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Partnership brings science fun to Springdale schools

One of Australia’s most innovative science education programs is coming to schools in the Great Southern thanks to a partnership between International Graphite, and the Einstein-First team at the University of Western Australia.

The announcement today marks World Quantum Day when scientists around the globe celebrate the study of quantum physics – the foundations of modern science that explain how the world works and which are driving groundbreaking innovations in renewable energy, medical technology, quantum computers and space.

Funds provided by International Graphite over the next three years will be used to provide training and support materials for local teachers, activity equipment for schools, and new learning videos, particularly around climate science modules in the curriculum for Years 6 and 10. The program will be launched in local schools later this year.

The award-winning program uses hands-on activities including toys, games, models and lasers, to encourage primary and high school students to build their understanding and get excited about science. Einstein-First has recently launched Quantum Girls, in collaboration with UWA’s Quantum Computing Research Group, to encourage young women to take up quantum science and quantum computing.

Managing Director and CEO Andrew Worland said the company was excited to bring Einstein-First to the Hopetoun-Ravensthorpe region.

“This is a great way for International Graphite to be involved in the local community and help build a bright future for young people,” he said. “Hopefully some of these students will grow into the physicists, metallurgists and engineers that our company – and the rest of the WA resources industry — will be looking for as opportunities within the industry expand over the next 20 to 30 years.

Einstein-First project leader, Emeritus Professor David Blair, winner of the Prime Minister’s Science Prize in 2020, said, “We really want kids to be enthusiastic about science because science is behind almost everything in our lives today.

“Everybody’s got the right to know this amazing universe we have discovered in the last hundred years. I passionately believe every kid, no matter where they live, has the right to learn this stuff.

“Currently students learn 19th century science at primary and middle school. The majority who do not learn science past year 10 and are denied knowledge of the science behind every modern technology.

“Often country schools are too small to have science specialists, and do not have access to the city resources to enhance their science education.
“There are lots of important resource projects in the Hopetoun-Ravensthorpe region, like International Graphite. These are projects looking to our future and addressing issues like renewable energy, where much of our learning is focused.

“We have now developed fantastic education programs for the teachers where, in a fairly short period of time – even if they’ve got no background whatsoever — they can get the basic ideas you need to teach science to the year 10 level. As our teachers say, Einstein-First is easy to teach because the activities are so engaging.”

About Einstein-First
Einstein-First is an award-winning collaboration led by the University of WA, Curtin University and the Australian National University, and funded by the Australian Research Council with support from the WA Government, Independent Schools Association of WA, Gravity Discovery Centre and the Science Teacher’s Association of WA.

About World Quantum Day
World Quantum Day is celebrated on 14 April. The event was inaugurated in 2022 as scientists from 65 countries came together to raise public awareness about modern physics, which studies the tiny atomic particles that interact to make space, time, matter and the universe. Quantum science has led to life-changing inventions, from transistors and MRI machines, to quantum computers.

Caption 1: Physicist Professor David Blair (centre) and International Graphite CEO Andrew Worland (centre rear) with the Einstein-First team at the University of WA.

Caption 2: Physicist Professor David Blair, left, explains the program to Andrew Worland and Quantum Girls Project Coordinator Melanye Wawrik, at Einstein-First headquarters at the University of WA. Photo courtesy of UWA. Photo courtesy of UWA.

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International Graphite acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia, particularly the Whadjuk, Wiilman, Kaniyang and Wadjari Peoples of the Noongar Nation, and pay our respects to Elders past and present.