The need for high quality science education for our young people and the public in general is becoming more and more urgent. We see the effects of climate change accelerating around the world, we see species in decline all over the planet, and our very own Great Barrier Reef being considered by many to be endangered. The outbreak of a pandemic for the first time in 1918 years has impressed upon billions of people, many for the first time, the fundamental need for decision making to take scientific knowledge into account, to consider the data, to value the data and examine how it is collected. The importance of science has never been more obvious.
This will be the 21st year that the Elizabeth College has held activities that will engage the local public, high school students and the primary school students of the Southern Tasmania area in the wonder of science. 2021 is the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables and the 2021 National Science Week theme is “Food: Different by Design”.
The program for National Science Week 2021:
21st Annual National Science Week Elizabeth College School Workshops
These workshops engage primary school students, high school students and their parents in science, through exciting and interesting practical experiences. Students come to the college and participate in experiments in science and technology, with college students to guide them. Activities range from making jewelry from igneous rocks and learning about the rock cycle in the process, to testing for nutrients in different foods to making brass – an alloy of copper and zinc, and all sort of things in between. It’s about turning students on to Science early in their education and throughout their learning journey, facilitating their exploration of new, exciting and innovative approaches to scientific investigation. It also helps them to consider the relevance of Science to their future – not just in terms of their own career pathways, but more broadly, in terms of sustainability, the economy, society in general.
This is the second year that all of the year 9 students of New Town High School and Ogilvie High School will join in with practical sessions with students from Elizabeth College. Year 9 students from Cosgrove High School will join in this year too. The Year 9 students will experience what college level is science is like, participating in experiments that genuinely form part of the normal college science schedule.
In total, approximately 1000 students will visit the College during this week of experimentation.
Women’s Voices in Science Q&A Panel discussion
With the notable exception of commentary related to COVID19, the voices we generally hear talking about science and technology are men’s. This is the first time that the College has had a Women’s Voices in Science discussion forum. Six female voices from different disciplines will converse about current issues in science, and will be available to answer students’ questions in a Q&A-style format. The audience will consist of students not only from Elizabeth College but also the surrounding high schools and colleges and we hope that it encourages everyone to have their voice heard.
Elizabeth College Environmental Sciences Students research symposium
Current Year 11 and 12 students studying Environmental Science are required as part of their course to conduct an extensive independent research project, teaching them invaluable investigative skills and processes. Each year students enter their projects in the University of Tasmania Science Investigation Awards and the Tasmanian Science Talent Search. Previous winners from the College have included Madeline Spencer, Sophie Woods and Marlee Wells. Our students also present their research during Science Week at this research symposium. Two local scientists also present aspects of their research at the symposium, which will be attended by science students from the College and surrounding schools.
Tertiary pathways workshop for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
This year for the first time the College has invited Years 9 and 10 indigenous students from the southern region to a workshop exploring issues around the challenges involved with accessing higher education, not just in science but any tertiary pathway. Students will discuss their own experiences in small groups, the challenges faced by indigenous students, and will be supported by staff from the University of Tasmania’s indigenous access team to help explore the ways in which these challenges can be overcome.
Festival of Bright Ideas (FOBI)
Hobart loves the Festival of Bright Ideas, and this year Elizabeth College will join the Festival as a presenter. Approximately 5000 students and participants will have the opportunity to visit the College’s stall during the festival to participate in fun, hands-on activities to stimulate and excite young minds.
In addition to the academic and experimental side of Science Week at the College, there are also plenty of fun activities planned. These include a whizz-bang chemistry show presented by the University of Tasmania, a Periodic Table made of cupcakes to celebrate the start of Science Week at the College, an online ‘trivial pursuit’ style quiz for the whole college during Home Group, excursions for science classes to the Festival of Bright Ideas, and in keeping with the Science Week theme of food – different by design, a home brewing competition for staff.
Happy Science Week!