Scientists in Schools

Welcome to my universe

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  • Ona Siakimotu, Telopea Park School, Barton, ACT
  • Brad Tucker, Mt Stromlo Observatory, Australian National University

At first, astrophysicist Brad wondered how he could help Ona and her students. After all he couldn't bring the universe into their classroom. Ona's solution? To enlist Brad as a mentor for Year 9 students undertaking CSIRO Education's CREST awards.

Through Brad's help, students benefit from his extensive experience using the scientific process. Initially, the challenge was to guide students to develop creative, feasible projects. Once they got the hang of it, Brad was impressed.

"I've learned to appreciate the creativity of students and find ways to harness that and bring it to fruition," reflected Brad, whose own creativity got a workout assisting students create simple resources to perform their projects.

Practising titration
Science is more relevant through investigations

While developing and running their experiments was fun, Brad helped students realise the importance of using their final reports to explain their investigation. As Brad explained, "The onus is on the scientist to communicate their science. So, if your little sister can understand your paper then you have communicated well.

"By having a practicing scientist in her classroom, Ona finds Brad helps reinforce the importance of general science skills along with providing a wider network of contacts the students can draw on. Through these interactions, students have the opportunity to see a broad range of scientists as real people who enjoy their work.

While it has a focus on conducting investigations, this partnership is not only developing future scientists. Brad and Ona are developing people in society who understand the importance of science and its impact on their future.