Click here for photos of ‘Mining for Code’ at Capella.
Click here for photos of ‘Mining for Code’ at Clermont.
Click here for photos of ‘STEM Half Day’ at Clermont.
Central Queensland students have unlocked a world of exciting career prospects at a series of innovative, high-tech learning experiences delivered by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA).
Thanks to support from Glencore Coal, about 95 students from Capella and Clermont state high schools participated in two workshops that showcased the intersection of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) with real-world resources and energy sector applications.
QMEA Director, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said over the course of two days, students worked under the guidance of experienced representatives from Glencore Coal as they completed engaging activities that explored programming, physics, and geology.
“During ‘Mining for Code’, about 60 Year 7 students dove into the fundamentals of software engineering as they programmed miniature computers called ‘Arduinos’ to display a series of flashing lights that replicate safety features on hard hats,” Ms Jones said.
“In addition to bolstering their technology skills, this activity introduced the students to the integration of IT innovation with everyday industry requirements like health and safety.
“It was a fantastic way for them to discover the many exciting career opportunities on offer in the resources and energy sector, especially in the digital space.”
Glencore Coal’s Human Resources Manager, Mr Anthony Exelby said building on the momentum of the first workshop, the QMEA’s ‘STEM Half Day’ then immersed Clermont’s Year 8 students in two geology-based challenges that further fuelled their passion for STEM studies.
“Using a gamification model, students followed clues and tests that identified the characteristics of various rock samples, allowing them to work in teams to determine which attributes matched the rocks they were being quizzed on,” Mr Exelby said.
“They then moved onto an activity designed to help students understand a fundamental concept of geology, taking a real-time glimpse into the conditions under which igneous rocks form.
“To investigate how the rate of cooling affects igneous rock formation, students observed crystals growing beneath a microscope, noting and sketching the differences between crystal size and shape under differing cooling conditions.”
Clermont State High School Principal, Mrs Leigh Dyer said these hands-on workshops cleverly showcased the practical applications of STEM while helping students explore the array of rewarding career opportunities available.
“The integration of gamification in modern education has proven to be highly valuable as it fosters active participation, boosts engagement, and cultivates critical thinking and problem-solving skills,” Mrs Dyer said.
“By incorporating gaming elements into educational activities, students are motivated to explore and learn in an interactive and immersive manner, enhancing their retention and application of knowledge.”
As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and schools initiative, the QMEA seeks to broaden student and teacher knowledge of career opportunities in resources.
The academy encourages a talent pipeline of employees into vocational and professional careers, with a focus on female and Indigenous participation. The QMEA currently engages with over 90 schools and is a partnership between industry and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.