Tons of science experiments for budding scientists at Giant Science

18 April 2013

In spite of the stormy weather, more than 360 students from Compass partner schools joined the Giant Science event on the 4th and 5th April to experience science at the University of Sydney. The future generations of young scientists from Yagoona PS, Bexley PS, Fairfield PS, Villawood East PS, Marrickville West PS and Wattawa Heights PS attended the biennial event hosted by the Faculty of Science. Students had the opportunity to visit university laboratories, meet university academics and see what happens on campus.

The day was filled with interactive workshops and hands-on activities across a diverse range of science disciplines. The Faculty demonstrators had an exciting assortment of ingredients and equipment that students don't always get to see in their own classrooms. "The chemistry session was amazing... the kids loved it!" The range of activities included making slime, sherbet and liquid nitrogen ice cream, using science to study the past at the Nicholson Museum, examining mini monsters living in the university grounds, looking at pattern constructions and exploring the wonders of the plant world in interactive experiments. Students and teachers enjoyed the day and brought back plenty of knowledge and experiences to discuss in the classroom.

That's not the end of it - all the primary schools attending Giant Science also took part in a post-visit lesson provided by Compass volunteers at their school. During the lesson, students were given the opportunity to reflect positively on their science experience and make links to higher education. Volunteers Anna, Dan, Hannah, Natasha, Priscilla, Stephanie and Zoe delivered the one-hour lesson covering topics including the movement in plants and exploring different science disciplines at university.

The post-lesson was delivered as part of Compass' 3-Phase Program, an enriched learning program that started in 2011. The core of the program is an excursion for students to visit a University of Sydney museum or event, and their experiences during this visit are consolidated during a teacher-led pre-lesson and the volunteer-led post-lesson. There is a particular emphasis throughout the program on drawing connections to higher education, of which the visit is a crucial part. As one teacher noted, "visiting the university is key for our students in identifying with... university for the future."

Thanks to all the schools for welcoming our volunteers so warmly, and thanks to our Compass volunteers for doing a great job on the day.