CATEGORY: 3-4, 5-6, STEMLinc

STEMex

Course Access: Lifetime
Course Overview

STEMex Video Conference: Connect with STEM experts as they share their knowledge and experience in applying science to real world issues.  Run on a fortnightly basis STEMex takes the form of short, powerful talks followed by a Q & A session.  A range of popular topics provide unique opportunities for students to develop a deeper understanding of the significance of STEM in their world.  STEMex aims to build a community of inspired thinkers empowered to make a difference.

Year Level: 3 – 6

Duration: 45 mins

STEM in a box:

No

Background Information:

Today’s students will be responding to the world’s most urgent environmental challenges.   Humanity is at a critical environmental turning point.  To survive, we must reshape our relationship with nature. STEMex facilitates the sharing of big ideas and bold solutions.  It bridges the gap of distance and builds a networked community of learners through the power of video conferencing.

Prior Knowledge:

No prior knowledge is required.

Learning Intentions:

In this program students will:

  • Engage with key STEM topics, ideas, issues and challenges
  • Develop questioning, listening and communication skills

Activities:

In this video conference students will:

  • Hear from a leading STEM expert
  • Engage in a Q&A session with a STEM expert

Victorian Curriculum:

Science – Science Communicating (Level 3-4)

  • Represent and communicate observations, ideas and findings to show patterns and relationships using formal and informal scientific language (VCSIS072)

Science – Science Communicating (Levels 5-6)

  • Communicate ideas and processes using evidence to develop explanations of events and phenomena and to identify simple cause-and-effect relationships (VCSIS088)

Highlighting some final tickets still available on an event.

Attention STEM experts: If you would like to become a STEMex presenter please contact us with your details: ecolinc@education.vic.gov.au

Check out our emerging 2022 lineup of STEM experts (construction currently underway)

Thursday fortnightly @ 2pm
Dates & Times 2022
Guest Speaker Topic Topic Details Photo Booking Link
Feb 17th

2 pm

Expert: Steven Poropat

Position: Victorian paleontologist

Topic: Australian Age of Dinosaurs

Outline: In 2016, the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History (AAOD) was told about a potential discovery of fossilised dinosaur footprints on Karoola Station, 60 km northwest of the outback town of Winton, Queensland. Museum staff and palaeontologists visited the site, not expecting much, but what they observed was so amazing it defied belief: a 40 metre-long sauropod trackway, surrounded by footprints from all manner of Cretaceous critters! These include small theropod and ornithopod dinosaurs, and relatives of modern day crocs and turtles. Between 2018 and 2020, the Snake Creek Tracksite – which is about the length of two basketball courts – was relocated by AAOD staff from Karoola to the AAOD Museum, where it is now on public display. This amazing tracksite captures a snapshot of life in northeast Australia ~95 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the outback.


Year Level Suitability: 
5-6

Book here
March 3rd

2pm

Expert: Shasta Henry
Position: PhD Candidate – Entomology
University of Tasmania
Topic: Insect ID 101
Outline: Do you know the difference between a bug and a beetle? or a moth and a butterfly? I bet you do, because the human brain is very good at detecting small differences. So good that you never had to think about how you know what you know.  Shasta will teach the insect characteristics which set common groups apart. So, the next time you are in the garden you can say ‘Butterfly!’ (or moth), with confidence.Year Level Suitability: Yrs 3-4
Book here
March 17th

2pm

 

Expert: Gisela Kaplan
Position: Professor in Animal Behaviour and now Prof. emerita at University of New England
Topic: Do Birds Play?
Outline:We play as kids and many adults also play—the idea is to have fun, isn’t it?  Can you think of animals that also play? Is there a difference between animals (i.e. some play some don’t) and human play? My studies have shown that some birds can play like humans and that the ones that play most and are most creative are also the brightest and longest-lived.  Professor Kaplan has two PhDs, has written 23 books and many research publications and specialises in bird behavior.  She has also spent the last 25 years helping injured and orphaned native Australian birds to get back into the wild and find friends and their families again.Year Level Suitability: 3-6
Book here
March 31st

2pm

Expert: John Long Details :TBC
Position:
Topic:  Details soon – waiting on 2022 University timetable
Outline:Year Level Suitability: 
Book here

May 5th

2pm

Expert: Professor Martin Kranendonk

Position:
Professor of Geology and Astrobiology at the University of New South Wales
Topic: How did life begin on Earth and could there be life on Mars

Outline: Life is complex and it is found everywhere on Earth, from deep in the crust to high in the skies. But what about on other planets? Do they have the ingredients to harbour life and, more importantly, did they have the conditions required to get life started? In this presentation, I’ll discuss where and how life got started on Earth and we’ll explore the most likely place(s) to search for life elsewhere in our solar system.

