Despite the challenges of 2021, students, teachers, industry professionals and council staff throughout Western Sydney have partnered with CSIRO to participate in the Generation STEM – STEM Community Partnerships Program (STEM CPP).
Generation STEM is a 10-year initiative of the NSW Department of Education, through a $25 million endowment to the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF). Delivered by CSIRO, Generation STEM aims to build a bigger, stronger and more diverse STEM talent pipeline in NSW.
Through STEM CPP, Year 9 and 10 students participate in inquiry-based projects to address real-world challenges faced by their local communities. STEM CPP engages students to discover the relevance of STEM in everyday life by connecting schools with local industry. Participating students have been investigating local issues with the support of their teachers and industry mentors and have worked throughout the year to prepare projects to be presented to the community at the 2021 STEM CPP Virtual Showcases.
Vilashni Prasad, Science teacher from James Meehan High School said "The program has allowed us to do things very differently at our school. We were able to bring fun back into learning and our executive team would like to incorporate STEM into Stage 5 curriculum. After the showcase, our Principal was left beaming with pride."
Across six virtual showcases, students from 27 schools in the Blacktown, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool and Penrith City Councils shared their STEM ideas and solutions that have been developed as part of CSIRO’s STEM STEM CPP. About 87 projects were presented to an audience of more than 500 attendees, addressing problems with water, transport, energy, ageing, the aerotropolis and agribusiness.
Words of celebration and encouragement came via pre-recorded speeches from CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall, the NSW Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee MP and NSW Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell.