Flinders students shine at science conference

Eleven Flinders Year 9 students have starred in a short video that captures their work with top science mentors over many months to review professional science papers and then present their feedback in a ‘Live Review’ at the Society for Mental Health Research National Conference held in Noosa in November 2018.

Flinders is only the second group to be invited to present feedback on stage to conference delegates as part of this important science program.

The project is hosted by the Thompson Institute at the University of the Sunshine Coast and is used to promote its Frontiers for Young Minds program, which is described as “science for kids, edited by kids”.

Frontiers for Young Minds invites distinguished scientists to write about their cutting-edge discoveries in a language that is accessible for young readers.

It is then up to the kids themselves – with the help of a science mentor – to provide feedback and explain to the authors how to best improve the articles before publication.

Flinders Head of Curriculum Bill Hooper said Flinders was thrilled to have the opportunity to be involved.

“This project with the Thompson Institute last year challenged our students (now in Year 10) to extend themselves and to learn skills in higher-order and critical thinking that will be valuable skills for future learning and life,” Mr Hooper said.

“Our students also enjoyed the unique opportunity to gain experience and understanding in the fascinating field of neuroscience research, brain imaging technology and mental health.

“It was a rewarding opportunity for our students to feel valued for sharing their opinions, which they arrived at by working diligently and conscientiously.”

Students enjoyed two training sessions with science mentors Dr Larisa McLoughlin, Christina Driver and Dr Amanda Clacy.

“These mentors helped guide our students through the live review process to provide quality feedback and suggestions to the authors that will make their articles clear and interesting to a young audience,” said Mr Hooper.

“At Flinders, we encourage our students to embrace every opportunity to learn from and collaborate with specialists in our community so they may consider diverse paths available to them in their future beyond graduation.”

Thompson Institute project facilitator Susan Schiotz said the mentoring sessions at Flinders had been a great success. “Flinders’ students were well prepared and came up with some great questions for the presenters at the Live Review,” Mrs Schiotz said.

“The students mentioned how much they enjoyed attending the conference and meeting the researchers of the papers to ask them questions about the research. It was a fun event.”

Flinders will continue to be involved in this program to enable more Flinders students to review groundbreaking papers and engage in new STEM opportunities through the Thompson Institute.

The short video, titled Frontiers for Young Minds Live Review, can be viewed by clicking here.

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