data that projects STEM occupations will grow by approx. 11 per cent, whereas all non-STEM jobs are projected to grow by only about six per cent over the next few years.
Many of our brightest Ascham students are taking up STEM-based courses while here and then continuing when they leave the school. Our numbers in Years 11 and 12 sciences are very high. From our 2019 cohort, 40% chose STEM-based courses of study to enroll in post-school, an increase of 10% since 2016. This is an impressive number considering that STEM careers have traditionally been dominated by men.
So, in answer to this question: why science?… I believe it is important for us to study science to make us better equipped to interpret information as we encounter it, then process and analyse this information to make valid conclusions. By studying science we acquire tools that help us critically evaluate information and problem-solve to come up with creative solutions. This then holds us in good stead as we move from the school environment and take on real world issues through further study on any topic and especially in Science related / STEM degrees.’