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The Inquiry for Indigenous Science Students program provides teachers with the tools and understanding to embed Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander perspectives into the Australian Curriculum.

What is Inquiry for Indigenous Science Students?

The Inquiry for Indigenous Science Students, or I²S², program is aimed at Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students in Years 5 to 9.

The program provides teacher professional learning to embed Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultural knowledges through hands-on inquiry-based projects, to increase student engagement and achievement in science.

Part of the Indigenous STEM Education Project, I²S² is delivered by CSIRO and funded by the BHP Foundation.

Learn more

33C - CSIRO - I2S2 

[Animation image appears of a hand passing a blue patterned circle to another hand and text appears above: STEM]

Narrator: On Kamilaroi Country students learn how Elders pass down their knowledges and scientific understanding of stone tool production.

[Animation image changes to show a linked black dot pattern, a moving yellow dot pattern, and a few small blue moving dots and then the image changes to show a dot pattern forming a cooking fire]

On the traditional lands of the Goombungee people students learn about the properties of solids, liquids and gases by investigating scientific understandings used in traditional cooking methods.

[Image changes to show black text on a white screen “I²S²”, and then the image changes to show the blue patterned circle below text “STEM”, and then CSIRO and the BHP Foundation logos appear]

These activities are part of the Inquiry for Indigenous Science Students Programme or I²S², one facet of the Indigenous STEM Education Project, delivered by CSIRO and funded by the BHP Foundation.

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Aimed at Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students in Years 5 to 9, one of the keys to the programme’s approach is the value placed on how Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to create and develop high level science inquiry skills.

[Animation image changes to show six yellow circles with symbols inside of a female, a fire, a clapping stick, a male, a flower, and a laptop]

As a result this programme here is strengthening students sense of culture, connection to traditional ecological and scientific knowledges, and the way they learn and think about science.

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Teachers have reported increased capacity and confidence in embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contexts into the science curriculum.

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Schools benefit too by becoming more skilled and confident in delivering culturally responsive teaching and creating stronger school community partnerships.

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An evaluation of I²S² show that: 40% of all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students had increased engagement after an Inquiry unit; an even higher 51% of low achieving students had increased engagement,

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27% of all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students increased their academic achievement after taking part in I²S²;

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and 44% of low achieving students increased their academic results.

[Animation image changes to show text on a white screen “I²S²” and then the text reduces in size and a patterned circle with clapping sticks appears surrounding the text: 59%]

Implementing an I²S² unit was also shown to have a positive impact in academic results and engagement for non-Indigenous students 59% of low achieving non-Indigenous students improved their academic achievement after an Inquiry Unit.

[Animation image changes to show three revolving yellow circles showing the I²S² symbol, a spirograph symbol and an Australian map symbol inside]

 I² S² provides a blueprint for culturally responsive and sustaining science education.

[Animation image changes to show the blue patterned circle and text appears beneath: csiro.au/indigenous-education]

If you want to learn more about the evaluation findings of this project visit csiro.au/indigenous-education.

[Music plays and the image changes to show the CSIRO and BHP Foundation logos on a white screen]

 

About the Inquiry for Indigenous Science Students Program

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Important statistics

11,000

students

1,000+

teachers

43

schools

89%

of students showed improvement or similar engagement after participating in I2S2 inquiry.

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