Three students from the University of Newcastle's Central Coast campus have been rewarded for their efforts in boosting the knowledge and understanding of science in primary school students.
Karen Seeneevassen and Rita Boys-Smith - both studying a Graduate Diploma in Education (Primary) - and Bachelor of Education (Early Childhhood) student Alisha Clements have been recognised by the Australian Government through the Primary Pre-Service Teacher Awards for Excellence in Science Education as part of the Primary Connections program.
Primary Connections is a program which aims to improve students' learning outcomes in science and literacy through innovative curriculum and professional-learning resources that improve teachers' confidence and competence in science teaching.
Head of the School of Education, Professor Phil Foreman, said the students completed the program at a local school and then evaluated its success. The quality of the evaluations secured them the awards.
"Primary Connections is an exciting and engaging way for primary school students to learn science through activities that are hands-on and creative," Professor Foreman said.
"By taking this program to local primary school students as part of their practical training, our pre-service teachers are setting the course for ensuring that science becomes a regular part of their teaching plans in the future."
Student Karen Seeneevassen said she trialled the program during her practicum at Mark's Point Public School.
"It was very successful, and during the lessons the students were consistently engaged and actively participated in the activities. The variety and the change from the daily routine created by the lessons was enjoyed by the students."
Rita Boys-Smith, who used the program during her time at Bateau Bay Public School, said the Primary Connections resources made incorporating science in the classroom effortless.
"My aim is to make science lessons a regular feature of my weekly teaching program as it provides so many opportunities for students to learn skills and knowledge they will relate to and can use in and out of the classroom, such as working in cooperative groups."
Alisha Clements completed her practicum at Arcadia Public School. She says Primary Connections gave her more confidence in teaching science.
"The program makes teaching science easy and enjoyable, and it provides all the resources needed to teach the subject properly. Primary Connections also makes the workload easier on teachers because the lessons are already planned."
Each recipient has been awarded $2,000 for their efforts.
The students will be presented with their Primary Connections awards at the University of Newcastle Central Coast campus today, Friday 12 October, at 3pm in the Science Common Room.