24 August, 2022
From the lab to the classroom
Greenmount State School is one of fifteen schools in Queensland that is taking part in Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) "Zoomed-In-Science” virtual outreach program.
The program is an initiative of QUT’s Centre for Materials Science and involves a team of PhD students, lecturers and postgraduate researchers.
They stream live to classrooms while they film each other doing experiments, presenting curriculum-relevant science, and answering questions from the young audience.
The program was developed by QUT chemist and postdoctoral research fellow Dr Michael Pfrunder and his wife, Caitlin Pfrunder, who is a primary school teacher at Brisbane’s Jindalee State School.
Greenmount’s combined Year 3 to 6 class took part in Zoomed-In-Science in July with their teacher Kelly Stenzel.
“We were very excited to be a part of the program,” Ms Stenzel said.
“Zoomed-In Science is as hands-on as a virtual experience can be. We loved the face-to-face interaction, and that all of our students’ ideas were celebrated.
“For rural communities this program provides access to fabulous lab facilities, and knowledgeable staff who are in tune with students and who demonstrate a real keenness to engage all students in all things science.
“Virtually visiting the scientists in their amazing lab was a real experience for our students, and we enjoyed watching our students really light up with connection and ‘new idea’ moments.”
Dr Pfrunder said Zoomed-In-Science was delivered live via iPads, smart phones and the Teams virtual meeting app used by Queensland state schools.
“I was already thinking about developing a program like this prior to the pandemic, but then during COVID schools got so used to using Teams that we decided to leverage that momentum in classroom technology,” he said.
“It’s enabled us to reach schools in regional and remote areas where we couldn’t normally go.”
Ms Stenzel said the students especially loved taking the QUT staff off on their learning journey and having hypotheses of their own tested, and concepts reaffirmed.
“Our classroom limitations, including not having access to a lab, has meant in the past that many of these experiments and ideas have only been discussed or watched on video,” she said.
“Being involved in the magic of science unfolding was exciting for every member of our classroom – to say our students loved it was an understatement.
“From a classroom perspective, it was suitably aligned to our C2C (Curriculum into the Classroom) and encouraged students to test and extend their knowledge as well as their interest in chemistry.
“We feel very privileged to have been involved in the program and can’t wait to see what QUT does next.”
Bookings are now open for primary schools interested in having scientists zoom into their classrooms in 2023.
Primary school teachers interested in bringing Zoomed-In-Science to their schools can visit research.qut.edu.au/cms/zoomed-in-science/ or email email@example.com