Scientists in Schools

Nothing artificial

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  • Irene Meredith, Phillippa Adgemis, Manchester Primary School, Mooroolbark, Vic
  • Clint Heinze, Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO)

Developing a curriculum across an entire primary school is an impressive achievement. The partnership between Clint, Irene and Phillippa has done just this. With something for everyone - a local pond rehydration project, bike helmet safety research, artificial intelligence studies and an enjoyable parents' scientific evening - Clint's involvement has been enthusiastically welcomed by the whole school community.

"In primary schools where science specialists are a rarity, our scientist is teaching and stimulating the scientific curiosity of the entire community," said Phillippa.

Students with robot model

Curious about science

Students from Prep–Year 6 have been fascinated with their investigations into robotics, easily making them the favourite lessons. They have been so successful that Clint co-wrote a paper with teachers to present at the First Symposium on Educational Advances in Artificial Intelligence held in Atlanta, United States of America.
As a result of the strong community spirit, Clint and the school team are working with the Shire of Yarra Ranges to assess the feasibility of the long term rehydration of the ponds in the adjacent Wandana Reserve. They propose using surplus water from the school to re-establish the pond ecosystem.
Clint explains his enthusiasm. "If more and more children answer 'a scientist' when they are asked what they want to be when they grow up, we will change the world." And change the world in their own way this keen school community is certainly doing.

Clint with keen students

Robotic fun Clint with students and their robot