Yr Level Suitability:
(Yrs 5-6)

Book here
May 19th

2pm

Expert: Professor Sarah Spenser

Position:
Associate Professor & Head of Neuroendocrinology of Obese Brain Research Group, RMIT
Topic: Your brain and junk food

Outline:
What does a brain look and feel like? How do brains know when we’re full? How might junk food change our brain? Inside our skulls lies a grapefruit-sized squishy organ that is responsible for everything we do, feel, and think. Our brains and bodies communicate by chemicals produced by our bodies that travel in our blood. Our brains and bodies also communicate by wire-like structures called neurons that send electrical signals from everywhere in our bodies up to our heads and back again faster than you can blink. Both of these methods of communication can be damaged by not enough nutritious food or too much junk food.In this STEMex lesson, we’ll talk about:

  • What your brain looks and feels like
  • What your brain is made of (neurons, glia, astrocytes)
  • How your brain knows when you’re hungry or full
  • How junk food can change your brain

Yr Level Suitability: 5-6

Booking link
June 2nd

2pm

Expert: Dr. Tristan Reid
Position: Duty Veterinarian Australian Animal Health Laboratory, CSIRO
Topic: Bats, Rats and You: – The link between animal and human diseases
Outline: Have you ever wondered if your dog could catch your cold? We live and interact with animals every day. We have pets, we go to the zoo, we keep animals on farms and we share our parks and gardens with wildlife. Us humans are really not all that different to animals – we all have to eat, drink, sleep and we all have eyes and ears and noses! But what about our diseases? Can humans catch a disease from animals? Can animals catch diseases from us?! And how does the health of our environment impact on the health of both humans and animals? We are learning more and more every day about the fascinating links between animal, human and environmental health – and how important these links are to the future health of all life on our planet. In this session we’ll take a closer look at some examples of where animal and human health have collided in the past, and what we can learn from these events to prevent more disease outbreaks in the future.Dr Tristan Reid completed a Bachelor of Veterinary Science at the University of Melbourne and a Master of Science in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London.  He is one of the the Duty Veterinarians at the CSIRO Australian Center for Disease Preparedness.Yr Level Suitability: 5-6
Book here
June 16th

2pm

Expert: TBC


Position:  

Topic:

Outline: 


Yr Level Suitability: 
Book here
July 21st

2pm

Expert: TBC

Position:

Topic:

Outline:
Suitability: 
Book here
August 4th

2pm

Expert:Chelsea Long

Position: Ice Core Technician, Glaciologist
Australian Antarctic Program Partnership
(University of Tasmania, CSIRO, Bureau of Meterology and the Australian Antarctic Division)
Topic: Discussing the formation of ice cores and their importance in understanding the Earth’s climate, what it is like to work in Antarctica, and general ice core processing. With discussions about school subjects and pathways towards careers in STEM

Outline:
I knew that I wanted to work in Glaciology ever since someone from the Australian Antarctic Division showed me a picture of a person holding an ice core. My favourite part about ice core chemistry is that it’s the closest thing we have to actual time travel. As ice forms is traps impurities, air bubbles, and water molecules creating a layer in time which tells us about the natural and un-natural changes over decades, hundreds, or even thousands of years! I grew up in Tasmania and was never strong in my maths or science subjects but I didn’t let it stop me and now I work as an ice core technician in -20 degree temperatures every day!Suitability:Yrs 5-6
Booking link 
August 18th

2pm

Expert:  Dr. Mariana Mayer Pinto
Position:
Scientia Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales
Topic: Living Seawalls – bringing marine life back to degraded habitats

