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Birrigai Brings Home National Science Award

04 Mar 2020

Students making resin bond that was used by Indigenous peoples

The CSIRO National Indigenous Inquiry Challenge Event is part of the CSIRO’s Indigenous Inquiry for Science Students (I²S²) program External Link.

The program provides teacher professional learning to embed Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander traditional knowledge through hands-on inquiry-based projects to increase student engagement and achievement in science.

One school was chosen from each state or territory to take part in the event with Birrigai Outdoor School was selected to represent the ACT based in part on the 2019 collaboration with Harrison Schools Deadly Mob.

Schools were challenged to create the strongest resin bond possible, based on the traditional use of resin by Indigenous peoples.

Students used resin to stick paddle pop sticks together. The strength of the resin bond was then tested by how much weight it could hold.

Birrigai was declared the winner of the challenge, creating a bond that could hold 18kg.

Students from Harrison School as well as two ACT Catholic Schools participated in the challenge as part of the Birrigai team.

The Birrigai Advantage

Last year Birrigai ran an intensive, year-long, on Country learning program with Harrison School’s Deadly Mob.

This program taught students many STEM concepts from an indigenous perspective and with reference to traditional STEM knowledge.

Students were able to transfer this learning over to this challenge.

In addition, at the beginning of the challenge students were able to tap into the knowledge of Birrigai’s Aboriginal Land Manager about the tips and tricks for working with resin.

In 2019 Birrigai was a national finalist in the CSIRO Indigenous STEM School Award.

It’s great to see these results and the impact of the year-long on country program. To all the involved, congratulations!