Choose a Cheese Sandwich Over a Tuna Sandwich: For Science’s Sake
National Science Week wrapped up last week with a visit from world-leading seabird ecology expert Dr Janos Hennicke. Dr Hennicke, the School’s Scientist in Residence for a day, was in Perth for a presentation on the plight of Christmas Island seabirds at Horizon - the Planetarium for National Science Week.
Head of Science Michael Masterton said the scientist talked to a number of classes from Years 7, 8, 9 and 11 as well as Year 12 Biology about his foundation and conservation work. He explained how he had tracked the frigate bird’s movement and feeding patterns using GPS trackers, which he had attached to them. “He discovered that the male and female birds fed in different locations and that their main diet was flying fish,” Mr Masterton said. “The bird catches its prey when the fish launches itself out of the water to avoid being preyed upon by tuna, which swarm below. Over-fishing of tuna has led to less flying fish, hence reducing the food available to the birds.”
The take-home message he imparted to the boys was that when confronted with a choice between a cheese sandwich and a tuna sandwich - choose the cheese sandwich. Mr Masterton said the boys and staff were “entertained and educated” as indicated by the many and varied questions fielded by the scientist.
Other activities during National Science Week included a competition in celebration of the International Year of Biodiversity. The boys were asked to construct a poster on ‘What’s So Special About Australia’s Biodiversity?’ Congratulations to Jack Archer (Year 8), who won a year’s subscription to The Helix magazine as well as membership to CSIRO’s Double Helix club.
Students were also encouraged to take part in real scientific research about sleep through the Big Sleep Survey. Students who took part in the national project were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their sleep habits as well as keeping a weeklong diary recording their sleep hours and activities in the hours leading up to bedtime. Participants will be emailed with the results of the experiment once it is completed and are in the running to win an iPad.
Boys had an opportunity to take part in several lunchtime activities including a ‘Shockingly Good Lunch’ in the Physics Department; a lecture by Paul Luckas, from UWA’s Centre for Learning Technologies, on ‘Imaging Killer Asteroids From Outer Space’; chemistry demonstrations; and the popular Great Fossil Dig run by the Biology Department.
Eight gifted science students from Year 10 were also given an opportunity to attend Guys Talking Science – a National Science Week event for boys hosted by UWA. Stephen Kikiros shared his thoughts on the event:
Quite recently I, along with seven other students in my class, was able to attend the national science week event at UWA entitled ‘Guys Talking Science.’ During the event we met a range of different scientists at various stages of their career. We also had the opportunity to speak one-on-one about what inspired them to study science and where their science career has taken them.
We were able to talk to a number of scientists ranging from chemists to an ecohydrologist. We gained a very large and very broad understanding of the science careers described to us and how they appealed to the scientists.
The event was a great experience and we all learnt a great deal from what the scientists had to say. It was certainly a unique experience and gave us all a great insight of where science can take you and all of the options it creates for future careers.
National Science Competition 2010 Results
This year, 319 students from Christ Church volunteered to take part in the National Science Competition. This is an annual competition designed to test scientific skills including observing/measuring, interpreting, predicting/concluding, investigating and reasoning and problem solving.
At the Senior School Assembly this week, Head of Science Michael Masterton acknowledged the fine performances of students who achieved a High Distinction certificate. To receive a High Distinction, students had to achieve a result that placed them in the top one per cent of students in Western Australia.
High Distinctions were awarded to the following students:
Year 7 (21 awarded in WA)
George van Beem
Year 8 (26 awarded in WA)
Year 9 (30 awarded in WA)
Year 10 (24 awarded in WA)
Year 11 (3 awarded in WA)
Year 12 (3 awarded in WA)