Award-winning production company and Australia’s leading medical research centre partner to drive school uptake of STEM subjects

Date
18 July 2018
Contact Name
Lucy Mowat
Contact Phone
02 9850 1055
Contact Email
Faculty
Faculty of Arts

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The new initiative aims to address an increasing Aussie education scourge: A significant lack of Australian women taking up university-accredited STEM degrees.
  • Macquarie University’s Dr. Egg Adventures Interactive Laboratory has partnered with Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research to enhance interest in primary school STEM subjects via engaging online games, puzzles and stories
  • Aussie kids, and in particular primary school age girls, are not engaging and following through to university level with STEM-based degrees
  • Including medical sciences and health-based subjects, women make up just under half of all STEM undergraduate and postgraduate enrolments

Macquarie University’s Dr Egg Digital – which was previously an independent internationally-renowned, children’s theatre production company – has today partnered with the acclaimed Australian research centre the Garvan Institute of Medical Research to engage primary students in STEM based subjects in ways that will excite, educate and entertain. And which will ultimately ensure interest sustains from primary school, through secondary education, and then on to territory education.

With the support of a recently-awarded City of Sydney grant, Dr Egg Digital and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research have developed workshops to create puzzle prototypes for primary students to investigate, research, and explore Science and Technology curriculum through a series of fantastical scientific adventure stories and games. A novel, never-before-implemented approach, to kick-start and sustain interest in STEM, which is crucial to the future of innovation in Australia. Students from City of Sydney OOSH afterschool care centres in Redfern and the Rocks, as well as Queenswood School will design puzzles and also enter the Garvan Laboratories, learning direct from scientists about science inquiry and designing experiments, all relevant to the new National Science and Technology Curriculum, in place nationally from 2019.

“Research shows Aussie kids, especially girls, are not engaging and following through to university level with STEM subjects. We believe engaging students in kindergarten and primary school will help raise scientific awareness,” said Dr Catherine Fargher, producer and game script writer at Dr Egg Digital.

“We want to create a safe and imaginative place for children to learn.”

“The immersive story-world invites students to explore biology, chemistry, science inquiry themes, and ethics through the eyes of three inventive kid-heroes with special powers. Through the story-world, they navigate across problem-solving adventures, quests and games.”

“We have the ongoing support of Macquarie University via its Incubator Hub, as well as collaborations with STEM Education specialists at the University’s Education Studies and Biological Science Departments, and innovation programs, providing business and commercialisation support, and allowing us to focus on developing the product.”

Currently the team includes creative director / writer Dr Catherine Fargher, science and game educators, Macquarie University HDR students Julia Featherstone, India Boynton, Ravin Naidoo  and design team members Jennyfer Ong and game-developer Peter Liang, who is currently a UX designer for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC). The team also receives business support from an Advisory Board, including education, technology and science specialists, along with the incubator hub director John Shi-Nash and Singapore Edutech Business specialist David Ng, currently CFO of Mirxes, a medtech company.

On Wednesday 18 July, a team of eight-to-12 years old apprentice scientists will don their lab coats for game-testing and puzzle design. They will be interacting with puzzles and games featuring the protagonists from the Dr Egg Science Adventure series to explore biological sciences, chemical sciences, and science inquiry.

The Dr Egg Adventures story-world was based originally on Catherine’s original theatrical script, part of a national and international theatre production Dr Egg and The Man with No Ear, featuring puppetry, new media and animation. The work premiered at the Sydney Opera House and was later re-staged in Chicago at Redmoon Theatre and toured Canada through 2010-2011.The theatre script, honed on these three remounts, went on to win the AWGIE award for scriptwriting in Children’s theatre in 2011.

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Media Contact

Lucy Mowat

02 9850 1055

lucy.mowat@mq.edu.au

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