Growing Tall Poppies with Science Students @ Work

A partnership between Akorn, Santa Maria College and The University of Melbourne ARC Centre for Coherent X-ray Science was the Victorian Winner of the NAB Schools First Award in 2009 for the Growing Tall Poppies program.

Program Flier:  Growing Tall Poppies Flyer

Program Introduction:

Growing Tall Poppies Program is a comprehensive and professional series of education programs for students aged 15 – 17.  The project has been jointly designed by educators and scientists. It aims, through education projects that create an authentic learning environment, to connect students and the science community to explore science knowledge, the process of its formation and the relevance it has to community and society. Students are mentored by real scientists and they do real experiments to obtain first hand data that can in some cases be the first collected in the world. Students are immersed in it working at the ‘coal face’ of science. Students form the questions and search for the solutions.

With access to a number of special scientific research facilities, the GTP program allows students to gain insight and use equipment that would otherwise be unknown to them.  The projects range from investigating possible cures for malaria to investigating the breakdown products of wine, giving participating students the unique opportunity to participate in real-life science.

This immerses young people into the life of a scientist, accelerating their learning and motivating them to discover and explore the connection between the physical sciences and real society problems, through the scientific method.
Many of the GTP programs are facilitated using the traditional Science Students @ Work format with teams of 5 or 6 students spending five days with their host organisations.  The outcomes of the Growing Tall Poppies programs have overwhelmed everyone involved…the students, their teachers and their mentors.