Coinciding with national Science Week, students from remote Indigenous communities across Arnhem Land are being given a taste of science in action during August, as the SMART team flies across the region delivering its show.
SMART (Science, Maths, And Real Technology) is an innovative science program from the University of Newcastle, which brings science to life for students all over Australia.
SMART creator and director, Dr Terry Burns, said people from remote locations, particularly from an Indigenous background, were significantly under-represented in the science and engineering sectors.
"Science teaching has moved far beyond Bunsen burners and test tubes. Today, we try to get the kids thinking about the science they encounter every day, and motivate them to engage in it.
"The result we are chasing is to open a world of opportunity for these students and help them to think about science and engineering as career options."
During two weeks in August the SMART team will cover more than 1,800 kilometres to conduct science shows in nine remote Arnhem Land communities. Each show includes an interactive presentation focusing on a specific area of science, followed by hands-on activities.
Resources are also provided for teachers, including a workshop discussing ideas about science and technology in the classroom.
Mr Alastair King, the General Manager of Arnhem Land Progress Association and co-organiser of the tour, said that initiatives such as SMART were crucial to remote communities.
"Through SMART, our kids can see that distance is not a barrier to joining the world of science; and our teachers benefit from extra support that is invaluable to keep the students engaged in learning."
SMART reaches around 20,000 people across Australia each year. It is a partnership between the University of Newcastle's Faculty of Science and Information Technology, the Australian Government Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Engineers Australia and the Arnhem Land Progress Association.
Photo opportunity: the SMART team will be conducting shows across Arnhem Land from 17 - 27 August.
TOMORROW, Friday 21 August, Chief Scientist, Professor Penny Sackett will attend the SMART team's show at Belyuen School (Delisavile) 8 - 9am.
Media comment: Dr Terry Burns, University of Newcastle, 0418 653 699.