VALUABLE LEARNING: Resources industry mentor Jonathan Dave from Coronda Curragh, with Emerald State High School students Nateisha Keller and Arna Hock,  experiment with STEM activities.
VALUABLE LEARNING: Resources industry mentor Jonathan Dave from Coronda Curragh, with Emerald State High School students Nateisha Keller and Arna Hock, experiment with STEM activities. Contributed

Students get hands on

EMERALD and Blackwater students have got their hands dirty digging coal and extracting copper without having to leave the classroom.

The STEM4Schoolkids program visited Emerald State High School where a group of Year 10 students took part in an all-day workshop.

STEM4Schoolkids is run by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) - a joint initiative of the Queensland Resources Council and State Government.

With guidance from mine representatives, the students undertook group activities that gave insight into a possible resources-sector career ahead.

Emerald maths and science teacher Rajiv Bhar said the day was broken into three main activities:

  • Simulating coal digging using plastic cups of rocks and different "tools”;
  • Extracting copper from copper using various chemical lab processes;
  • Engineering a drink that is exactly 7 degrees Celsius.

"For them the most valuable part is talking to the industry reps and asking them questions like 'how much do you earn?' or 'what's it like to work out there?'.

"They also really enjoyed the activities, especially the copper extraction. They all said it was their favourite because it involved processes and it's not something they usually do in school. It gives them real life context for stuff they are learning in school.”

Mr Bhar said students learnt that jobs available in the resources sector were quite diverse and not just the "high-vis” roles in regional towns.

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) skills and education manager Matt Heskett said it was important for students to understand the variety of career options in resources.

"We employ industry reps who speak to the students about the industry and show how the activities (in the classroom) on a small scale link back to the work site,” he said.

"Students really enjoy what we do and they walk away with a different perspective on the industry.”