Scientists in Schools

Guided by experience

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  • Paul Johnson, Galilee Catholic School, Aldinga, SA
  • Elizabeth Heij, CSIRO Fellow

Living a passion for sustainability, in her retirement Elizabeth shares her knowledge with the Galilee Catholic School community and passes on the opportunity for students to be 'turned on' by science.

Partnering with Elizabeth was a logical fit for Galilee Catholic School, given their principles of caring about self, each other and the environment. Elizabeth has shared expertise and experience through class lessons together with contributing to the school's sustainability policy.
During this four year partnership, Elizabeth has worked across all year levels in the primary school. She highlights the science in class topics, emphasising observation, testing, measurement and recording skills. Students enjoy seeing links between class topics and the practical applications of their learning.
Elizabeth with students

"Our learners have benefitted greatly from Elizabeth's knowledge and from knowing scientists are real people who are interested in things that interest us," Paul explained.

Many topics covered have highlighted the interconnectedness of the environment through various cycles in nature. As explained by student Gabriel, "It was a little bit weird how everything is connected to other things, that there is always a trace of something else and it leads to something else."

Students breeding mythical creatures

Elizabeth's favourite activity, involving a game to breed families of rare mythical animals, introduced the concepts behind zoo rare animal breeding programs. Now students have a link between the fun experience of visiting a zoo and its important role in conservation of species.

Through her passion and expertise, Elizabeth has provided valuable input to the school's sustainability policy and projects. Paul has appreciated her contribution and guidance in developing an eco-literacy program.


So what does Elizabeth hope to achieve through this partnership? "I hope I am showing science is an important way of looking at things, which can be done by ordinary people, and it also provides lots of fun.It has been one of the highlights of my career in science."