Scientists in Schools

You're a girl AND a scientist?

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  • Shena Jarvis, Runcorn State School, Sunnybank South, QLD
  • Kyra Woods, Griffith University

From her first day with students at Runcorn State School, Kyra has set about breaking the stereotypical image of a scientist while sharing her passion for science through fun hands-on science activities.

Prior to her first school visit, students drew what they thought a scientist looked like – the images were often male, with crazy white hair and wearing a lab coat! After Kyra's arrival, they quickly learnt scientists could be female, didn't have to wear a lab coat, and sometimes even had science themed tattoos!


Predicting colour changes
Feeling brainy

By harnessing areas naturally appealing to students through simple experiments, Kyra is promoting science and generating excitement. Knowing children are fascinated with internal organs of the body particularly the brain, she decided to bring them face-to-face with real brains!  Sheep brains were brought in with students encouraged to touch and feel them. Following the interactive session, they discussed parts of the brain and their functions.


Shena reflects on the excitement of her students after their science lessons. “I have seen the excitement burst through the doors as students leave the science lab after working with Kyra. They chatter about what they have been up to, telling anyone who will listen”.

Shena and Kyra are having a long term impact on the students. When asked what they would like to do in the future, the Year 7 students who indicated science as a future career option for them were even able to identify particular fields of science including chemistry, quantum physics, nuclear physics and medicine.

Investigating pond water

Kyra’s knowledge and enthusiasm has helped to strengthen the confidence of Shena and her colleagues in delivering the new Australian curriculum. Shena describes, “Kyra supports me in helping to dynamically deliver the science curriculum in our school, sharing her knowledge and ideas. Another benefit is through our partnership other teachers have gained confidence and are teaching science enthusiastically to their students.”