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Science Week: Mad Scientists Unite

We may have been on lockdown during Science Week, but thanks to our Science Department, we didn’t have to put our pursuit of knowledge on hold, with lots of fun, daily challenges and even a Mad Scientist Dress Up Day.

Last week, Wenona celebrated National Science Week, with our Science Department organising lots of great challenges around this year’s theme: Food - Different by Design. The aim of Science Week is to promote and encourage interest in science, engineering, mathematics, technology and innovation; and communicate the relevance of them in everyday life. For our Science Teachers, it was also about encouraging students to get hands-on at home, having lots of fun by doing experiments, which helped them to further their knowledge and understanding about the world around them.

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Every day, the Science Department posted a different challenge on Canvas. They included home-made volcanoes, teabag rockets and balloon kebabs. It was a great way for students to explore chemical reactions, the effect of temperature changes and the elasticity of different materials, all while using everyday household foodstuffs and objects. Students took time-lapse videos and photos of their experiments, which they uploaded to Canvas to share with their peers.

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There was even a challenge to create the best food-related memes, as well as another to be a black-breasted buzzard and try to open an egg without using arms!

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Undoubtedly, the highlight of the week – including for our staff – was Mad Scientist Day on Friday, when everyone channelled their inner Einstein, Marie Curie, Isaac Newton by dressing up in their best eccentric outfit!

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This was followed by a hotly contested Science Trivia Challenge at lunchtime, with results to be announced at Assembly next week.

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Along with all the internal competitions, our Science Department circulated a list of in-person events, virtual tours, webcasts, talks, DIY experiments, quizzes, and science competitions that our students could also enter. There were also virtual visits to Taronga Zoo, where the Zoo Education Team had coordinated a series of daily activities such as finding out what it takes to feed the zoo from Taronga’s very own nutritionist. Or taking a virtual flight to the beautiful forests of Way Kambas National Park in Sumatra to see the magnificent Sumatran Tiger and exploring the village there to discover how we can help to save the tiger from extinction by choosing certified sustainable palm oil.

Ms Plummer’s Year 5 students loved the challenges. They said:

“A highlight for me was being a mad scientist on Friday, it made me feel like I was with all of my friends on campus at School.”

“Dressing up on Friday made me feel excited and creative.”

“The experiments added out of the ordinary experiences throughout the day.”

“I loved the teabag rocket – I had never seen a non-living object fly before. It was so exciting and funny when it flew up.”

“I enjoyed being able to share the experiments with my family while being at home.”

Our Year 10 students said, “While we didn’t have any in-person experiences as a group, we had loads of fun watching science videos and completing some of the fun experiments from the Portal page. We loved the trivia, and even though this year was different to previous years, it was so much fun and a huge success.”

And from one of the Chicken Nuggets team, “Science Week was a fun learning experience for me! I participated in the daily challenges with my team (Sophie W, Sophie H, Megan V and me), and we video called to do the experiments together. I also participated in a Girl’s STEM challenge and baked hybrid cookie/cake and cookie/bread sweat treats following merged recipes that were generated using ML (machine learning). It was a great way to improve my cooking skills and learn more about ever evolving technology. On Friday, my team competed in the brain break quiz, which required plenty of team collaboration by putting our knowledge of different areas of science together. Overall, the activities were a great way to connect with others during lockdown and benefit from the many opportunities available to us!”

Science Week at Wenona is an engaging way of helping our students to develop their scientific skills and understanding, while having lots of fun along the way. A huge thank you to our Science Department for all their hard work behind the scenes, to our parents, who helped to supervise at home, and to our students, whose natural curiosity drove their pursuit of knowledge!

The overall winners will be announced at Assembly next Tuesday. Stay tuned!