Scientists in Schools

Meeting of (marine) minds

  • Rob McCammon, The Hutchins School, Tasmania
  • Mark Hemer, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research

Classroom teacher Rob is passionate about every aspect of the sea, to the point where his motto might be ‘have surfboard, will travel’. So he was delighted to be partnered with Mark, a marine scientist, in the Scientists in Schools program.

Rob’s main concern was to engage his Year 8 class in this all boys’ school and Mark is happy to be directed by Rob’s teaching requirements and contribute wherever possible. Mark visited the school to start off the class’ unit on climate change, sea levels and coastal erosion with a presentation followed by a field excursion to look at coast processes on local beaches.

The class continued on the topic, conducting laboratory experiments, making plasticine models of the coastlines and ultimately preparing their own presentations for Mark to view and give feedback on.

The partners now intend to build on this experience to include Mark in wider aspects of science at the school, such as lending his expertise in scientific presentations and field study techniques to Rob and other teachers. Both are keen for the students to visit Mark’s workplace to see how ‘real’ scientists work but Rob has also been motivated to try his hand at fieldwork with a colleague of Mark’s and is keen to do some more!