National Science Week, our annual celebration of all things science and technology, was held from the 15th– 23rd of August this year, and we can successfully report that things went off with a bang!
Not your typical magnesium-in-acid-producing-hyrdrogen-gas-which-is-then-ignited bang, but rather the excited and animated ‘bang’ of nearly 100 school students getting hands on with science and technology over two days.
On the Monday and Wednesday, pupils from Penrith South Public School visited Western Sydney University at its Hawkesbury Campus. Over the course of the two mornings, Year 4 and Year 5 students were treated to an array of different workshops and activities involving different aspects of the university.
Monday morning saw the Year 5 students being immersed in one of the largest climate change experiments in Australia- EucFACE. The Eucalyptus Free Air CO2 Enrichment experiment is a monument to behold, with towering cranes, large cage-encircled trees and snaking pipes, it was no wonder the students had so many questions!
So after a quick talk detailing everything about the experiment, the students were split into groups and given the task of making a quick video. The videos had to be about one of the three following themes:
- Jurassic World
- Back to the Future
Using these popular movie themes to explore different aspects of science and science over time, looking at things such as conservation, changing technology and sustainability. Using ipads the groups created, directed and starred in their creative films.
Once this activity was completed it was on aboard the bus again to be taken over to the main university site where the students were treated to a very hands-on session- with some friendly reptiles!
Run by the Technical Operations Coordinator, Murray Austin and some Zoology students, the students got to meet and learn about a variety of native reptile species, including Bearded Dragon’s, Blue Tongued Lizards, Woma Pythons and Children’s Pythons.
Of course the best part was getting to then hold and pat them at the end of the session!
On the Wednesday it was Year 4’s turn. They got to do things a little differently from Year 5, with a morning presentation from Chris Vella and April Browne, two Agriculture Education Officers.
Learning about all-things food waste and sustainability, the ipads were brought out once more, and this time used as an interactive polling tool, testing the student’s knowledge about thing such as how much water it takes to produce a kilo of tomatoes.
Like a trivia-show there were many cheers and celebrations as answers were found to be correct, as well as many surprised faces when the true facts were revealed- learning in action.
Students were then given a similar video task to the Year 5’s but this time asked to make a video for their peers back at school, on ways to prevent food waste in the playground. After some brainstorming on butchers paper and a storyboard being produced, it was lights-camera-action as the students brilliantly stepped into their roles and coordinated their groups filming.
And then the reptiles made a visit again!
Actually seeing and interacting with what is being talked about is such a great learning experience- especially if you are learning about animals! The students from Penrith South certainly thought so, being quite eager to interact with the various lizards and pythons.
And thus ended Science Week 2015 for the Western Sydney Science Hub!
A big thanks to all who helped organise and co-ordinate the two days from both Western Sydney University and Penrith South Public School.
Year 5 Visit to Western Sydney University – Monday 17th August
Mrs Bruce and Miss Gunning went on an excursion to Western U, with Year 5 students. All of the teachers and students got to hold lizards and snakes. There were 3 snakes and 4 lizards. My favourite snake was the diamond python and my favourite lizard was the eastern bluetongue. It was a really fun day. Thanks to Mrs Johnson for organising a fun day and Mrs Bruce and Miss Gunning for taking us.
Firstly we went to EucFACE, and we heard about an experiment being conducted for climate change. Next we had to pick a movie or computer game such as Minecraft, Jurassic World or Back to the Future and answer questions whilst taking a video of us. Then we took the bus to the main part of Western U. We got to see a bluetongue lizard, shingleback and we met Stumpy. Next was the snakes, there was a children’s python, diamond snake and a medium and large snake that weighed 19kg – it was heavy! Year 5 had a fun time at Western U. Thanks to Mrs Johnson for organising this excursion and also thanks to Ms Gunning and Mrs Bruce for taking us.
Year 5 went to Western U and we learnt about the environment and we got to use iPads to make a video. We looked at some reptiles and leant all about them. Some of us even held the snakes and lizards. Thank you to Ms Gunning and Mrs Bruce who took us to this amazing place and Mrs Johnson who organised the day. Mrs Gunning was even brave enough to hold a snake!