Scientists in Schools

Mother and son make science fun

  • Lesley Pratchett, Pindi Pindi State School, Queensland
  • Morgan Pratchett, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

Morgan Pratchett was one of the first scientists to register for the Scientists in Schools program. He had already been working with Pindi Pindi State School where his mother, Lesley, is the principal, and saw Scientists in Schools as a way to formalise the relationship.

Morgan collaborated with students via email while they completed projects on the biology and conservation of coral reef animals. The students were able to present their findings when Morgan visited for the school’s Coral Reef Open Day which he had organised with Lesley.

Morgan pointing to fish in a tank, surrounded by students

On the day Morgan and Lesley also set up several hands-on activities aimed at students from each year level. These activities, which were based on the feeding habits of fish, are a part of a practical unit developed for ‘Working Scientifically’ which teaches students the critical steps in scientific process.

Students developed hypotheses and tested these through the examination of the lifecycle of reef fishes, food chains on coral reefs and demonstrations of fish dissections. Students were able to examine the difference in herbivores, omnivores and carnivores through the dissections and examination of the guts.

Students and parents were also treated to an extensive display of living reef organisms, which are maintained by Morgan’s organisation for public outreach exercises and primary school programs.

The interaction with Morgan has inspired many of the students to consider a future career in science. This led to plans for a careers day where Morgan will speak to the students about science careers and career paths.