Scouting is a non-formal educational movement that provides young Australians, aged 6 to 25, with fun and challenging opportunities to grow through adventure. The movement has a strong philosophy of learning by doing. The SciScouts project, led by Scouts ACT, aims to build enquiring minds and exploration of the natural world though Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) activities.
SciScouts aims to build linkages with local science institutions to deliver a centralised National Science Week event each year on behalf of Scouts ACT. These events are complemented by curriculum materials for Scout and Guide Leaders to incorporate STEM into their weekly programming. Highlights for SciScouts so far include the Scouts ACT: Reach for the Stars astronomy night held at Mt Stromlo Observatory in 2015, and SciScouts: Chemistry of Scouting co-hosted Scouts ACT and the ANU School of Chemistry in 2016. Planning is well underway to deliver SciScouts 2017: Environment. This theme was decided considering feedback following our 2016 event, and also aligns with 2017 National Science Week schools theme – Future Earth – sustainability science.
SciScouts has resulted in broader STEM engagement across Scouts ACT, extending across Australia virtually. Other Scout Branches from across Australia have access to and can readily utilise the pilot projects and materials to run their own events with local partners.