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2019 Prime Minister's Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools

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Mrs Sarah Finney

Mrs Finney is recognised for raising student interest in science and increasing participation in South Australia's Oliphant Science Awards from 16 to 63 students. As a science advocate contributing to professional learning communities, she has made significant contributions within the school, region and state to strengthen the curriculum.

Read professional achievements and citations [178KB PDF] [245KB DOCX]
 

Transcript

[Music plays and an image appears of the Australian Government Coat of Arms and the Prime Minister’s Prize For Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools badge and text appears: Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools, Mrs Sarah Finney, The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Celebrating 20 years]

[Image changes to show Sarah and two students walking along outside of a school classroom and then the image changes to show Sarah talking to the camera]

Sarah Finney: I’ve been a teacher for 17 years.

[Image changes to show a view looking through the windows of a classroom and the camera pans along the windows and then the image changes to show students entering the classroom]

I love teaching science because science is my passion and my joy and I like to share what I’m excited about.

[Image changes to show various models in the classroom and then the image changes to show Sarah talking to the camera]

I love that science is humble.

[Image changes to show a view looking down on Sarah working at some tables with the students in the classroom and then the image changes to show Sarah explaining something to a student]

Science knows its limitations.

[Image changes to show Sarah assisting a student to take a photograph of other students dressed as astronauts and the camera zooms in on the children dressed as astronauts]

Science is dynamic and changing and always surprising.

[Image changes to show Sarah watching three students photograph three other students dressed as astronauts and then the camera zooms in on one of the tablet screens with the photograph]

Children are born scientists and it’s my job to help them harness that curiosity

[Camera zooms in on the students dressed as astronauts]

…and exercise it in all areas of their lives.

[Image changes to show Sarah talking to the camera and then images move through of Sarah talking to the children and pointing at a display showing the phases of the Moon]

My school brings together old and new technologies and we have been doing this like building phases of the Moon with Oreo biscuits

[Image changes to show the students photographing the phases of the Moon using an Oreo biscuit and the camera zooms in on a photo on the tablet and then on the biscuit on the plate]

…and I’ve asked the children to turn them into stop motion animations.

[Image changes to show a tennis ball landing in a box of white powder and then the camera zooms out to show Sarah and the students looking at the indentation hole in the box]

I’m always thinking about new ideas

[Image changes to show the students standing in a line holding up posters showing the various phases of the Moon while Sarah moves a model spacecraft past them]

…and new ways to interest my students.

[Image changes to show Sarah and a group of students on the oval and then the image changes to show a facing and then profile view of Sarah talking]

I’ve co-founded a group of teachers who are interested in sharing ideas and science and helping each other deliver curriculum and make it fun and exciting for their students.

[Images flash through of students outside in the school grounds, classrooms displays, students walking past the Stirling East Primary School sign, and students walking into the classroom]

What I’m most proud of is an initiative that I’ve brought into the school whereby the Year 3 and 4 students choose a topic of interest which they go and investigate.

[Image changes to show Sarah talking to the students in the classroom and the camera zooms in on students sitting at their desks and then the image changes to show a student dropping a ball]

I invite scientists to come in and critique their work, commenting and discussing it with them.

[Image changes to show Sarah watching the students looking at a tennis ball in a box of white powder and the camera zooms in on one of the students measuring the ball indent hole in the powder]

STEM learning is really important for children because it helps them to develop a growth mindset.

[Images move through of Sarah helping a female student, a male student looking up, and Sarah pointing as she talks to the students]

It helps them become critical, analytical thinkers and it prepares them for the job market of the future.

[Images move through to show Sarah talking to the camera, Sarah showing two students something on a tablet, and Sarah and students walking along a veranda towards the camera]

This prize is recognition for the work that all of the science teachers around Australia do to inspire their students and I’m incredibly honoured to be receiving this prize.

[Image changes to show Sarah helping students with an experiment using plastic bottles outside and then the image changes to show Sarah helping students in the classroom]

The most important thing that children should remember about science is that it’s everywhere.

[Image changes to show a student looking and smiling and then the image changes to a white substance exploding on the lawn and then the image changes to show a female student smiling]

It doesn’t exist only in the classroom.

[Music plays and the image changes to show Sarah watching the students throwing something in the air and then the image changes to show Sarah smiling at the camera while she stands in a classroom]

[Image changes to show the Australian Government Coat of Arms and the Prime Minister’s Prize For Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools badge and text appears: Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools, Mrs Sarah Finney, The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Celebrating 20 years]