Science and Maths Specialist Centres take learning to Mars

​This Science Week, it's up to school science students to save humanity… on Mars.

'Colonising Mars' is one of the many activities coordinated by Victoria's Science and Maths Specialist Centres (SMSC) for this year's National Science Week.

A deadly virus is threatening to wipe out human life, so people are leaving Earth to colonise Mars. How will we survive?

72 school students will take on the roles of Astrobotanist, Space Physiologist, Interplanetary Molecular Biologist, Space software developer, Aerospace Engineer, Energy Engineer and more to plan our new life on Mars.

It's a unique opportunity for students from across the state to get together and solve complex problems. They will build their knowledge and skills in a fun and interactive environment on the surface of Mars. 

Science and Maths Specialist Centres

Science and Maths Specialist Centres are based on secondary school campuses and have a strong relationship with universities and the science industry.

The centres run hands-on, online and outreach science programs for students and teachers throughout the year. There's a range of unique study programs covering human body performance, the physics of Angry Birds and the Avengers, DNA analysis, investigating giant earthworms and robots - and frogs - in space.


Mission control simulation at VSSEC

VSSEC offer experiences that relate to the STEM curriculum. Students dress in space suits, build rockets and design robots.

'Students are transported - sometimes literally - into a world outside their previous experiences and are excited and stimulated as a result,' says VSSEC director Michael Pakakis.


Quantum Victoria director Soula Bennett says learning about science 'has never been more important.' Quantum specialises in a range of STEM learning activities.

'Wifi, GPS, Social Media, Space Travel, advances in renewable energy, Nano and smart materials, climate change, smartphones, AI, are but a few examples of how Science has impacted on our lives,'  Ms Bennett says.

'Science helps students make sense of the world they live in, through questioning, scientific inquiry and designing solutions to real world problems at a local and global level, enabling students to contribute as active citizens through science-related pathways and to participate in discussions that are shaping the world we live in.'


Paleontology dig at Ecolinc

Ecolinc director Linda Flynn says studying science is important so it helps students appreciate and relate to the world around them.

'Everything we do and deal with in life is science from cooking, playing ball, growing a garden and understanding how technologies work to watching a rain storm,' Ms Flynn says.


'It also helps [students] learn the skills of inquiry and discovery and builds students' natural curiosity.'

'These skills are important everyday skills that can be used throughout their lives, in the jobs they do and the decisions they make. '

The SMSCs are holding a range of other events during Science Week to get students thinking and interacting with science. ​