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Remote Wajarri students participate in two-way learning program about Earth's oldest rocks

Emma Ruben -
: Indigenous students from Pia Wadjarri Remote Community School have had the chance to learn the science behind some of Earth's oldest rocks from their Country. Their learnings are part of a two-way program which in turn teaches scientists from Curtin University and CSIRO about the cultural significance of the rocks. The reciprocal partnership has been put together by CSIRO through its STEM Professionals in Schools program. Located 330km north-east of Geraldton, the students travelled to Perth to learn about geology, space exploration, the planets, and visited Scitech and Curtin's Centre for Aboriginal Studies. The students were also able to see how telescopes are being used by scientists used on Wajarri Country and saw the Pawsey supercomputers processing data collected from telescopes, in action. Pia Wadjarri students Bronte Barbuto, Brendan Sahara, Rihanna Schwarze, Kyanne Simpson, Jayeleen Simpson, Kylie Simpson. Photo credit @stephenheathphotography The partnership has also been supported by the WA Department of Education, the Pia Wadjarri Remote Community School and Curtin University. Lead researcher from Curtin University said the program was a blend of Indigenous cultural knowledge and scientific knowledge from the Australian curriculum. "The Wajarri people are the custodians of the oldest rocks on Earth that are widely studied by Curtin scientists,” Dr Doucet said. "By working together, we are learning valuable knowledge from the traditional owners who have lived on this land for thousands of years while also hoping to ignite a passion for science among the next generation as the future geology, space and science workforce." Principal of the Pia Wadjarri Remote Community School, Susan Trigwell said the two-way science program has helped students to develop crucial science skills for the future. "Pia Wadjarri students, Curtin and CSIRO staff have developed a strong bond over our rocks and environment," she said. "Working together on our two-way science program, our students are developing the skills to be scientists of the future, and further unravel the mysteries of the wonderful Wadjarri world in which they live." The group visiting from Pia Wadjarri Remote Community School. Photo credit: @stephenheathphotography Students from a range of different ages were part of the program. Including 15 year old Rihanna Schwarze. Schwarze said the best part was being able to physically see the researches work with the rocks in real life. "It's been a good experience visiting the actual researches who work with these rocks," she said. "I’ve enjoyed learning about geology and how they cut the rocks open." As part of the two-way program, the Pia Wadjarri community has previously welcomed Curtin and CSIRO scientists to their community for school visists and two-way science activities on Country.


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