Inaugural STEM Learning Day a Success

Earlier today, our Year 9 students participated in a full day of STEM learning – the theme for this inaugural event revolved around the issue of litter. The significant problem of litter/rubbish/waste was explored using several different approaches and at both the local and global levels.

A series of guest speakers set the tone for the day by providing some context to the issue. The Year 9’s listened intently to our invited guests, including PLHS Principal Mr Todd George and local cleaner Paul Stuart from Servicing SA.

The final speaker was local scientist and Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula Marine Parks Coordinator Dr. Shelley Paull. A finalist in this year’s SA Science Awards, Shelly delivered an engaging presentation about the impact of waste in our marine environment.

After Recess, the Year 9’s were given the opportunity to consider the issue of litter from six different aspects – Psychology, Chemistry, Economics, Arts & Culture, Sustainability and Site Logistics. This was achieved using a “speed-dating” format, with each group rotating through a series of six fifteen-minute presentations delivered by relevant PLHS staff. The Sustainability session was introduced by Port Lincoln Primary School Year 4 student Elke Thomas, who collects bread tags on behalf of a South African organisation who convert bread tag plastic into wheelchairs.

At the conclusion of this process, the students were asked to sign up for one of the sessions, which were run as problem-solving workshops for the remainder of the day. Some amazing outcomes were attained by all six teams – these included an audit of the location and effectiveness of our school’s existing rubbish bins, plans for a new colour-coded bin system (general waste, paper waste, food waste and recyclable plastic), a dance/drama performance about the act of littering, registering PLHS for a printer cartridge recycling scheme, the development of plans for redesigning the architecture and layout of the top part of the school, an advertising campaign directly at littering behaviour, the design and production of salt/peppers shakers made from recycled jars, a commitment to support Elke’s bread tag recycling scheme and many more.

The impressive levels of enthusiasm and engagement demonstrated by the students throughout the afternoon indicated that today was merely the first step towards a more ecologically-conscious Port Lincoln High School. We look forward to reporting about the further development and implementation of these (and many more) ideas in the couple weeks and months.

This inaugural event was an outstanding first-up success. Sincere thanks to our guest speakers for their insightful presentations and to the Arts, Tech, Maths and Science staff (ably led by Miss Rebecca Paterson and Mr Angus Martin) for their dedicated planning and delivery of the initiative. Congratulations once again to our Year 9 cohort for their positive participation throughout the day

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