Science education, especially in areas of Earth science, is currently in decline at primary and secondary education levels within Australia.
The Teacher Earth Science Education Program (TESEP) is designed to restore focus on Earth science education by assisting science teachers to deliver Earth and environmental science at all year levels. TESEP have developed nine professional development workshops, collectively entitled ‘The Challenging Earth’ which are delivered on demand across the eastern states of Australia. These workshops are aligned with the Australian curriculum, which has increased its emphasis on Earth and space science in years 7-10.
TESEP have recently developed a new teaching tool, in the form of an A1-sized wall poster intended for use in classrooms. The theme of this poster is ‘Plate Tectonics: The reason for the challenging Earth’, and aims to tie together the concepts covered in the professional development workshops. The poster was developed over the course of seven months, following a number of brainstorming sessions and lots of feedback from interested parties from both industry and the education sector. AusIMM Geology Society committee members have contributed to and reviewed the poster.
Since completion of the poster in April 2015, it has been distributed around the country at various workshops and conferences, including PACRIM, Labtech (a division of the Science Teachers’ Association of Victoria) and soon at the Conference of the Australian Science Teachers Association (CONASTA). Greg McNamara and Leonie McGlashan from TESEP presented several sessions and provided posters at the Labtech Conference. Jared Broome, Geoscience Society Committee member attended the Labtech conference to promote the poster.
Further development of teaching tools relating to the poster will be explored in the near future, including a primary education version, student activities and extended teacher resources.