A powerful combination: First Nations culture and STEM

Congratulations to Mr. George Pantazis of Marble Bar Primary School, who has received the Australian 2022 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools. George was recognized for combining western pedagogy with First Nations culture and knowledge in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs. Using two-way learning, he empowers students to become teachers and showcase First Nations science to the world.

George has used an innovative approach with two-way learning that empowers students to become teachers and showcases First Nations science and art to the world. 

He works with local Elders, organisations and industry leaders to combine local First Nations knowledge of the East Pilbara region in Western Australia with virtual and augmented reality technologies. Through this, he delivers a truly unique learning experience.  

George has integrated the local Nyamal language (a critically endangered language) into the school’s STEM program. He has worked with students to create the only copyrighted digital First Nations seasonal calendar in Western Australia.

George was also the recipient of the Teacher Award at the 2021 CSIRO Indigenous STEM Awards, proudly supported by the BHP Foundation. George was recognised for achievements in culturally responsive STEM and creating localised, positive experiences for students. George leads school staff in integrating STEM projects across the learning areas of the curriculum and reinforces local Indigenous customs.

Funded by BHP Foundation and delivered by CSIRO from 2014 to 2021, the Indigenous STEM Awards were delivered as part of the Indigenous STEM Education Project and awarded 54 winners in that time. The Indigenous STEM Awards recognised the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals and students as well as schools, teachers and mentors working in Indigenous STEM Education.

Watch the video above to learn more about his work.