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New State-of-the-art STEM Centre in Northern Territory college

Casuarina Senior College students will soon have access to cutting edge science and technology facilities, with construction about to begin on a new STEM centre. The CSC Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Centre will be the third to be built by the Territory Labor Government, to support growing worldwide demand for skills in these fields.

It follows the $15.9 million science centre opened last year at Darwin High School and the $12.7 million centre at Taminmin College. Existing, unused classrooms will be repurposed as the new STEM centre, which will offer two new learning areas; a MAKER space for digital printing and laser cutting; a digital room; and a refurbished workshop to support student learning by providing interactive, engaging classrooms that make science and technology learning fun.

A Berrimah company has been awarded the tender and construction is expected to begin soon. The new STEM centre comes in addition to other recent investments in CSC, including a $940,000 library upgrade, and $200,000 for the installation of solar panels under the Territory Labor Government’s Rooftop Solar in Schools program.

The Northern Territory Minister for Education stated that up to 75 per cent of the world’s fastest-growing professions are in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and the Territory Labor Government is investing to ensure NT students are well equipped for jobs in these fields. The Government promised to invest in STEM in the Territory and is delivering, she added.

Since coming to government, the government has opened to $12.7 million STEAM Centre at Taminmin College, which has enabled the teaching of national award-winning programs, and the $15.9 million STEAM Centre at Darwin High School.

A five-year STEM in the NT strategy has also been developed to support students across the Territory to build stronger STEM skills. Now, students in Darwin’s northern suburbs will also have access to state-of-the-art facilities, to foster the scientists and engineers of the future.

Many school kids in the Minister’s electorate of Casuarina attend CSC, and, thus, the Minister was pleased that the Government has been able to deliver significant investment in the school, including a recent $940,000 refurbishment of the library, which has created the school’s contemporary new Resource Centre offering 28 new computers for students to access online resources and learning.

Solar panels installed under $5 million Rooftop Solar in Schools program will also save the school tens of thousands in electricity costs going forward that can be directed back into learning.

The NT Government is committed to developing STEM knowledge at all ages. In June 2020, the University of Melbourne developed the NT Pre-School STEM Games for the NT Government. The programme was designed to build children’s curiosity for STEM through fun-based learning.

The resources support the Government’s 2018-2022 STEM in the NT Strategy, and selected Territory pre-schools trialled the Pre-School Games before resources were distributed to all NT government and non-government pre-schools, long daycare and family daycare services.

Based on the four core components of STEM learning, the games include:

  • Science Games– which prioritise children developing transferable, scientific process skills.
  • Technology Games – which encourage children to be inventive in identifying and using tools to make work easier, and to explore coding.
  • Engineering Games – to encourage children’s creativity as they respond to fun challenges requiring innovative thinking and reasoning.
  • Mathematics Games – that strengthen opportunities for preschool teachers to recognise and respond to the diverse mathematical competencies and language that children demonstrate as they transition into preschool.

As well as supporting the growth of STEM skills and dispositions, the games have been tailored to suit the Territory’s unique environment, with some best played during the dry season and others during the wet season. In addition to helping build a child’s curiosity for these fields, the resources support educators and preschool staff to implement STEM playfully in the early years.

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