Scientists in Schools

Rollin' with Rowland in Rollands

  • Leanne Parker, Rolland Plains Upper Public School, NSW
  • Rob Rowland, CSIRO Energy Technology

Matching a small, country school with a scientist was one of the biggest challenges for the Scientists in Schools team, but when Rob Rowland heard about this (almost) namesake school, he was ready to go - despite the four hours travelling time.

At their first meeting in Newcastle, Leanne and Rob tossed around a few ideas how Rob’s expertise in energy technology could be used to engage the twenty Kindergarten to Year 6 students in science. Thoughts such as making the existing poultry farm more energy efficient were explored, but it wasn’t until Rob went to the school for the second meeting that they came up with a way to every child’s heart – making their own billy cart!

Starting with a small solar powered model, the students are going on to build a larger, human-sized one. They will explore the different types of energy which can be used to power it and incorporate an evaluation of the environmental impact of each energy type and also, how design affects energy use.

The school is going to ‘launch’ their completed design at a science day at the school so the whole community can celebrate the students’ achievement. Then onto the next project!!