Outline:
The growing human population is rapidly increasing its environmental footprint in the oceans. This is in part due to a construction boom in our seas. Structures such as seawalls, pylons, pontoons and marinas, are built for diverse purposes such as shoreline protection, recreational activities, energy generation and to facilitate communications. In areas of Australia, such as Sydney Harbour, more than 50% of the shoreline has been modified by seawalls. These marine urban structures destroy and replace natural habitats, and can modify the surrounding sea-floor, often with negative consequences on biodiversity. In particular, the flat and featureless surfaces of marine constructions provide little space for marine plants and animals to live, and few protective refuges from predators and environmental stressors, such as high temperatures. The Living Seawalls has developed an innovative approach to bringing marine life back to the thousands of kilometres of concrete coastlines around the world. Habitat features of natural shorelines, such as rock pools and crevices, which are missing from built infrastructure, are reintroduced in these structures using modular panels. The Living Seawalls panels increase the suitable habitat area for growth of seaweeds, shellfish, and other marine life. 

Yr Level Suitability:
Yrs 5 & 6
Booking Link
September 1st

2pm

 

Expert: Phoebe Redford 
Position:
Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, CSIRO
Topic: You Can Do Anything

Outline:
Would you ever think that someone who grew up on a farm would end up working in Paris, London, China, Japan or Canada? What about going from a school of 200 kids to speaking to politicians at Parliament House in Canberra? Or what if you were working as a labourer, could you end up photographing the world’s first coronavirus vaccine being given to an animal for the first time ever?! These are all things that I’ve been lucky enough to do during my career, and I’m not even old yet! There are so many exciting things you can do in the world of science and truly make a difference to the world we live in. And, importantly, it doesn’t matter where you come from, how smart you are, how cool (or uncool) you may think you are or that you don’t know what you want to be. If you really want to achieve something, you absolutely CAN! I’d like to tell you about my journey and hopefully inspire you to look beyond the boundary to see what you can do.
Yr Level:
Yrs 3-4
Book here
September 15th

2pm

 

Expert: TBC
Position:
Topic:
Outline:
Yr Level Suitability:
Book here
October 13th

2pm

 

Expert: TBC
Position:
Topic:
Outline:
Yr Level Suitability:
Book here
October 27th

2pm

 

Expert: TBC
Position:
Topic:
Outline:
Yr Level Suitability:
Book here
November 10th

2pm

 

Expert: TBC
Position:
Topic:
Outline:
Yr Level Suitability:
Book here
November 24th

2pm

 

Expert: Molly Hoak
Position:
Applied Science Advisor Environmental Protection Authority
Topic: “What is water pollution? How you can help keep our creeks, rivers and oceans clean”

Outline: 
This session will cover the meaning of pollution and what sort of things EPA Victoria looks for when we’re looking for pollution. I will also go into how pollution can change waterways and create an unhealthy environment for humans and animals and what we can do to protect these waterways and keep them healthy.

Yr Level Suitability:
Yrs 3-6
Book here

This was our fabulous 2021 lineup of STEM experts!

Thursday fortnightly @ 2pm
Dates & Times 2021
Guest Speaker Topic Topic Details Photo Booking Link
May 6th

2pm

Expert: Karen Player

Position: Australian Environmental Education Science Educator

Topic: Life in our Oceans


Outline:
Take a journey beneath the waves to explore the marine world. Learn about some of incredible animals, their adaptations and this unique habitat.


Year Level Suitability: 
5-6

May 20th

2pm

Expert: Dr. Tiana Preston

Position: Environmental Water Resource Planner, Melb. Water

Topic: Securing water for the environment & our platypus

Outline: Water is essential for life in our rivers, creeks, estuaries and wetlands. Water gets taken out of our rivers for a variety of uses, so we need to carefully plan how we ensure there is enough left in the environment for the creatures that rely upon it, like our unique platypus. In this session we’ll look at the role of environmental water in protecting animals such as the platypus, and what you can do to help ensure a healthy future for our waterways.

Year Level Suitability: 5-6

June 3rd

2pm

Postponed due to Lockdown

Expert: Dr Phoebe Readford

Position: Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, CSIRO

 

Topic:  You can do anything!

