The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science awards recognise outstanding teachers who are instrumental in inspiring the next generation of scientists and researchers.
This year’s awards saw two Australian educators recognised for their innovative and passionate teaching practices that have inspired students and connected teachers across Australia.
Find out about the amazing work they’ve done and why they do it in the videos below.
The 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science includes two outstanding and inspiring teachers who significantly contribute to science education.
The awards signify the importance of extraordinary teachers in encouraging students and provoking passion for science.
Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools: Sarah Fletcher
Sarah Fletcher, from Bonython Primary School in the Australian Capital Territory, is a STEM Specialist Teacher who implements innovative and creative practises thanks to her belief that real learning is a product of emotional attachment.
“All children are born scientists. They’re full of questions and have a thirst to find answers. My role is to make sure that they never lose that thirst, and to create a safe space for them to voice their questions and work towards answering them.” She says.
Her work extends beyond the classroom by organising Science Educators’ Association of the Australian Capital Territory’s Science Fair and the STEM Specialist Primary Teacher Network to connect teachers and give them a place to share ideas and opportunities.
She also promotes science education in the Tuggeranong region by leading the Australian National University’s Science Enrichment Event.
“What I love about science teaching is that I get to share the excitement with hundreds of kids. Seeing them make connections and understand why things are the way they are – in the world they live in – is like watching them take their first steps. You really can’t describe how it feels.”
Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools: Darren Hamley
Darren Hamley, from Willetton Senior High School in Western Australia, has an infectious enthusiasm for science that helps his students develop life-long STEM skills by showing how they apply to real life.
“I really love being a science teacher. What excites me is that I’m not just teaching students science – I’m teaching them to be scientists. I like to give them projects that really stretch their academic legs.” He says.
He has inspired student teams to design and drive full-sized, solar powered cars across the Nullarbor, and to create 3D printed replicas of Swan River dolphins to raise awareness of the effects of fishing.
He also strongly advocates for inclusiveness of Aboriginal Australians and girls in STEM.
“My philosophy for education is that I want students to burst through the door at home and say, ‘You wouldn’t believe what I did at school today’. I always try to build on the curriculum by exposing students to authentic experiences and inspiring a passion for all things STEM.”
These excellent teachers are so important in motivating our future scientists with their enthusiasm and passion and the awards recognise the indispensable effort and skill teachers apply in and out of their classrooms.
Find out about the other winners of the 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes here.
This piece was written by Deborah Devis.