Published on: 29 August 2014

The Science Department engaged boys in a number of events as part of National Science Week last week. Incursions, competitions and a lunchtime quiz centred on this year’s theme of Science: Feeding the World.

The week got underway with a lunchtime quiz with more than 75 boys taking part. Science teacher Katie Williams said the quiz was a huge success with the science laboratory buzzing with enthusiasm and excitement. “We had 25 groups testing their science general knowledge and loving it,” she said. The winners were Samuel Thompson, Laurence Vanderhor and Joseph Brough.

This year, the department also held three competitions for Years 7 to 9 boys. Based on the theme, boys were invited to design a poster (Year 7), take a photo (Year 8) or make a video (Year 9). The winners were Year 7 students Tristan Porter (winner) and Hugh Moran (runner up); Year 8 students Oscar Hall (winner) and Ander Schrauth (runner up); and Year 9 students Felix King, Akinwale Ayonrinde and Kazuki Miyagawa.

On Tuesday, three ChemCentre scientists involved boys in some ‘real-life’ chemistry and the role of the ChemCentre in forensic chemistry, emergency response and environmental monitoring. Head of Chemistry Don Marshall said the chemists demonstrated a number of techniques used in the field for crisis and emergency response situations and explained their role in responding to traffic accidents, chemical spills, illegal laboratories, explosives and other incidents involving dangerous chemicals.

Demonstrations included the identification of substances by odour, sampling of noxious gases for laboratory analysis and chemical testing in a portable glove box. “The chemists’ experiences and stories highlighted the importance and relevance of science in everyday life,” Mr Marshall said.

On Thursday, Scitech presented Beyond the Beaker, an interactive presentation to demonstrate the value of skills gained from studying science, technology and engineering. Head of Biology Megan Pentony said some of the skills included problem solving, logical and critical thinking. “The presentation had many boys on their feet, actively participating in thinking skills and trying to out-compete one another using their logic,” she said.

The presentation also highlighted the creation of new jobs and how different science-based university courses are being used in the real world. “Many of the boys were fascinated by the glow in the dark bacteria and the world of nanotechnology,” Mrs Pentony said.

On both Tuesday and Thursday, IntoScience and CSIRO launched ‘Australia’s Biggest Excursion’. All boys from Years 7 to 9 had the opportunity to visit the Jenolan Caves by visiting the FutureSphere.

“Through high quality simulations, HD videos, images, experiments and animations, they have created a dynamic and engaging way to learn and review different topics in Science,” Mrs Pentony said.

In the FutureSphere or at home, students were able to log on, create their own avatar and then explore different biomes, collecting inquiry points as they went. “During Science Week many science teachers took their class to the FutureSphere to complete the various activities and while Science Week has finished, the boys still have access for another two weeks,” she said.