Deadly Science Educator of the Year
Remote school teacher, Chris Errington, has recently been recognised as a 2021 DeadlyScience Educator of the Year, an accolade attributed by DeadlyScience, a not-for-profit organisation that supports remote schools across Australia.
The DeadlyScience program equips remote schools around the country with educational resources and access to quality learning, with a focus on science, whilst celebrating the successes of schools, students and communities.
Chris has become more heavily involved with the initiative over his six years of remote teaching, consistently sharing science lessons on both the school’s and the DeadlyScience Facebook pages, with an aim to benefit other teachers and schools across Australia.
Robinson River School students, with the support of Chris, his colleagues and DeadlyScience, have had the opportunity to take part in a vast range of activities in the STEM space due to the sheer number of books and science resources they’ve fortunately received over the years.
“Science is a great subject for STEM, as the nature of science is rooted in learning by doing,” Chris said.
“We’ve had bottle rockets, slime kits, steam powered cars, water quality testing kits and electricity kits. All hands-on resources encouraging STEM activities. A greenhouse, seeds and planting kits… The list goes on!”
What seems to be a never-ending list of exciting and exploratory learning experiences, activities range from investigating buoyancy through building boats and sharks to examining the changing states of matter with homemade microwaveable paint.
DeadlyScience also offer Facetime lessons, access to lesson plans and other learning materials. The charity champions the efforts of remote students, which in turn continues to encourage learning and development in class.
Chris ensures that the exploration of STEM is not limited to just science, explaining that hands-on learning is vital for other subjects, such as mathematics, utilising STEM activities that reinforce numeracy skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
“The great thing about STEM is that it can be inclusive to all, regardless of age, background or skill level. We often see a significant increase in student engagement when an element of STEM is introduced, because it’s fun,” Chris said.
“Not only that, students benefit in other ways. STEM develops communication skills, collaboration and teamwork skills. It encourages experimentation and critical thinking, and develops resilience.”
Unaware that a DeadlyScience Educator of the Year award existed, Chris was selected based on his commitment and involvement with the program and said “it’s been both a wonderful surprise and a huge privilege to have been recognised by the charity in this way.”
Chris encourages other remote schools and educators grab the opportunity to work with DeadlyScience as it’s ‘a great starting point and a gold mine of ideas.’
“The benefits to your school, community and students make it more than worthwhile, and the support they provide to teachers is fantastic.”