Scientists in Schools

More than a bunch of facts

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  • Julie Moore, Goulburn Street Primary School, Hobart, Tasmania
  • Roger Latham, Menzies Research Institute

When Roger visits Goulburn Street Primary, Julie and her students know they're in for an exciting time. Not only are they having fun – they're learning how to do real science.

Whether making butter, balloon-powered cars or concrete, investigating Newton's laws or analysing a crime scene, they're learning how to conduct scientific investigations. They change variables, make predictions, test ideas and designs, measure outcomes, record results, formulate conclusions and present and discuss the results.

Bottle rocket launch
Launch time

As Roger describes it, “The kids now see science is a process not just a bunch of facts. They have actually found out new information and done investigations using the scientific process. Their curiosity has been valued and encouraged. They now have some tools by which they can do their own investigations and find out new cool stuff.”

Julie discusses with Roger the science content she has planned for each upcoming term and indicates the focus curriculum areas.  They share ideas and Roger plans his activities so they follow naturally supporting what else Julie is covering in the classroom. 

“Roger breaks everything down so simply – I am learning along with the children”, says Julie. “I now have a group of children who are so excited, they are buzzing!”

Julie’s not the only one learning in this partnership. Roger now believes “teaching science in primary school is probably the most important place to be teaching the processes of science”.  And he’s gained an enormous respect for teachers, “It is the toughest job. “

As for the students, they’re learning about science (“He makes it fun and explains everything clearly so we understand!”) and about scientists (“I thought scientists didn't do anything much. Now I think they must work very hard!”). So much so that, as one student put it, “We might become famous scientists now because we are doing science all the time!

Science is so exciting!