How a seamless learning space builds curiosity

The Geoff Handbury Science and Technology Hub reflects the need for today’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) classrooms to respond to a fast-changing field of knowledge. Our new Head of Science & Technology, Simon Maaser, shares his experiences working in the space so far. 

What have been your initial impressions of the School?

Melbourne Grammar School is a true community. The staff are extremely supportive, and the students are mature, polite, and socially aware. I’ve also noticed that the classroom conversations go deeper than they might at other schools. Students here won’t shy away from asking the bigger questions and engaging in positive debate.

What do you see as the potential for the Geoff Handbury Science and Technology Hub?

The Hub is truly state-of-the-art. It allows us to expose the students to a lab environment on par with those they’d typically only come into contact with at universities or in research settings. That inspires them.

I’m also excited about the possibility of bringing younger students from Wadhurst and Grimwade House into the Hub to spark their passion for science and technology early.

Inviting a scientist-in-residence into the space is another option that would show students what working in this field really looks like.

Above all I’m taking a scientific approach to exploring the opportunities the Hub provides: staying curious, trying new things, and testing the results.

How does the Hub support students’ learning?

The Hub is a fantastic setting in which to gain practical lab skills, but the way it’s set up offers so much more than that. The fact that it offers collaborative spaces and areas for individual study means students can move seamlessly between these modes of learning.

Another important feature of the Hub is the fact that it integrates Design and Technology learning spaces alongside the Science areas. We’re bringing together disciplines that have traditionally been kept separate. That opens up a whole range of possibilities for the kinds of activities students can undertake.

We can’t always plan for the moment that sparks a student’s curiosity, so we need to stay flexible and respond in the moment. The Hub allows for that. We have the space and resources we need to follow any thread we choose.

Scientific discovery is constant. How do you keep up?     

I need to make sure I’m engaged with the latest journal articles and media stories, so I can be ready to work with students who are increasingly science literate. That said, my job is to teach students how to discern credible, accurate, reliable information.

The one thing I’m sure of is that I don’t hold all the answers. As one of my first science teachers often told us: “Don’t believe everything I say.” We want Melbourne Grammar students to continue to be curious, questioning, and thoughtful as well. The Geoff Handbury Science and Technology Hub certainly provides an environment where this kind of thinking will flourish.