West Australian secondary students will be showcasing their ideas for change at the Perth Science Festival this August, as part of Scitech and Shell’s ‘NXplorers’ program.
During the festival, which runs from 25 – 26 of August, students will be sharing their ideas to improve the Food, Water and Energy Nexus – where sustainable management of each area is central to sustainable development.
Students across metropolitan Perth and Broome are involved in coming up with solutions to these problems in their local environment.
The program also aims to drive interest and capability in STEM subjects in high school students who represent the future workforce.
Of the program, one 14-year old student from Broome Senior High School said, “My favourite experience was learning many different strategies and structures to better think of stronger ideas to problem solve, thinking outside of the box in more ways I would of than before”.
A 13-year old student from Lynwood Senior High School said “I really liked working as a group on the activities because we could have fun while still learning. I also liked taking responsibility and going around the school to gather information.”
And from Warwick Senior High School, a 14-year old student said they felt empowered by “being able to feel we have an impact on not only our future but other’s to come as well”.
Aimed at 14 to 19-year old students, the international science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education program ‘NXplorers’ was launched in 2018 as a way for students to tackle complex real-world problems that affect their own communities.
In the 2018 program, 170 secondary school students showcased their ‘NXplorers’ results at Scitech’s WA Science Zone, with students from years 8 to 10 focusing on the question “How can we be more sustainable with our food and energy at our school?”
The student’s ideas included advertising campaigns for reducing straws, increased use of solar panels, basketball-inspired backboards for bins to encourage throwing rubbish in the bin, and using recycled materials for school gardens to grow food.
Scitech’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Kalien Selby, believes the program is a step towards empowering the current generation.
“The ‘NXplorers’ program is an opportunity for secondary school students to understand how STEM thinking can practically relate to their world,” Ms Selby said.
“This mentality is immensely empowering and demonstrates how and why STEM skills can shape future career opportunities as well as their day to day lives.”
Country Chair of Shell Australia, Zoe Yujnovich, believes this program can help solve future energy crises.
“The world needs more STEM thinkers to help solve tomorrow’s energy challenges, including the demand for more and cleaner energy,” Ms Yujnovich said.
“Shell’s ‘NXplorers’ program helps equip students with skills required for the jobs of the future.”