National Big Science Competition offered to schools free of charge
Teachers gain a snapshot of students’ science knowledge at no cost to school budgets
One of Australia’s biggest national science competitions is being offered to schools and students across Australia free of charge for the first time, giving more students an opportunity to test their science knowledge and take the first step towards selection for some of Australia’s most sought-after science extension and mentoring programs.
The Big Science Competition helps students in Years 7 to 10 to challenge their science knowledge against State and national performance averages. High achievers can receive further opportunities, including invitations to take part in programs such as the Curious Minds program for Year 9 and 10 girls, the new Australian Junior Science Olympiads program, and the prestigious International Science Olympiad competitions.
The 50-minute, multiple-choice quiz is written by science education professionals and aligned to the Australian Curriculum. Teachers receive information, which they can use to assess their students’ science understanding and critical thinking skills, and diagnose strengths and weaknesses in conceptual knowledge, skill development and scientific literacy.
“The competition results can help teachers to uncover common misconceptions and improve learning outcomes for their students,” said Anna Davis, Leader of Learning, Science at Casimir Catholic College in Sydney and a Board Member of Australian Science Innovations (ASI).
By making the Big Science Competition free of charge, ASI wants to see schools not only put their top class in the competition but open it up to more students.
“No matter where students live or go to school, this competition opens doors to further opportunities, and lets them take their passion and aptitude for science to the next level,” said Australian Science Innovations’ Executive Director Ruth Carr.
“In the future, the competition will help us to identify Year 7 and 8 students from underrepresented regional and rural schools for our new Junior Science Olympiad training squads, to support and extend students’ learning,” said Carr.
In the past five years, more than 100,000 Year 7 to 10 students from 550 schools have participated in the Big Science Competition.
“I did the Big Science Competition a couple of years ago and I loved it because it included the science concepts we do at school but also involved some cool problem solving,” said Sarah Onoprienko, a Year 10 student at Isis District State High School in Childers, Queensland.
Sarah’s performance in the Big Science Competition led to an invitation to participate in ASI’s national Curious Minds program, which immerses girls in extension science learning and provides them with a female mentor who works in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Students can self-register and sit the Big Science Competition at their school. Students who are home-schooled, learn remotely, or who otherwise cannot sit the exam at their school, can sit the competition at home.
The Big Science Competition is also open to international schools and students. It is popular in China, Singapore and New Zealand, where students use it to test their science knowledge and inquiry skills outside the classroom.
How to register for the Big Science Competition:
Registration is open for schools and students to participate in the Big Science Competition until 16 May 2021. The competition will be held from 17 to 28 May. Register at www.asi.edu.au
About Australian Science Innovations:
Australian Science Innovations is a not-for-profit organisation committed to providing high-quality science extension programs that inspire, challenge and raise the aspirations of students in science. The organisation aims to redress Australia’s skill shortage by encouraging students to study science and consider careers in science or science-related fields.