Two short courses designed by the University of New England (UNE), one in Spectroscopy and the other in Scientific Method, have been helping local students with their course work.
UNE initially designed the courses as HSC teacher professional development in 2018/19 in response to significant changes to the HSC chemistry syllabus.
Jonathon Shumack, head of the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and science) Faculty at Armidale Presbyterian Ladies College (PLC), had completed the courses in 2019 and found the material timely and useful as he prepared to teach the new content.
“With the Covid disruptions to schooling in 2020, I thought this could be a useful resource for students too, in a ready-made digital learning environment,” Jonathon said.
“Dr Peter Lye from UNE’s Chemistry department was responsive, proactive and supportive in seeking to make this material available to my HSC students, not only for chemistry but also a Scientific Methods course suited to any HSC science subject.”
The resources feature content that is interactive, stimulating and visual. Different components are used to familiarise students with various learning concepts in a fun way, including a card game similar to Snap with functional groups instead of suites. More functional groups are added to the deck as students progress through the levels.
The courses were piloted in Armidale at PLC and O’Connor Catholic College with great success.
“All of our Chemistry students have enrolled in the Spectroscopy course. A number plan to work on the Scientific Methods course as well,” Jonathon said.
“While the students are still working their way through the course material, the initial feedback has been really positive.
“The content has been noted as being high quality, specific to their needs and easy to follow. The inquiry nature of the material has also helped to embed a proper understanding of the key concepts.”
High schools science teachers interested in gaining access to these free digital resources for their HSC students can email Dr Peter Lye on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
UNE annually host HSC Booster Days and other similar events across the New England North West to provide students opportunity to explore science in practice.