Nelson teacher inspiring young women to achieve in science wins $100k award for school

A Nelson teacher is being recognised for her winning formula in the classroom, which has seen an increasing number of young women succeed in science.

Today Sarah Johns received the 2017 Prime Minister's Science Teacher Prize, winning $100,000 dollars for Nelson College for Girls and $50,000 for herself.

"I try to make it inclusive that science is everywhere and everything," Mrs Johns told 1 NEWS.

"And it's not pure, like science relies on creativity, and it relies on innovation and it relies on risk taking and that's something kids generally aren't afraid of."

In the nine years Mrs Johns has been teaching at the school, more students have become involved in science. Around 70 now take part in the region's Science and Technology Fair Awards.

Sarah Johns.
Sarah Johns. Source: 1 NEWS

"When I'm in here and I talk to my girls, I'm not trying to talk you into being a scientist or to study science. I am preparing you, coaching you, for the world that you're gonna step into".

Her teaching style is proving popular with students.

"She doesn't just talk about hypothetical stuff, she talks about real stuff,"  Year 11 student Sophie Craw told 1 NEWS.

"Like with chemistry she might talk about, like detergent or soap or something that we would know about".

Mrs Johns has embarked on her own learning experiences outside the classroom, working in Antarctica, Nepal and Samoa.

Nelson College for Girls Principal Cathy Ewing says Mrs Johns has brought back "practical applications" from those experiences, showing students what science can do for them in terms of future careers.

"And really emphasising the role that women can play in terms of what they might be able to go on and do," Mrs Ewing said.

Sarah Johns received the Prime Minister’s Science Teachers Prize. Source: 1 NEWS