Students in Cairns showed off their science skills through a program being implemented by CSIRO Education & Outreach to develop STEM education amongst Indigenous students.

Therese Postma, Indigenous STEM Education Program Director, presents Balaclava State School’s certificate of participation in the Inquiry for Indigenous Science Students program.

The event at Gordonvale State High School on 9 September 2016 celebrated the successful completion of the Inquiry for Indigenous Science Students (I2S2) program in the Cairns area.

Students demonstrated the hands-on aspects of each inquiry such as making fire through friction, the impact of cooking on matter, and using natural resins as adhesives. They also discussed the links between these skills and the Australian Curriculum: Science with the guests at the event.

Grandad Frank and Neal preparing a variety of fish for the celebration event.

The Cairns region is part of this national program being delivered in schools, to over 5,000 students across Australia during 2016.

Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander Partnerships, Mr Curtis Pitt MP, who attended the event, wrote about the event on his Facebook page in which he stressed the importance of STEM education given that "75% of the fastest growing occupations in Queensland require Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) knowledge".

The students compared traditional wrapping methods with modern wrapping methods. Throughout the program year 5 students explored traditional cooking methods and their links to Australian Curriculum: Science - States of Matter.

Jesse King, one of the I2S2 Coordinators from CSIRO Education & Outreach who delivers the I2S2 program, said that it was important "to keep students engaged and achieving in science throughout the middle years of schooling, to ensure a smooth transition into senior secondary science programs".

Dignitaries who attended the event included elders of the Mullanburra Yidinji people as well as representatives from BHP Billiton Foundation, CSIRO, and the Yarrabah Shire Council. 

The I2S2 program is currently working with 45 schools to develop, implement and monitor Indigenous science inquiry education resources and teacher professional development modules which will be adapted and made available to schools around the country in the future.

The I2S2 program is part of the Indigenous STEM Education Project funded by the BHP Billiton Foundation and delivered by CSIRO.

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