Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are being recognised as early innovators during National Science Week, but contemporary knowledge is slipping.
First Nations people have been using science since time immemorial for activities and tools including navigating by the stars, constructing fish traps, traditional fire management and bush medicine.
But statistics show a literacy gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth when it comes to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
To help close the gap, organisation DeadlyScience has worked with Wingaru Education and Australia Post to develop a teachers’ guide to deliver First Nations science, wisdom and culture to classrooms.
The guide is designed to complement the National Science Week theme – Innovation: Powering Future Industries – and is based on the DeadlyScience Australian Geographic book.
DeadlyScience is a non-for-profit organisation focusing on promoting STEM to Indigenous youth.
Not all students have equal access to classroom resources and according to the Commonwealth department of education, remote and regional students are falling behind their urban peers.
This is mainly due to limited access to resources, including facilities, technology and specialised teachers.
DeadlyScience chief executive Corey Tutt said the organisation had sent resources to more than 700 schools across Australia since the launch of the teachers’ guide.
“I would love to see a world where, through the magic of STEM education and Two-Way Science, we can bring everyone together,” Mr Tutt said.
Since May 2022, Australia Post has delivered more than 3000 packages with STEM books and equipment including LEGO, telescopes, laptops and weather stations to children across the nation.
Assistant principal of Darwin’s Malak Primary School, Mina McCarthy, said the donated resources had enhanced programs and provided students more opportunities with hands-on resources.
“The donation of LEGO resulted in the opening of a dedicated LEGO room in 2022. The room is open at recess and lunch and can be booked for classrooms,” she said.
In 2023 the school started a Code Club using laptops donated by DeadlyScience.
Code Club is a free program that teaches children the basics of computer programming and students can learn how to create animations, games and gain new skills.
(Australian Associated Press)