Two Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Centres have officially been opened in Whyalla today, ensuring students now and in the future will have access to innovative learning facilities.
Nicolson Primary School and Whyalla Town Primary School both secured $1 million grants from the state government through the STEM Works program for the projects.
Education Minister John Gardner attended both schools to open the new facilities and was joined by Member for Giles Eddie Hughes, Education Department Whyalla Director Carol Williams and Mayor Clare McLaughlin.
The Nicolson Primary STEM Centre was built by Russell and Yelland Architects and A&G D'Orazio while the Whyalla Town facility was constructed by NJ & T McMullen.
Mr Gardner described Whyalla as a trailblazer in embracing STEM education, with two other STEM Centres having been opened at Long Street Primary School and Hincks Avenue Primary School last year.
"I'm really encouraged by the passion in the teachers I've spoken to and what that is going to lead to is passion in the students," he said.
"When they're going through their lives they will benefit from having had access to the facilities and the education our teachers are giving them."
Nicolson Specialist Science Teacher Michelle Harvey said the centre was a 'fantastic' learning space for students.
"They really enjoy coming to science specialty lessons because it's investigative. Kids can start learning through investigating where they are able to research things and experiment," she said.
"They aren't just sitting and listening or watching, they have a hands-on approach. That way they learn how to problem solve and be creative at the same time."
Year 7 student Hayden Cotterill said STEM centre 'definitely' made science lessons more fun.
"I'm more of a hands-on learner so it's better to actually do it than just listen to it," he said.
"I like using the robots and getting them to do burn-outs. It's pretty fun...we learn but we don't even realise we are learning."
Whyalla Town Science Teacher Rachel Sant said the STEM facility gave students the opportunities to take ownership of their learning.
"They are going forward with new ideas on their own, we're not just telling them all the information," she said.
"If we're doing a STEM project and students don't know the answer to a question they can use the books in here to find the answer or use the laptops and iPads to do some research."