This page belongs to: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science 2022
Mr George Pantazis
Marble Bar Primary School’s STEM Coordinator, Mr George Pantazis has received the 2022 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools.
Mr Pantazis has used an innovative approach with two-way learning that empowers students to become teachers and showcases First Nations science and art to the world.
Mr Pantazis works with local Elders, organisations and industry leaders to combine local First Nations knowledge of the East Pilbara region with virtual and augmented reality technologies. Through this, he delivers a truly unique learning experience.
Mr Pantazis has integrated the local Nyamal language (a critically endangered language) into the school’s STEM program. Mr Pantazis has worked with students to create the only copyrighted digital First Nations seasonal calendar in Western Australia.
Watch a video about his work
[Music plays and the Coat of Arms and an image appears of a Prime Minister’s Prize badge and text appears: George Pantazis, 2022 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools, George Pantazis]
[Image changes to George and a student talking and looking up]
George Pantazis: My name is George Pantazis.
[Images move through to show a close view of a student holding a drone controller, an aerial view looking down on George explaining something to the student, and an aerial view of the school]
I am the STEM Coordinator and learning support teacher at Marble Bar Primary School, located in Marble Bar, Western Australia.
[Image changes to show George talking to the camera, and images move through of George and a female teacher walking towards the camera, and a Marble Bar Primary School sign on a wall]
The population of Marble Bar is approximately 157 people, and at Marble Bar Primary School we have approximately 25 students.
[Images move through of students working in the garden, and then an aerial view of Marble Bar]
It is famous for being the hottest town in all of Australia.
[Images move through to show a close view of George and a student picking tomatoes, George and a group of students working in the garden, and close views of students working in the garden]
At Marble Bar Primary School, I lead the integrated STEM program that combines western pedagogies and Aboriginal cultural knowledge.
[Image changes to show a medium facing, and then a close facing view of George talking to the camera]
We use two-way science, where the students become the teachers and they teach us about their rich Aboriginal culture.
[Images move through to show a rear view of a student carrying a metal colander, an Indigenous male showing George and the students some grasses, an Indigenous drawing of a turtle, and George talking]
This is wonderful because First Nations science is the oldest science in the world.
[Images move through of the students near a billabong in the outback, students drawing on a Smartboard, a student putting on a headset, and illuminated drawings on the Smartboard]
We use 21st century technology to acknowledge, respect and celebrate First Nations culture.
[Images move through to show a virtual reality game, two students working with a drone, George watching a student fly a drone, and an Indigenous drawing showing the seasons on a calendar]
These technologies include virtual reality, drone aviation, and First Nations science and art.
[Images move through to show George talking to the camera, a student wearing a VR headset, and the VR game being displayed through the headset]
We've used virtual reality to take our integrated STEM program to the rest of the world, such as Europe, the United States, and Asia.
[Image changes to show an illuminated kangaroo hopping]
More importantly, what this did was promote and celebrate our First Nations culture to the world.
[Images move through to show George talking to the camera, a student wearing a VR headset, the First Nations seasonal calendar drawing, and the student using the VR headset again]
One of the most significant projects of the integrated STEM program is the digital First Nations seasonal calendar.
[Image changes to show the digital calendar again]
The calendar depicts the seasons of the local region of the East Pilbara.
[Image changes to show George talking to the camera]
Our next project is to create the first culturally appropriate video game, which links our First Nations culture and two-way learning.
[Images move through of a student holding two turnips, a student planting a tomato seedling, George demonstrating to two students, then working with two students, and a side view of George talking]
To be recognised in the Prime Minister's Prizes for Science is not about me.
[Images move through of George working with his students, a student holding a freshly picked turnip, a student watching a robotic vehicle, and George and a student fist bumping]
It's about my students showcasing the First Nations culture and preparing them for their future.
[Music plays and the image changes to show George turning to smile at the camera while the students can be seen on a playground in the background]
[Image changes to show the Coat of Arms, and a Prime Minister’s Prize badge and text appears: 2022 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools, George Pantazis]