Outline: Would you ever think that someone who grew up on a farm would end up working in Paris, London, China, Japan or Canada? What about going from a school of 200 kids to speaking to politicians at Parliament House in Canberra? Or what if you were working as a labourer, could you end up photographing the world’s first coronavirus vaccine being given to an animal for the first time ever?! These are all things that I’ve been lucky enough to do during my career, and I’m not even old yet! There are so many exciting things you can do in the world of science and truly make a difference to the world we live in. And, importantly, it doesn’t matter where you come from, how smart you are, how cool (or uncool) you may think you are or that you don’t know what you want to be. If you really want to achieve something, you absolutely CAN! I’d like to tell you about my journey and hopefully inspire you to look beyond the boundary to see what you can do.

Year Level Suitability: 3-4

June 17th

2pm

Expert: Professor Sarah Spencer

Position: Associate Professor & Head of Neuroendocrinology of Obese Brain Research Group, RMIT

Topic:  Your brain and junk food

Outline: What does a brain look and feel like? How do brains know when we’re full? How might junk food change our brain? Inside our skulls lies a grapefruit-sized squishy organ that is responsible for everything we do, feel, and think. Our brains and bodies communicate by chemicals produced by our bodies that travel in our blood. Our brains and bodies also communicate by wire-like structures called neurons that send electrical signals from everywhere in our bodies up to our heads and back again faster than you can blink. Both of these methods of communication can be damaged by not enough nutritious food or too much junk food.

 

In this STEMex lesson, we’ll talk about:

  • What your brain looks and feels like
  • What your brain is made of (neurons, glia, astrocytes)
  • How your brain knows when you’re hungry or full
  • How junk food can change your brain

Year Level Suitability: 5-6

July 15th

2pm

Expert:Dr Kate Charlton-Robb
Position:
Marine Mammologist,
Marine Mammal Foundation
Topic: Our fragile oceans

Outline: Dr. Kate Charlton-Robb is the Founding Director and Head of Research at the Marine Mammal Foundation. With over 17 years’ experience researching dolphins across southern Australia, Kate achieved a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Freshwater and Marine Ecology and Zoology and a Doctor of Philosophy. Her research led to the formal description and naming of a new Australian species of dolphin, the Burrunan dolphin, Tursiops australis. Kate has instigated and supervised numerous applied marine mammal research projects. Kate has numerous peer- reviewed scientific publications aimed at informing positive conservation and management outcomes of marine mammals. A highlight of Kate’s career was personally meeting Sir David Attenborough in 2013.

Yr Level Suitability: 5-6

July 29th

2pm

Expert: Dr Tristan Reid
Position:
Duty Veterinarian Australian Animal Health Laboratory, CSIRO
Topic: Bats, Rats and You – The link between animal and human diseases

Outline:
Have you ever wondered if your dog could catch your cold? We live and interact with animals every day. We have pets, we go to the zoo, we keep animals on farms and we share our parks and gardens with wildlife. Us humans are really not all that different to animals – we all have to eat, drink, sleep and we all have eyes and ears and noses! But what about our diseases? Can humans catch a disease from animals? Can animals catch diseases from us?! And how does the health of our environment impact on the health of both humans and animals? We are learning more and more every day about the fascinating links between animal, human and environmental health – and how important these links are to the future health of all life on our planet. In this session we’ll take a closer look at some examples of where animal and human health have collided in the past, and what we can learn from these events to prevent more disease outbreaks in the future.Dr Tristan Reid completed a Bachelor of Veterinary Science at the University of Melbourne and a Master of Science in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London.  He is one of the the Duty Veterinarians at the CSIRO Australian Center for Disease Preparedness.Yr Level Suitability: 5-6
August 12th

2pm

Expert: Steve Poropat
Position:
Victorian paleontologist.
Topic: Australian Age of Dinosaurs
Outline:
In 2016, the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History (AAOD) was told about a potential discovery of fossilised dinosaur footprints on Karoola Station, 60 km northwest of the outback town of Winton, Queensland. Museum staff and palaeontologists visited the site, not expecting much, but what they observed was so amazing it defied belief: a 40 metre-long sauropod trackway, surrounded by footprints from all manner of Cretaceous critters! These include small theropod and ornithopod dinosaurs, and relatives of modern day crocs and turtles. Between 2018 and 2020, the Snake Creek Tracksite – which is about the length of two basketball courts – was relocated by AAOD staff from Karoola to the AAOD Museum, where it is now on public display. This amazing tracksite captures a snapshot of life in northeast Australia ~95 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the outback.
Yr Level Suitability:
Yrs 5/6
August 26th

