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Full steam ahead for busy STEM Central

Published:25 November 2020

Student activities at STEM Central at CQUniversity Gladstone.

After closing doors due to COVID-19 restrictions earlier this year, CQUniversity Gladstone's STEM Central has been welcoming hundreds of people with a bumper month of high-tech events.

The state-of-the-art facility that takes science, technology, engineering and mathematics out of the classroom and into the real world recently marked its second birthday, and there's been lots more to celebrate too.

More than 600 students, preservice teachers, community members and staff got to explore and expand their STEM knowledge and skills in October alone, with a series of COVID-safe events.

The variety of sessions provided valuable hands-on experience for our preservice teachers and students were able to explore and learn about parts of the Gladstone Region that they otherwise would not have access to.

Some of the events included:

ConocoPhillips/SANTOS - The Science Experience

Year 9 and 10 school students broadened their knowledge of STEM, business and entrepreneur skills spending time with Scott Miller from BOP Industries, a trip to Quoin Island with several rotations including The Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, Tangaroa Blue, CMERC, Harbour Watch, a tour of CQUni Gladstone facilities, drone flying, virtual reality along with guest speakers Dr Megan Ellis - GPC and Eliza Coop – Santos and guest presenters Dr Michelle Vanderburg from Bundaberg and Associate professor Mike Cowling from Brisbane.

PreQUIP

Year 10 Indigenous students attended CQUni as part of their career development to investigate potential career opportunities in the region.

Queensland Virtual STEM Academy

Students from several schools were lucky enough to access seagrass meadows and coral rock pools to collect seagrass seeds, assisting with the research CMERC are currently undertaking as well as experience some hands-on STEM activities on the barge.

First Lego League

More than 300 students battled it out at the annual STEM event. This experience has students develop solutions to various challenges while introducing them to STEM through fun, hands-on learning.

Birthday and Website Launch

Celebrations were held for STEM Central’s 2nd birthday, which coincided with the official launch of STEM Central’s website cqu.edu.au/stemcentral

School visits

Schools have taken the opportunity through COVID-19 restrictions to explore the facilities and resources of STEM Central. This included 80 Year 5 students from Calliope who attended to undertake a Leadership Camp.

Volunteers assisted with many events, including pre-service teachers and work experience students.

The STEM Central team has also begun planning for an Indigenous Primary Project, improving literacy and numeracy through STEM, for implementation in 2021. The project for Year 3 and Year 4 Indigenous students will see students attend STEM Central one day each week in Terms 2 and 3 next year, and is funded by Australia Pacific LNG.

If you are interested in volunteering at any of our upcoming events or just to keep in touch with what’s happening at STEM Central,  sign up for STEM Central updates via cqu.edu.au/stemcentral, or contact Dr Linda Pfeiffer at CQUni Gladstone Marina campus on stemcentral@cqu.edu.au.