Game changers and change makers

​Science Week is Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology, held every August since 1997. More than a millio​n people participate in events across the country, some of w​hich are run by schools.

Two of those schools are Tempy Primary located in the Mallee, and Emmanuel College in Warrnambool. Both have incorporated this year’s Science Week theme, ‘Game Changers and Change Makers’, into their programs.

Tempy Primary is investigating Mars with the CSIRO’s Dr Jurg Schutz . Students will examine how human ingenuity has overcome challenges in space exploration. They will use virtual reality, design software and 3D printing to develop something that they think would be of value to humans inhabiting Mars.

Cheryl Torpey from Tempy Primary said they invite neighbouring small schools to join in. 

‘On Day One, our staff and students are skilled up by Dr Schutz so that we can be mentors and buddies to support the other small school’s students and staff, who join us on Day Two,’ she said.

‘This allows our students to consolidate, repeat and teach someone else.’

From studying energy basics, to looking at hydraulics, examining solar cells and observing the trajectory of balloon rockets, students will learn what it takes to explore a new frontier.

In the lead-up to Science Week, students have been studying the latest images from Mars, discussing evidence of water on the Red Planet, and the implications that can be drawn from that.

At Emmanuel College, students are researching solutions for a problem much closer to home – how to increase heat retention at their school. 

When the Science Week theme was announced for 2018, students discussed what the school could do on the theme of ‘Game Changers and Change Makers’.

Emmanuel’s Science Coordinator Simone Rolfe said ‘A lot of ideas were generated. I also talked to them about a thermal camera and how could it be used. After discussion, the concept of “Find the Emmanuel Heat Thief” developed.’

‘We wanted the whole school to be involved, rather than just a specific class. Finding sources of heat loss, and solving these problems is a ‘Change Maker’ task,’ she said.

The thermal camera was demonstrated at the Year 9 subject selection day last week, which highlighted the camera’s capabilities. Many Emmanuel students have worked with sustainable housing kits, and have an awareness of how heat is lost from buildings. Students will submit their suggestions for prime spots where heat is escaping from the campus and their theories will be tested using the thermal camera. They will then be able to develop and submit solutions as part of a competition, with 25 finalists attending a presentation lunch where the winner will be announced.​

Science Week runs from August 11 to 19 and is supported by the Australian Government. Other partners include the CSIRO, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Australian Science Teachers Association.

​Supporting FISO priorities: Creating a positive climate for learning

Events such as science week, promote inclusion across the school community by creating a unifying opportunity for staff and students to explore their shared interest in STEM. For more information about this FISO priority, see Positive climate for learning​​.