2pm

Expert: Dr. Molly Hoak
Position:
Applied Science Advisor Environmental Protection Authority
Topic: “What is water pollution? How you can help keep our creeks, rivers and oceans clean”

Outline: 
This session will cover the meaning of pollution and what sort of things EPA Victoria looks for when we’re looking for pollution. I will also go into how pollution can change waterways and create an unhealthy environment for humans and animals and what we can do to protect these waterways and keep them healthy.

Yr Level Suitability:
Yrs 3-6
September 9th

2pm

Expert: Shasta Henry
Position:
PhD Candidate – Entomology
University of Tasmania
Topic: Insect ID 101

Outline:
Do you know the difference between a bug and a beetle? or a moth and a butterfly? I bet you do, because the human brain is very good at detecting small differences. So good that you never had to think about how you know what you know.  Shasta will teach the insect characteristics which set common groups apart. So, the next time you are in the garden you can say ‘Butterfly!’ (or moth), with confidence.Suitability: Yrs 3-4
September 16th

2pm

Expert: Prof. Kathy Andrews

Position:Acting Director Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery

Topic: Parasites and our world – from head lice to malaria!

Outline: Did you know that parasites are all around us? Some you might know well – like head lice or fleas on your cat or dog. Other types of parasites can cause diseases in animals or humans. Professor Kathy Andrews is scientist who is trying to discover new medicines for a parasite disease called malaria. She also loves talking about science and is the author and producer of four interesting and fun children’s books about different kinds of science including parasites, nanotechnology, forensic science and protein crystal science. In this STEMex lesson Professor Kathy will read her book about parasites and talk about what is it like to be a parasite scientist and author.  (Note: Strictly limited to 4 classrooms of up to 25 students.  Each student will receive a copy of Professor Andrews children’s book  featured in this presentation!)

Suitability: Yrs 3-6

October 21st

2pm

Expert:Chelsea Long
Position:
Ice Core Technician, Glaciologist
Australian Antarctic Program Partnership
(University of Tasmania, CSIRO, Bureau of Meterology and the Australian Antarctic Division)
Topic: Discussing the formation of ice cores and their importance in understanding the Earth’s climate, what it is like to work in Antarctica, and general ice core processing. With discussions about school subjects and pathways towards careers in STEM.

Outline:
I knew that I wanted to work in Glaciology ever since someone from the Australian Antarctic Division showed me a picture of a person holding an ice core. My favourite part about ice core chemistry is that it’s the closest thing we have to actual time travel. As ice forms is traps impurities, air bubbles, and water molecules creating a layer in time which tells us about the natural and un-natural changes over decades, hundreds, or even thousands of years! I grew up in Tasmania and was never strong in my maths or science subjects but I didn’t let it stop me and now I work as an ice core technician in -20 degree temperatures every day!

Yr Level Suitability:
Yrs 5-6
November 4th

2pm

 

Expert: Dr Phoebe Readford
Position:
Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, CSIRO
Topic: You can do anything
Outline:
Would you ever think that someone who grew up on a farm would end up working in Paris, London, China, Japan or Canada? What about going from a school of 200 kids to speaking to politicians at Parliament House in Canberra? Or what if you were working as a labourer, could you end up photographing the world’s first coronavirus vaccine being given to an animal for the first time ever?! These are all things that I’ve been lucky enough to do during my career, and I’m not even old yet! There are so many exciting things you can do in the world of science and truly make a difference to the world we live in. And, importantly, it doesn’t matter where you come from, how smart you are, how cool (or uncool) you may think you are or that you don’t know what you want to be. If you really want to achieve something, you absolutely CAN! I’d like to tell you about my journey and hopefully inspire you to look beyond the boundary to see what you can do.
Yr Level Suitability:
Yrs 3-4
November 18th

2pm

CANCELLED

Expert:Chris Johnson
Position:
World Wildlife Fund global marine scientist specialising in technology and science communication to achieve conservation outcomes.
Topic:
Outline:
Yr Level Suitability: