Dubbed by the Science Department as “The August Offensive”, Science Week is the almost month long celebration of all things Science. This year, that offensive included a panel discussion, PCG (form class) quiz, Lego Masters during lunch and recess, the annual Warwick SHS Science Fair, culminating with the Busselton Pedal Prix and Perth Science Festival.

Panel of Professionals

Science Week kicked off with a panel discussion between the Academic Extension students and a collection of STEM professionals; Dr Kari Pitts (Forensic scientist from the ChemCentre), Dr Adela Kawka (Astronomer with the Centre for Astronomy Research) and Priya Harmer (a BHP engineer).

The panellists were asked about their careers and the attributes needed to succeed in a STEM based field. Everything from school choices to driving trucks to the stars in Chile was discussed, with the suicide pigs standing out as the highlight. The suicide pigs were part of a study by the ChemCentre into the consequences of explosions, where pigs were dressed and then blown up to see the effect of bombs.

Science HOLA Mr Graham Johnson commented that “The panel is a great way to introduce the students to some role models which helps to break down the stereotype that females aren’t involved in STEM careers”.

All activities were well patronised with Year 8 students Thomas Matzkov and Koby Giles being crowned the Lego Masters Champions of Warwick.

Dr Kari Pitts, Dr Adela Kawka, and Priya Harmer talk to Warwick students.

Enjoyment – the key to Science success

Judging by the sound of laughter and smiles, the Science Fair at Warwick was a huge success. Nearly 250 students descended on the school gym to learn and enjoy all things Science in this annual event.

Students raced cars, made robots fight, solved puzzles, investigated liquid nitrogen and dived into the non-Newtonian fluid; ooblek, which reacts differently when different pressures are applied to it.

Science HOLA Graham Johnson stated, “This is one of the truly memorable events at the school each year. It’s wonderful to see the excitement of the students as they investigate and learn about Science. It’s also a chance to expose primary school students to different Science than what they may experience in their classrooms. We want to excite them about the Science opportunities in high school, so it will be a subject they want to explore when they get here”.

Pedal to the metal results in success

It was pedal to the metal and no fooling around as the Warwick SHS Pedal Prix Racing Team took to the foreshore of Busselton, for the 2019 six hour endurance race.

Sitting only inches off the ground and racing at speeds of up to 60 kilometres per hour, it was a fierce battle between the 19 schools at the event. Warwick finished the day in 37th and 39th positions after a series of crashes in the hard fought race.

According to Warwick SHS teacher Jeremy Caspersz, the sport even has many hidden educational benefits for the students. “Pedal Prix has really been integrated into our curriculum,” he said. “It’s also integrated into our school in terms of an extracurricular program and it offers elements of teamwork, leadership and STEAM related learning.”

Team Captain Bronte Scaife (Year 8), who has been racing for two years, said her passion for the sport continued to grow — just like her competitive edge. “You’ve just got to go full throttle and race as hard you can” she said.

The Pedal Prix team has grown in size with a new addition to the team, a carbon fibre shelled trike named Yokayi, the Noongar term for “shout of victory”. Yokayi will debut in 2020.

Science on display at annual Perth Science Festival

It was all hands on deck as Science enthusiasts came in their thousands to experience what makes Warwick SHS Australia’s best STEAM school at the annual Perth Science Festival.

Eager youngsters had the chance to race Bee-Bots, construct tall towers made of pipe cleaners, view the hidden world of microscopic animals, investigate lightning with the plasma ball and to attempt to navigate the ‘future’ with the buzzwire activity.

“This is a great opportunity to showcase the many great things that we conduct at our school and also explaining the science behind what’s going on” said Science HOLA Graham Johnson.

Once again Warwick was the only school to feature at this major Science event.

Students see value in the old ways

Sometimes it’s difficult to get students to see the value in doing things the old way, but that is not a problem for the Year 8 students who are involved in ECU’s Old Ways New Ways program.

Students investigated the ancient techniques of indigenous tool makers by using water, Balga tree sap, kangaroo poo and charcoal as the glue that cements their tools together. They also fashioned knives and cutters using the recipe handed down for 60 000 years, and learning the skills required to produce quality tools.

As a part of the school’s Indigenous Perspective program, Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer, Jade Muli, (a finalist in the Premier’s Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer of the Year category), said that “Getting the students to understand how their culture has impacted upon our modern way of life, encourages them to seek out further information and use this going forward in their education”.

Graham Johnson
HOLA | Science