Some of the world’s leading marine scientists will be Zooming in to high school classrooms this term to help Year 12 students achieve their best in their final year of study amid the COVID-19 confusion.
With the COVID restrictions keeping scientists grounded, Western Australian-based researchers from The University of Western Australia (UWA), Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University, Curtin University as well as federal government agencies CSIRO, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and state government departments managing Parks and Wildlife (DBCA) and Fisheries research (DPIRD) have responded to the challenging time in education by offering their expertise to students studying marine and maritime subjects.
Led by WA marine science school teachers through the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) partnership, students will have unprecedented access to pitch questions about final year subjects to the top scientists in their field of research.
Coordinator and Sacred Heart College marine science teacher John Ryan described it as a great opportunity for final year students who have been finding it hard to stay motivated.
“This is an exciting opportunity for all Year 11 and 12 Marine and Maritime students to learn from the scientists who are at the forefront of research on these subjects,” Mr Ryan said.
Each week a scientist will conduct a presentation on one of the subjects in the curriculum followed by a question and answer session. The sessions will also be recorded and made available to teachers and students across the state.
The broad topics covered include: major issues affecting Australia’s marine environment; strategies for managing marine biodiversity; and the impact of the enhanced greenhouse effect.
UWA Professor of Coastal Oceanography Charitha Pattiaratchi, who was involved in modelling the possible path of debris from the missing Malaysian airliner MH370, said scientists were happy to be able to help final year students through a difficult time.
“When I was 15 I had a little blue note book and on it I had written a note I’d copied from a comic book about a career as an oceanographer that motivated me to become an oceanographer,” Professor Pattiaratchi said. “I hope in some way we can help to keep these students motivated to pursue a career that will see them help solve some of the marine environment’s greatest challenges.