Scientists in Schools

Changing the world

  • Nola Smith, Esperance Primary School, Western Australia
  • Brian Dawson, Australian Agency for International Development

Nola’s ten year 6-7 students are tackling a giant issue – they are educating their community on the south-east coast of Western Australia about climate change.

The gifted and talented students chose to be part of the ‘Esperance Energisers’, a year-long course established by Nola as a way to engage students completely in an exciting and relevant area of science.

Students from Esperance Primary School with materials

At their first session they received a visit from Brian, who was an adviser to the United Nations on climate change and was working at the Australian Greenhouse Office in Canberra at the time. Brian is the brother of another teacher at Esperance Primary School and happened to be in town for a holiday, so the timing was perfect.

Brian ran a question-and-answer session with the students, during which they asked in-depth questions and Brian provided information and tips for further research. The session impressed Brian so much that he agreed to become a long-distance adviser to the project. He and Nola were partnered through Scientists in Schools to formalise their collaboration.

Following the initial session, the students came to the conclusion that it would be most important to educate their community about climate change issues and the actions that can be taken to reduce its impacts.

They have since produced a wide variety of educational and informative materials targeted at different audiences, as well as completing an energy audit for the school and applying for a grant for solar panels for the school library.

Brian has provided feedback and support via email throughout all stages of the process and has been astounded and inspired by the students’ enthusiasm.

Keep an eye on these Energisers – they are ready to take on the world!

DVD produced by the Esperance Energisers