STEM hub will help teachers

The country’s first dedicated publishing platform for STEM stories and content, Australia’s Science Channel, was launched this month and its producers say teachers will find it invaluable. The free web-platform will be a collection of video (static and live broadcasts), audio and written content from Australia’s top universities, research and scientific organisations and private institutions. It is of particular interest to teachers who often have to up-skill themselves in order to ensure they are passing on the correct information to their students but don’t have the necessary means to do so, the channel’s producers say.

Museum holiday infotainment

The Powerhouse Museum and the Sydney Observatory have a nice mix of offerings for the school holidays, ranging from astronomy to crafting a Japanese village.

Free for children under 16 years is Tanabata, where kids are invited to transform the Powerhouse Museum and Sydney Observatory into a village of bamboo, string and paper, inspired by the Japanese legend of Tanabata, using weaving, origami, interactive sound and story-telling. It’s on from July 2-17.

The Sydney Observatory is putting on an immersive astronomy experience led by expert Observatory guides, designed especially for families. The tour includes a visit to the digital planetarium, telescope viewing (weather permitting) and a tour of the telescope domes. Bookings essential. From July 2-17, 6-7.30pm, tickets $16–$60.

One and two-day digital media workshops costing from $100 will be on at both the museum and the observatory, where children can learn coding, Minecraft, electronics, physical computing, create videos for YouTube, design a virtual reality game and make an arcade controller and more. Bookings are essential.

School trips improve learning

The American Association of School Administrators said some American schools under funding pressure – and during the recession – cut back on school trips but that studies found these outings could improve student learning. A 2015 study found that middle-school students with the chance to go on a field trip score higher in science results and that students visiting an art museum show statistically significant increases in critical thinking ability and more open-minded attitudes.