Main content area

2021 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools

Mrs Megan Hayes   

Mudgeeraba Creek State School’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) specialist and primary teacher, Mrs Megan Hayes is an innovative educator whose philosophy is to build the connection between science and its application in the real world for her students. With more than 30 years’ primary teaching experience, she inspires students to think critically, take risks and become ‘agents of change’ for the future.

Mrs Hayes integrates contemporary digital tools and practices to deliver high quality teaching and learning in science. She also developed and now leads a Professional Learning Team for Science at the school, which has positively impacted student learning outcomes. According to anecdotal evidence, many families seek enrolment at Mudgeeraba Creek State School because of the outstanding reputation of the STEM program at the school.

Watch a video about their work

[Music plays and the image shows a slide showing the Australian Government Crest, Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools medallion animated and turning, and the words 2021, Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools, and the name, Mrs Megan Hayes]

[Images move through to show Megan Hayes standing in front of a white board demonstrating a paper helicopter to her students]

Megan Hayes: My name is Megan Hayes. I am the Science Coordinator and STEM Specialist Teacher at Mudgeeraba Creek State School on the beautiful Gold Coast in Queensland.
 

[Image changes to show Megan talking to the camera and then the image changes to show Megan talking to her students]

I have been teaching at Mudgeeraba Creek State School for just over 20 years and during that time, science has become one of our signature programs.

[Images move through of students writing at a desk, Megan watching a student write on the whiteboard, and the camera zooms in]

Approximately 80% of the new families that come to our school are attracted to Mudgeeraba Creek because of the success of the science program within our school.

[Images move through to show Megan talking to the camera, Megan talking to the students, and then a close view of a plant being held in the hand]

My philosophy for teaching is to find as many ways as possible to connect our students with real world experiences.

[Images move through of Megan talking to two students, a close view of Megan holding a flower with a caterpillar on it, a close view of Megan talking, and then a profile view of Megan talking]

By doing so we can prepare them to be agents of change in the future. We can equip them with the skills they need such as problem solving and collaboration.

[Image changes to show a facing view of Megan talking to the camera]

When my students enter the science classroom, the first thing they see is a huge sign that says “FAIL”.

[Image changes to show the FAIL, First Attempt In Learning, sign on a wall]

That actually stands for First Attempt In Learning.

[Image changes to show a marble being rolled between rows of wooden blocks, and then the camera zooms out, and images move through to show Megan and the students looking at the experiment]

I think that's the beauty of science education, students can fail together, learn together, and then they can work to find solutions together.

[Image changes to show a close view of Megan and a student looking down and laughing, and then the image changes to show Megan talking to the camera]

Building relationships is a passion of mine.

[Images move through of Megan standing next to a screen showing Lisa Harvey Smith, Women in STEM Ambassador, students at the conference, a female presenter, and students at the conference]

And in 2021, I organised and led the Sisters in STEM mini conference, which brought together over 35 young female students to experience careers in science. They had the opportunity of interacting with experts in their field.

[Image changes to show profile view of Megan talking to the camera]

They left the conference very excited about the possibilities of studying science in their future years.

[Images move through to show a facing view of Megan talking, Megan standing next to a whiteboard labelled Chat Room with many notes around the label, and then Megan talking to the camera]

My ambition is that the Sisters in STEM Conference grows every year and becomes an annual event that young female students come to and find their passion for science education.
 

[Images move through of students in the classroom, Megan talking in front of a whiteboard, and a close view of a caterpillar on a leaf]

It is an honour to be recognized in the Prime Minister's Prizes for Science.

[Images move through to show Megan talking to the camera, Megan looking at bushes in the garden with students, Megan talking to the camera, and students in a classroom testing paper helicopters]

I hope this inspires fellow science educators to continue to do great work within the classroom and to help students find their passion in science.

[Image changes to show a new slide showing the Australian Government Crest, Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools medallion animated and turning, and the words 2021, Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools, and the name, Mrs Megan Hayes]

See their acceptance speech

[Image shows slide showing the Australian Government Crest, Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools medallion animated and turning, and the words 2021, Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools, and the name, Mrs Megan Hayes]

[Music plays and the image changes to show Megan talking to the camera and a Prize medallion and text appears: Mrs Megan Hayes]

I am honoured to receive the Prime Minister's Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools. Thankyou Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and Minister Melissa Price, for this prize.

I would like to thank my principal Deirdre von Guilleaume for her nomination and for trusting me with the collective vision in seeking engaging ways to prepare our students to be agents of change in the future. I would also like to acknowledge my Deputy Principal, Nicole Page-Dhu, and fellow science educator, Paula Taylor, for their amazing support.

To my colleagues at Mudgeeraba Creek and across Australia, I am so grateful for your ongoing support and friendship. Without it I would never have succeeded in turning my passions into a reality.

To my husband, Alan and my sons, Sam and Amos, thank you for being my greatest and most tolerant supporters. Teaching is a career that encompasses so many different roles. At its core are our students. Thank you to all my students, you have challenged me, made me laugh, but most of all inspired me to be a better teacher. Never forget that science is everywhere. Take risks, make mistakes and never, ever stop being curious.

[Screen goes to white]