Eleven Year 9 students have been invited to work with top science mentors to review professional science papers and then present their feedback in a ‘Live Review’ at the Society for Mental Health Research National Conference in Noosa on 29 November.
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 challenges our Year 9 students 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 have the unique opportunity to gain experience and understanding in the fascinating field of neuroscience research, brain imaging technology and mental health.
“Flinders is only the second group to be invited to present feedback on stage to conference delegates, which makes this a wonderful opportunity for our students to grow their confidence in public speaking.
“It is also a rewarding opportunity to feel valued for sharing their opinions, which they have arrived at by working diligently and conscientiously.
“Our students have enjoyed two training sessions with top science mentors, Dr Larisa McLoughlin, Christina Driver and Dr Amanda Clacy.
“These mentors have helped guide our students through the review process to provide quality feedback and suggestions to the authors that will make their articles clear and interesting to a young audience.
“The mentors have also helped our students prepare for their Live Review at the conference.
“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 they are keen to meet the researchers of the papers and to ask them questions about the research. It’s going to be a fun event.”
After the Live Review event there will be continuing opportunities for Flinders students and other interested students to review further papers and engage in other STEM opportunities the Thompson Institute can provide.
More information on the Thompson Institute can be found at: https://www.usc.edu.au/sunshine-coast-mind-neuroscience-thompson-institute