Activities for students and teachers
Our Faculty is passionate about educating the next generation. To assist teachers we offer interactive workshops or careers talks to high school students both on and off campus. These are related to general and agricultural science and economics including plant biology, environmental science and resource economics.
The Faculty can arrange a staff member to visit your school, or for the University experience, schools can visit us on campus. Workshops and talks are tailored to the syllabus and your specific needs, and are specifically designed for the high school audience.
Agriculture is much more than fields and tractors! The Faculty of Agriculture and Environment is involved in a range of fascinating topics spanning science and economic disciplines. Students have the opportunity to expand their understanding of today’s big environmental issues such as carbon and water management, food security and use of the world’s natural resources.
The faculty provides a range of fun hands-on workshops and talks related to general science, environmental science and agricultural science including plant biology, entomology, and soil science and food chemistry. For those interested in business and economics, the faculty offers activities exploring agricultural and resource economics. Workshops can be tailored for primary or high school students.
Additional opportunities include a laboratory tour and introduction to our research.
Is Economics All About Money?
Economists study the allocation of scarce resources. Whilst economists do study how people choose to earn and spend their money, they also study how people interact with each other in managing scarce resources and the environment. Money is important but so too are trust, fairness, and cooperative behaviour. This activity uses interactive games to explore economic behaviour in markets and environmental dilemmas.
Food and Money
How much would you pay for a chocolate bar? Is an orange worth more than an apple? Why is bread so cheap? The answers to these questions and many more, can be found out through the economics of food. Commonly known as agricultural economics, this is the way in which people make, buy and sell food around the world and ultimately determines what price you pay in the supermarket. In this workshop you will take control and compete against your classmates to get the best deals on a range of commodities like fruit and chocolate. Be market savvy, develop some unique strategies and supplement your lunch with what you win!
Find out why plants are the true powerhouses of the world. Students explore the diversity of plants and learn about the recent advances in plant biotechnology. You will have the opportunity to perform hands-on experiments including DNA extraction and CO2 measurement.
The Chocolate Workshop
We all love chocolate, but do we really know where it comes from? This delicious food science workshop takes students on a sensory exploration of cocoa! Depending on the audience, the workshop can be adjusted to include elements of economics, social sciences and environmental science.
Catch the Robber!
Trace the steps of a thief using forensic techniques. This exciting, interactive workshop will show students how to make their own pH test kit and then use it to identify the culprit and solve the crime!
Duration: All workshops are 45 minutes
Minimum: 10 students
Maximum: 30 students
Cost:$8.80/student (incl. GST)
For all Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental activities:
Contact: Eugenia O'Brien
Phone: (02) 8627 1005 or Email:
Senior students are filled with questions about tertiary study. What is university like? What should I do if I want a career as a ___? Is it like school?
Questions regarding study options in applied science or economics can be easily answered! Passionate and professional ex-students and science communicators are available to give short careers presentations in either formal or informal settings. There is no better way to answer student questions than by exposing them to people who have been in a similar situation.
Topics covered in careers talks include:
- Career options, including environmental consultancy, carbon trading, global commodity marketing, GIS mapping, soil science, ecology, minerals exports, global food security, futures trading, sustainable agriculture and environmental management and protection.
- The high number of (often unknown) scholarship opportunities
- ATARs, flexible course admission and the difference between university and school
- General course structure plus options to take cross-disciplinary subjects and international exchange
- How managing carbon, food and water in our natural systems will arguably determine Australia’s economic future.
Contact: Eugenia O"Brien
Phone: (02) 8627 1005
Cost: Most career talks are free, and can be either part of a subject, assembly or casual lunchtime chat.
The University of Sydney has an excellent science outreach program directly for students. This includes opportunities for science camps, free and fascinating public lectures, plus a free quarterly newsletter with the latest in research aimed at high schoolers. For more information, see Science Alliance.
The modern facilities at the university are on display several times per year, and a tailored high schoolers program is a big part of the day. Student groups are given special worksheets to guide them around, and have exclusive access to certain areas and events.
Feedback from high school teachers who brought students to the Plant Breeding Institute Open Day 2010 included, “The talks given by the University staff members were excellent and we enjoyed the meet the scientists segment too,” and “A packed program is good, it keeps the students busy! Good moving from venue to venue.”
The Faculty of Agriculture and Environment and the Plant Breeding Institute also enthusiastically exhibit at Sydney University Open Day, the Postgraduate GO Expo, and the University of Sydney Info Day. These annual University-wide events provide information on tertiary study options to prospective students. Please visit the University of Sydney homepage for more information.
The Nicholson Museum is the largest antiquities museum in Australia with a collection of objects from Egypt, the Middle East, Greece, Italy and Europe. The museum is open to the public, in addition to functioning as a teaching collection for the Department of Archaeology. The museum has a full-time conservator who works with the objects and alongside archaeology students who are studying ancient materials, technologies and manufacturing processes.
Visits to the Nicholson Museum which focus on science in archaeology and involve a tour of the conservation laboratory can be organised.
The Macleay Museum is a museum of natural history, ethnography and the history of science. Its significant collections, based on the original donation in the 1880s by William John Macleay and later additions, are important for the purposes of historic research and teaching. The Museum offers programs for school visits which focus on various syllabus topics, including science (especially biology and scientific history), history and Aboriginal studies.
Contact: Dr Craig Barker
Phone: (02) 9036 5409 (enquiries) / (02) 9351 8746 (bookings)
Cost: General Admission - free
2 hour tour (including hands-on)
$13/student (including GST)
3 hour tour (including hands-on)
$16.50/student (including GST)
We desire to support teachers as much as possible in the great work they do educating the next generation. The Faculty participates in Careers Advisors and Teachers Day in February each year to inform teachers of our courses, plus runs a Science Teachers Workshop in the second half of the year for science teacher professional development.
Contact: Eugenia O'Brien
Phone: (02) 8627 1005