Scientists in Schools

Going for gold

  • Sue Young, Serpell Primary School, Templestowe, Victoria
  • Noel Schleiger, Retired Geologist, Melbourne

Sue Young and Noel Schleiger, a retired Melbourne geologist, met for the first time at a SiS gathering at LaTrobe University. From there they started the project "Going on a journey with a geologist' with 20 Year 5 and 6 students every Friday morning for five weeks looking at the local geology of the area. Starting with the geology they could see in their school ground, Noel discussed the layers of the soil and the original formation of Australia.

Students study geological time scale

Using Noel's GPS to work out the latitude and longitude reading of the rocks

In the photo above, Noel is teaching the children about the geological time scale using a roll of toilet paper, each sheet representing 10 million years.

Students were encouraged to make models using the soil samples taken from the school ground, record this information in diagrams and make maps of the local area using Noel's GPS to work out the latitude and longitude reading of the rocks.

Next, the children ventured into the local area with Noel as their guide. At Ruffy Lake Park they were amazed at the root pattern of the pine tree finding its way through the faults in the Silurian Sandstone.

On a field trip to Whipstick Gully in Warrandyte, the children collected samples of granite (but unfortunately no gold). Each child now has their own fabulous rock collection.

At the end of the year, Sue held a celebration evening to enable the children to share their experiences in the Geology program with Noel. Forty students prepared PowerPoint presentations or made up photo stories to share with their families, Noel and Sue. Noel continues to be a respected member of the school community and a valuable mentor for Sue.

Students on a field trip to Whipstick Gully in Warrandyte