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Opening Real Science

Opening Real Science

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Opening Real Science is a unique, groundbreaking program that will use world-leading mathematicians, scientists, ICT and educators to change the way science and maths are taught in schools across the country. Hosted by Macquarie University with federal government funding, the project will drive a major improvement in the quality of mathematics and science learning by delivering innovative teacher education modules and a unique professional experience model to build the competence and confidence Australian teachers need to inspire and equip their own students to ask and investigate motivating questions. 

Opening real science - project updates

Project modules, practicum, trialling and planned timelines.

Opening Real Science - publications and conference

Our staff publications, conference papers and presentations.

Opening real science - contact us

Connect with our team, partner universities and scientific organisations.




Opening Real Science Specialist Professional Experience




Professor Joanne Mulligan congratulates Rosie Lee and Kerry Franta, winners of the Opening Real Science Specialist Professional Experience (Practicum) for 2016.


Congratulations also to the runner up ORS specialist professional experience prize winner Georgina Tucker. Georgina has won the Science Teachers Association of NSW 2017 Conference registration. All winners are final year education primary students who received outstanding reports from their mentors and ORS Specialist science supervisors. Rosie, Kerry and Georgina are completing the final year of their degree and working in casual teaching placements until the new year.


Rosie was also one of 6 recipients of the 2016 University Blues Award for outstanding achievement both on and off the field. She has recently returned from the University Games having won a gold medal in the sailing at the Perth games held earlier in September.


If you are interested in an ORS Specialist Practicum for 2017 please contact

ORS Practicum students share their experiences


ORS Practicum students were invited to share their placement experiences over lunch with the ORS team. The students had just completed their 2 week placement at selected Sydney schools with specialist science and maths mentors. They shared the tools and tips they picked up on how to engage the young learner with hands on practical science activities such as making your own hologram. They all agreed that the ORS specialist practicum had provided them with a valuable experience and were pleased that they had the opportunity to participate.


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ORS practicum students sharing their ideas for hands on science activities


If you would like to know more about an Opening Real Science practicum as part of your placement please contact


ORS Enhancement Workshops bring module development teams together


As the module development phase of the Opening Real Science project has been completed, the enhancement process is well underway. All 25 modules across mathematics and science for primary and secondary pre-service teacher education are now undergoing intensive trialling and review by in-service teachers, academics and other stakeholders nationally.


Recently a series of Enhancement workshops were held at MQ drawing academics and trialling partners together to assess whether the modules have met their initial brief and to identify areas of improvement before the modules are finalised ready for handover to the Office for Learning and Teaching later this year.


Each module has been designed around around a specific mathematics or science content area and is aimed at improving the confidence and content knowledge of the pre-service primary or secondary teacher. It is anticipated that the online modules will be incorporated into the teaching programs of the partner universities.


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Dr David McKinnon ECU with Rod Lane MQ and Jessy Abraham WSU       Professor Joanne Mulligan with Peter Galbraith UQ and Vince Geiger ACU


Congratulations Sally Anne Robertson; One of the first students to graduate as a primary science specialist from the Opening Real Science Project.


Congratulations to Sally Anne Robertson who has recently graduated as one of the first primary science specialists from the Opening Real Science project.

Sally Anne was also the recipient of an ORS student scholarship which enabled her to attend the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers conference last year She was also one of the projects student researchers. Sally Anne is now teaching primary science in a full time permanent position in a private school in the Eastern Suburbs.


Professor Joanne Mulligan congratulates Sally Anne Robertson at her recent graduation ceremony.

Professor Joanne Mulligan congratulates Sally Anne Robertson at her recent graduation ceremony.


ORS Practicum workshop brings specialist mentors and pre-service teachers together

The ORS Practicum team brought specialist mentor teachers and pre-service teachers together for an Orientation Workshop held in February. The ORS specialist pre-service students were selected from third and fourth year to carry out their practicum placements with science and maths mentor teachers in first semester. A pre-service teacher who attended the meeting appreciated the 'great background information on the ORS. It was interesting to hear about the benefits and expectations for teachers and schools as well as my own.'

The Opening Real Science project is led by Prof. Joanne Mulligan Macquarie University, with the support of Western Sydney University, University of Notre Dame Australia, Charles Sturt University, Edith Cowan University, and University of Canberra. This Australian government funded project is part of its STEM initiative to develop and trial 25 modules across mathematics and the sciences to build the content knowledge and confidence of pre-service teachers to deliver maths and science to primary and secondary school students. A mentor teacher commented that information about these modules was 'passionately delivered and rightly so as the modules look fabulous. I'm leaving fired up'.

The Specialist ORS practicum provides those students with a keen interest in science and mathematics to have the opportunity to participate in a specialist practicum where they are allocated to a mentor with science and maths expertise and supported by our ORS specialist practicum supervisor, Gary Tilley.

Prof. Mulligan and Dr Michael Cavanagh (Acting Head of Department) and the ORS team were pleased to host specialist Mentor Teachers from Epping North, Quakers Hill and Kellyville Ridge primary schools who attended the event. 


Prof. Mulligan and Wanda Snitch lead the discussion          Dr Kathy Stewart, ORS Academic Developer, explains the origins of Big History          Dr Michael Cavanagh, Acting HoD Educational Studies and Practicum Co-ordinator provides background on the practicum process


CSU visits ORS team

Prof. Joanne Mulligan, ORS project leader was pleased to host the ORS trialling team from Charles Sturt University last week. The team led by Dr John Rafferty brought together the specialist ORS science tutors from five CSU campuses in Dubbo, Wagga, Port Macquarie, Albury and Bathurst. They are keen to conduct their large cohort trials with over 300 students to evaluate Discovering Real Science - Big History and Consumer Chemistry as part of their pre-service Teacher Education Primary program.

Dr Kathy Stewart and Dr Hye-Eun Chu were on hand to provide a detailed overview of both modules.


Prof. Joanne Mulligan with the CSU ORS trialling team

Prof. Joanne Mulligan with the CSU ORS trialling team (L to R) Karen Pearce, John Rafferty, Andrea Grant, Sophie Enders and Prof. Mulligan.


Eureka Prize Finalists 2015


The finalists have been announced, the trophies have been polished and we're counting down to the 2015 Australian Museum Eureka Prize Award Dinner tomorrow, 26 August.


Opening Real Science Media Launch Video

Watch the video here


Equip and Inspire: Education for the Future

Over 130 guests from of the School of Education and Institute of Early Childhood (IEC) celebrated Macquarie's Jubilee with a special revival of the trendsetter panels of the 60s and 70s. The Jubilee Trendsetter panel brought together  academics and alumni educational practitioners to discuss future trends in education. 

Macquarie's significant capacity and ongoing developments in teaching practices and innovations was discussed including the University's new flagship, 'Opening Real Science' program. 

"The trendsetter panel is about what we are doing now to prepare our students for the world of the future and how we Equip and Inspire them to be ready for that future," said Professor Lori Lockyer, Head of the Department of Education.  

Read the full story here


$2.3 million for tomorrow's teachers

The launch of the Opening Real Science Project will revolutionise the way Mathematics and Science is taught in Australian schools.