FLAME TEST FUN: CQUniversity Research Fellow Dr Linda Pfeiffer burning copper. Dr Pfeiffer is determined to bring the fun to trainee science teachers.
FLAME TEST FUN: CQUniversity Research Fellow Dr Linda Pfeiffer burning copper. Dr Pfeiffer is determined to bring the fun to trainee science teachers. Helen Spelitis

Maths and science give students more options

YEAR 10 students picking their subjects should be looking at maths and science to broaden their career choices.

Especially anyone looking to become a teacher - from next year, anyone studying education will need a base in science.

The Federal Government may make it compulsory for senior students after poor results from a global test added to a 10-year slide.

Program for International Student Assessment results shows globally Australian students have slipped from 15th to 19th in mathematics and 10th to 16th in science.

Year 10 Tannum Sands student Tully Madsen is trying to cover all bases.

She has already put her preferences in and chose Maths B, Maths C, English, Physics, Chemistry and Legal Studies.

"I am not really too sure what I want to be when I am older," Tully said.

"I know those subjects are heavily weighted in your OP. I am trying to get the best OP possible so I can do whatever I want."

Having a passionate teacher made a big difference to her study, particularly when teachers were put in the position of teaching subjects they weren't especially knowledgeable in.

"If the teacher doesn't care about it, I am probably not going to care about it either," Tully said.

"If they don't understand it, I won't either and if they don't like teaching it, I won't like learning."

St Stephen's Lutheran College principal Dr Ian Marks agrees.

Of senior students, 79% are studying biology compared to 36% studying physics and 43% chemistry.

Mr Marks said part of that is because the biology teacher is passionate and connects with the students.

CQUniversity's Dr Linda Pfeiffer is fostering teachers' interest in science that can filter on to students.

As part of science week that starts next Saturday, Dr Pfeiffer will encourage teachers and those still studying to join a two-day workshop helping teachers bring science to life.

"I feel like everywhere children and adults are missing out on the excitement of science," Dr Pfeiffer said.

"We're trying to improve science uptake."



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