Street Science: High-Octane, Captivating Education for Young Minds

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Steve Liddell, Founder, Street ScienceSteve Liddell, Founder “Students should be made to think, to doubt, to communicate, to question, to learn from their mistakes, and most importantly have fun in their learning,” said the Nobel prize-winning physicist—Richard Feynman. He believed that just as authors fueled creativity in their writing, teachers needed to support students by stoking their natural curiosity into scientific inquiry. This cannot be accomplished through memorizing scientific facts but, instead, through exploration. It would be far better for students to head outside with a magnifying glass and an inquisitive mind with a teacher who knows how to captivate their attention and extend their thinking than continually do ‘experiments’ where the teacher’s manual predetermines the results.

Staying true to Feynman’s line of thought and his ideas on education, Steve Liddell—a passionate science teacher—observed that many schools followed rigid, archaic, and downright dull curricula when teaching students new concepts. He envisioned a future where all children had access to highly engaging lessons, which could inculcate a true passion for learning. As a qualified and highly experienced science and math teacher, Liddell also understood the financial and time constraints that teachers often faced as well as their lack of access to quality resources and training. To help both teachers and students expand their horizons in education, Liddell took his engaging teaching style to Brisbane’s streets under the name ‘Liddell Education.’ The company was later rebranded to Street Science in 2013and grew with the sole mission of providing an affordable way for teachers to bring science to life in their classrooms and allow students to have fun while learning. With explosive stage shows and well-designed, hands-on workshops to complement the Australian National Curriculum, Street Science now inspires over 100,000 students each year to venture into the realms of science with a thirst for knowledge.

Revamp Classrooms with Interactive and Engaged Learning

In its ninth year of operation, Street Science has grown to become Australia’s leading provider of curriculum-aligned science incursions for primary schools. The company’s education programs are developed and presented by experienced teachers and qualified scientists who are passionate about engaging kids in science through intriguing demonstrations and student-centred lessons. Street Science has developed curriculum-aligned science stage shows, workshops, and individually tailored programs for students from Foundation Years through to Year 10.

“The key to truly engaging kids in science is to provide real-world examples that students can relate to, and then make the learning fun,” says Steve Liddell, Founder of Street Science.

The company’s stage shows demonstrate, explore and explain meaningful scientific concepts, spanning across multiple topics. “When we present science shows, our educators command the stage and captivate the audience’s attention, lighting fireballs and conjuring huge liquid nitrogen clouds right before their eyes,” adds Liddell. By bringing exciting equipment and humor to spark an eagerness for education, Street Science delivers lessons in ways that help students visualize science in action in the real world. As an example, for its programs on forces, the team produce mesmerizing smoke rings which float above the students’ heads and they launch CO2 rockets into the air whilst explaining contact and non-contact forces. When teaching chemistry, they demonstrate chemical and physical change with mind-blowing chemical reactions happening instantly and vividly; the chemicals dramatically change color or go off with a bang after theatrical fizzing and popping. On the other hand, the workshops encourage learning through student centred interactions, by questioning concepts, nurturing critical thinking, and guiding children in following scientific procedures to obtain real data and, therefore, meaningful results.

The key to truly engaging kids in science is to provide real-world examples that students can relate to, and make learning fun

Changing With the Need of the Hour

Street Science also provides all the tools and gadgets—from microscopes to DIY kits—that young scientists could ever need to deep-dive into their studies. The company’s ability to provide innovative educational resources proved particularly effective during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. With their new Award Winning Classroom Kit, Street Science now offers schools boxes of equipment to perform hands-on science investigations for up to 35 students. The package comes complete with access to their digital Teacher Portal which provides a series of instructional videos where the company’s educators teach the relevant science concepts and walk the class through each step of their experiments. This world first ‘Hybrid’ model of science teaching has only just recently been launched and is already proving to be a game-changer for teachers across the Asia Pacific region. Never before have teachers had access to Street Science’s super engaging style of science education from anywhere in the world. Additionally, within days of the mandated lockdown, Street Science pivoted from its usual face-to-face programs in schools and instead set up a filming studio from where the team broadcasted daily science lessons to students across the country and even to those in America, Singapore, China, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Great Britain. This marked the birth of the Street Science Virtual Classrooms. “In recognition of our ability to positively pivot business during the early months of the pandemic, we were awarded the HSBC Award for Excellence in Business Adaptation,” says a proud Liddell.

Since the company continually innovates and improves its products based on market requirements, it has garnered a loyal and dedicated customer following throughout Australia and beyond. In 2019, Street Science won the Telstra Small Business Award for ‘Outstanding Small Business – Queensland,’ and in 2020, it won three International Business Awards including a Stevie Award for Company of the Year (Media and Entertainment). These awards are a testament to the expertise of the STEM educators and how the company employs best practices regarding pedagogy and student behavioral management.

A Mission to Deliver Science Education Globally

Over the past nine years, numerous school principals have contacted Street Science looking for new and exciting ways to engage their students during National Science Week—an annual celebration of science endorsed by the Australian Federal Government. In response to these requests, Street Science has written and produced a blockbuster custom science show each year, for the past five years, and toured this along the east coast of the country. “Since 2016, we’ve delivered our National Science Week Street Science Experience every year to primary schools, secondary schools, and a range of community events and festivals,” states Liddell. The company’s immensely successful stage shows have also featured in many prominent news publications due to the sheer student engagement at these programs.

Constantly creating new science-learning material for various clients, Street Science has recently partnered with Urban Utilities to communicate messages about water usage to schools across South East Queensland. The team also aims to work with more corporate partners, both in Australia and across the world, so that they can continue to share their passion for science education to junior scientists worldwide. When teachers and the school administration work in tandem with Street Science, they can bring their curriculum to life, get students excited about learning, and we can model best practice to deliver high-quality education to young, impressionable minds. In addition to providing detailed risk assessments and extensive public liability insurance, the company offers ongoing support to ensure smooth, hassle-free bookings and provide additional teacher resources for use post-visit.

By teaching kids through highly engaging, and somewhat explosive science shows, mixed with contextualized content and a bit of humour, scientific facts become less of a chore to remember and more of a fond memory that stays with them as they grow older. Street Science instills a sense of wonder within our youth, which may lead kids to pursue a career in the sciences and help create a better world. “We have found that students who have participated in our programs understand the importance of learning science more and can work through more complex scenarios themselves long after the program has ended,” concludes Liddell.

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Top 10 Student Engagement Solution Companies in APAC - 2021
Street Science

Company
Street Science

Headquarters
Queensland, Australia

Management
Steve Liddell, Founder

Description
Founded in 2012, Street Science grew with the sole mission of providing an affordable way for teachers to bring science to life in their classrooms and allow students to truly have fun while learning. In its ninth year of operation, Street Science has grown to be Australia’s leading provider of curriculum-aligned science incursions for primary schools. The company’s education programs are developed and presented by experienced teachers and qualified scientists who are passionate about engaging kids in science through intriguing demonstrations and student-centredlessons. Street Science has developed curriculum-aligned science stage shows, workshops, and individually tailored programs for students from Foundation years through to Year 10.