Wonder of Science - Outreach in Queensland / by Catherine Kim

It has been a very science outreach filled month!

Two weeks ago I went to Brightwater state school to make slime with 5th graders with fellow Young Science Ambassador Seun.  The Wonder of Science is a STEM outreach program at the University of Queensland that partners research students and early career scientists to schools to tackle inquiry based science projects. 

I talked matter - solid, liquids, and gases - with three 5th year classes and taught them the word viscosity.  The activity of the day was to make Oobleck which is a fun, messy, mysterious activity.

Fellow Young Science Ambassador Seun.

Ooobleck! A non-Newtonian liquid.

The following Monday, I visited Pomona junior secondary near Noosa to begin their unit investigating: How can the Noosa River maintain its A- rating?  I was impressed at the cross-disciplinary unit the teachers have put together and I also got to talk to the class about my PhD research.  They asked a lot of good questions.  I also learned that a lot of these school are not heated!  It's the middle of 'winter.'  Australia can get away with not heating buildings (aka nobody will freeze to death) so they don't heat or cool for that matter.#straya

Playing teacher for the dat with a 7th year class at Pomona junior secondary.

Lastly, today I joined the Logan regional conference as one of many YSAs to judge student presentations from multiple schools in the region.  I am always impressed by the quality of the presentations!  These events are actually quite like real scientific conferences and it's great to see these kids being involved with the scientific process.  Looking back at my education, I realize I could have used more of this sort of inquiry based learning.  Memorizing facts is easier, but the real world can be complicated and teaching kids to think through problems is worth the effort.

Year 9 presentation on tectonics with a cool magnetic demonstration board.  The colored plates on there move!

Demo-ing the loop the loop for a roller coaster model.