Sophia College students SET for success


​​​Image credit:The Lockyer & Somerset Independent.​

A Plainland school is SET for success after developing their own science, ecology, and technology (SET) subject, aiming to help regenerate the Lockyer Valley area and turn students into solution-focused global citizens.  

Sophia College Plainland students in Year 9 will start studying SET from the new school year on Tuesday, 24 January

The College Principal Narelle Dobson developed the Ecology subject to engage students in creative and innovative ways to help address bioaccumulation in local riverways, a major issue for the region and align with the school's Franciscan traditions to care core for our common home. 

What is most exciting about this program is that it encourages inquiry-based learning and will help our students develop the knowledge, and skills they need to create sustainable change," she said.


“Throughout the program our students can develop their ability to ask questions, design investigations, interpret evidence, form explanations and arguments, and communicate findings.  


“My hope is that our students will leave the program with a deeper philosophical understanding of the interconnectedness of ecological systems, and their impact on the environment.

“SET is definitely unique compared to other schools’ subject offerings."


Sophia College SET program teacher Paul Neilsen said the program provides students with an ecological lens to help solve local problems. 


“As part of the program we want to open our students' eyes to environmental issues both locally and globally,” he said. 


“One of the focuses of the program will be encouraging students to find solutions to our local bioaccumulation issues. 


“One of the biggest problems facing the region is the runoff of pesticides and fertilisers from farms during major flooding events, that can contaminate both our riverways, and the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay area. 


The program is technology driven, and who knows what the students will come up with, their inventions could be as simple as a drone which drops seedlings along our riverbanks, which once grown, will absorb chemical runoff before they enter our waterways. 


“Once the students develop their ideas, they will have the opportunity to prototype their invention and put them in front of researchers and scientists who can help bring their designs to life. 


“Our students at Sophia College are extremely innovative and environmentally aware, and we aim to open their thinking beyond traditional solutions with this program.” 


BCE Senior Leader Paul Easton said, “this STEM program is unique in that most schools would usually focus on Engineering, not Ecology.” 


“Sophia College has used the ‘E’ in STEM to respond to their communities needs and developed an Ecology program that also links students to future employment pathways within their local area,” he said. 


SET will also see the students partner with experts and professionals to contextualise the problems and conclusions of their findings. 


As part of the program, students will get to learn within an eco-science precinct still under development, and once complete, the precinct will include three dams for students to undertake practical, and hands-on learning within an ecological space. 

For more information about Sophia College Plainland click here. 

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