Secondary school students now have the opportunity to experience hands-on, real industry metallurgy science through a new program.
Earth Ed and Federation University Australia run the four-hour program for year 10 students about mining, geology and metallurgy.
University metallurgy lecturer Larissa Koroznikova said the aim was to provide regional students with the opportunity to discover the diverse range of careers, education pathways, and employment available across Australia, with a focus on metallurgy.
The first stage of the program focused on the importance of minerals and metals to our everyday lives.
“Using metallic copper as an example, students were introduced to how the metal is won, from discovery of ores, to mining, processing and electrowinning stages, and then finally to the metal in end-use applications,” Ms Koroznikova said.
“Using equipment in the Earth Ed laboratory, students were able to experience real life metallurgy processes via a variety of chemical reactions, and science and engineering activities related to the world of producing materials they use in their homes, phones and computers.”
Earth Ed works on developing partnerships with industry and their various associations, such as the Australian Institute of Minerals and Metallurgy (AusIMM).
“Earth Ed is also building relationships with university science and engineering schools and have formed one with the university’s geology department,” Ms Koroznikova said.
“Earth Ed is a network of six Victorian science and mathematics specialist centres which engage students and teachers across the state in contemporary, experiential science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”
The Earth Ed lab is located at Olympic Avenue, Mount Clear, and gives students the opportunity to access equipment and study areas unavailable in a standard classroom.
The program aims to have a positive effect on students, inspiring them to take up STEM studies and careers.
Earth Ed’s primary programs start in years 1 and 2 with a hands on play experience.