When her class at Kent Street High School in Perth accompanied her on an expedition to fly over the South Magnetic Pole, Urbaniak quipped “in this case it was ‘#theflyingclassroom’. It was a real world experience.”

Jokes aside, the phrase is one Urbaniak uses to remind students that science is connected to everyday life. 

Her students are not learning from textbooks, they’re exploring the world around them and the way science impacts economics.

“It’s a project-based learning system held in context,” she explains.

“My Year 10s are looking at energy, we’re looking at the North West Shelf … that’s a major economic driver, the extraction of natural gas for overseas sale and domestic use and the importance of energy and fossil fuel energy in driving our economy, as well as sustaining our lifestyle and cities…

“The biggest part of our project-based learning is career awareness and development, because it shows the students how their science and engineering learning actually applies to the job market that is out there…”

The “flying classroom” experience was no exception, students marvelled at the sights, which further reinforced their learning within the classroom.

“[We were] looking at the cosmic rays, we looked at the deep circle and compass and electric magnetic fields change as we flew into high latitude…

“It was pretty amazing … to actually notice the change in the fields as we went down south, and then when we flew over it, they were revisiting concepts that we had learnt in the classroom. 

“So they could actually visualise these aspects in the real world…

“The difference between packed ice and shelf ice, and glaciers, you could see how the glaciers stood … and how there was some exposure of land, they got to see all that.”