Students are swerving advanced maths and science in number under the misconception that the subjects are dry and difficult.
Changing that idea while students are young should be a priority and for 10 years now with their science programs, shows and incursions, Street Science have been doing their part, impressing upon students how fun, colourful and exciting science can be.
Street Science brings kids into contact with scientists and the bonkers things that scientists can do, leaving a lasting impression on audience members and planting a kernel of interest which for many has sprouted into further studies in STEM.
“We now work with around 150,000 kids a year across the country and after 10 years of providing this service we are getting students reach out to tell us that they are studying senior science or they might even be at university, and they can track their initial interest back to our programs. This is what gets us out of bed each day,” says Street Science Founder and CEO Steve Liddell.
“Students tell us on a daily basis that ‘this is the best day of my life’ and the reason for this is they are having an absolute hoot whilst learning. Our programs are contextualised and student centred so the students are actually ‘doing’ the science, and they can link their learnings to the real world too.
“When we teach science we are providing more than just knowledge. Quality science classes teach problem solving skills, encourage students to ask ‘why’ and look for evidence. Science provides knowledge about our world and how things work - skills that are relevant in all career choices.”
Street Science have designed a series of educational products for Australian schools which focus on improving student engagement with science. The programs allow schools to position themselves as STEM Schools by partnering with Street Science who provide access to their team of scientists and teachers to run face to face sessions at their school, gaining access to cutting edge physical resources for the classroom and a series of professional development opportunities to build capacity and confidence for their teachers.
“Teachers are massive advocates for our programs as they see their students applying their newly formed knowledge in real situations. Our resources are easy for teachers to use and come complete with everything they need to run mind-blowing practical science classes.
“A school partnership also provides teachers access to our ‘vault’ of online videos and activities to assist teachers to keep their science lessons engaging and relevant,” says Liddell.
The programs are run on site at schools, usually out of the school hall or any large open area.
“As our curriculum aligned science shows are high-energy and more often than not ‘explosive’, we appreciate being able to spread out somewhere that we can make a bit of noise and have some fun with the students and staff. Our incursion model runs throughout the day working in around specialist lessons and bell times, whilst our resources are designed to allow the teacher to facilitate the hands-on lessons in their own space, and at their own pace,” he says.
The entire school program has been mapped to the Australian Curriculum and has been recently reworked to support both version 8.4 and 9.0 as schools transition towards the updated curriculum requirements.
The Street Science partnership program is designed for primary schools across Australia, however they also offer a range of curriculum focused science shows and demonstrations for Years 7-10 and National Science Week shows for all ages during Term III each year.
“We are now the biggest provider of science outreach programs in Australia and have seven teams on the road most days. That means our team needs to ensure our vehicles are kitted out, the chemicals and materials are prepped, our presenters (who are trained teachers and scientists) are trained, and the client is onboarded and ready for our visit. A lot definitely happens behind the scenes before we turn up at your school in the morning.”
A priority for Street Science has been to make science education accessible for all Aussie kids.
“With the help of the federal government we are now able to provide subsidised partnership programs for schools in areas of intersectional disadvantage. With our SISTA Project we are endeavouring to engage more girls in more parts of Australia in with quality STEM opportunities.”
Over the past three years Street Science have made considerable investment into the digitisation of their programs and have built a fully equipped broadcast studio. This studio allows them to broadcast any of their science shows and training programs into locations anywhere in the country (and overseas).
“This provides reduced costs to run programs for our regional and remote schools which we are always happy to pass on to the client,” says Liddell.
Street Science are finalists for the 2023 Lord Mayor’s Business Awards for the Business Transformation Award.
“Brisbane City is a buzzing community of innovative businesses, and there is a real culture of collaboration and support. Being named a finalist in the Business Transformation category is a huge feat and we could not be any prouder of our team who have got us here. We will celebrate our achievements at the gala dinner and toast all our clients and our massive support network on the night - who knows, we might even take home the prize! Thank you to Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner and his incredible team for making this possible. Brisbane certainly is a top spot to do business from,” he says.