Students discover the Wonders of Science

Rockhampton State High School teacher Jessica Scanlan and students Aleeyah Sneddon, Jasmine Baulch, Emily Schibrowski and Mia Lagaluga attended the regional Wonder of Science conference.

Rockhampton State High School students recently competed at the regional Wonder of Science conference held at CQUniversity’s Gladstone campus.

This was the largest Wonder of Science conference held in Central Queensland this year, with a second conference in Emerald.

As part of the program, students were set a challenge task and needed to conduct a scientific investigation with the support of Young Science Ambassadors who visited each participating school twice in Term 3.

The ambassadors are PhD students from Queensland universities who act as role models, help students with their investigations and judge their presentations at regional and state conferences.

Rockhampton State High School head of science Stephen Ladley said more than 100 students in 28 teams, from Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg and Biloela primary and secondary schools, had the opportunity to showcase their investigations.

“The tasks immersed students in an authentic and collaborative inquiry and helped them develop critical and creative thinking skills as they were challenged to develop a group response to a real-world problem or scenario,” he said.

Year 7 students investigated how organisms in the animal kingdom are identified and classified using a dichotomous key.

They then needed to create their own organism and design a dichotomous key to successfully identify it.

The Year 8s investigated the environmental conditions and biological processes required for aquatic organisms to survive underwater and the impact that changes in the ocean’s chemistry may have on their survival.

Year 9s investigated how energy is transferred in a range of chemical reactions and then built calorimeters to measure how much heat is produced.

“I was impressed with the effort of all the students who participated in the program, but especially the students who presented at the conference,” Mr. Ladley said.

“They have been genuinely engaged throughout the program. I’m quite proud that we had teams who came first, second or third in each year level that we competed in.”

RSHS Year 7s Jasmine Baulch, Mia Lagaluga, Emily Schibrowski and Aleeyah Sneddon were conference winners.

Year 8s Marnie Balmain, Nicola Dobbs and Taylah Ryan came in third place for their year.

Year 9s Edward Grice, Keeley Neven, Logan Jorgensen came in second place for their year.

“The Wonder of Science program is a fantastic way to help teachers promote a STEM culture in their school while supporting the implementation of the Australian Curriculum at the same time,” Mr. Ladley said.

“We’ve participated in the program for the last two years and have found the opportunity for students to meet and work with early career scientists to be invaluable.

“Students respond positively to these role models and are amazed to discover the numerous opportunities for a career in science.”

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