Building knowledge

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A new attraction funded by Woodside at Scitech is quickly proving a hit with its target audience – young children eager to discover more about the world.

While having fun playing with new exhibits and four “hero” pieces, they’re engaging in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects – without even knowing it.

The gallery is Kaartadjin Koorliny – a 400 sq m space in the West Perth science learning centre. It aims to encourage learning through collective discovery and open exploration which challenges critical thinking and emphasises the dynamic and collaborative aspects of knowledge. Although Woodside has supported Scitech for around 20 years, Kaartadjin Koorliny represents our first physical presence at the centre.

Its opening in April attracted a large crowd. More than 150 Woodsiders and their families attended, including Jacky Connolly, vice president People and Global Capability, who spoke at the event. “Woodside and Scitech fit well together,” Jacky said. “We both share a commitment to supporting young people as they grow to reach their full potential. “And we both hope to inspire that same sense of passion for STEM in the hearts and minds of young people.”

Kaartadjin Koorliny is testament to this passion. In 2017, a group of Woodsiders keen to share their enthusiasm for STEM helped shape this new gallery. It was one of them, reservoir engineer Luke Vlasich, who suggested that the Noongar word Kaartadjin (which means knowledge), be incorporated in its name.The result is Kaartadjin Koorliny, which translates as “learning is always moving”.

Scitech’s chief executive officer Deb Hancock says Kaartadjin Koorliny encourages learning through collaborative discovery and open exploration. “It’s where physical meets digital, the virtual meets the actual, and where the imagination can spring to life,” Deb says.

“The interactive spaces stimulate imagination, fuel critical thinking and inspire confidence to tackle complex challenges. “Without the support of Woodside, this amazing gallery wouldn’t have been possible and we are grateful for the wonderful ongoing support and investment into our community.”

Woodside has supported Scitech to deliver many inspiring and engaging STEM programs, such as a free program that provides WA primary schools with an opportunity to encourage students to actively engage with science (Woodside Scitech Science Awards).

Woodside also supports gifted and talented WA students to follow their interest in science into high school (the Gifted and Talented Program), as well as offering interactive science workshops beyond the classroom, during school holidays and after school (Science After School Program).
Jacky noted: “Through these partnerships, we are collectively working together to help give children the critical skills to become problem solvers, critical thinkers and leaders — traits which are useful throughout a person’s entire life.”

Senior corporate affairs adviser Cher Gibellini points to the company’s involvement with Scitech in establishing the gallery and the other programs creating a very positive influence. Cher explains: “For example, our involvement has helped to encourage the establishment of a reconciliation action plan, while our desire to involve girls in STEM subjects has helped convince Scitech to develop a girls in STEM strategy and a gender diversity strategy.”

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Trunkline Q2 2018