Inspiring young minds on our floating classroom

By October 4th, 2019

Engaging students in STEM topics can be a challenge. Keeping learning relevant and demonstrating that STEM is not just about scientists in white lab coats is vital for engaging young minds in STEM. Showcasing how STEM can be used in the real-world is exactly what teachers have been doing on board CSIRO’s research vessel Investigator.

More than 800 students in Australia and overseas learned about Australia’s underwater volcanoes and how the Coral Sea was formed as part of a recent Educator on Board voyage.

Educators on Board Olivia Belshaw (Secondary Science Teacher at Jindabyne Central School, NSW) and Jamie Menzies (Learning and Access Officer at the Scottish Maritime Museum and Research Assistant at The University of Edinburgh) beamed their findings into classrooms, sharing what it is like to work as a marine researcher on board RV Investigator.

Speaking to The Brisbane Times, Olivia said that the students were really interested in new corals collected from the sea floor, and the possible new species discovered.

“A lot of students get it into their heads that science is old, that there are no new discoveries, but we were able to talk to the kids about the fact that every day on that ship we made new discoveries,” said Olivia.

During the live-link ups, students were engaged and asked many interesting questions, such as ‘Are there any shipwrecks?’, “How many metres does the dredge go down?” and “Why did you decide to become a scientist?”.

Jamie and Olivia during a live cross to an Australian School

Jamie and Olivia during a live cross to an Australian School.

About the program

Educator on Board is a collaboration between the Marine National Facility and CSIRO Education and Outreach which gives teachers an opportunity to enhance their STEM knowledge on board RV Investigator.

Jamie joined this voyage as a guest of the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh, who were voyage collaborators. While Educator on Board isn’t open to international teachers, participation on this voyage has been supported via berths donated from the international Science Team.