Tag Archives: YouthSchool

Outreach at Concordia College

16 August 2017:

Students from Concordia College got the low-down on STEM careers—as well as learnt more about lasers, laboratories and the life of a scientist at a school outreach event organised and run by CNBP researchers from the University of Adelaide.

The event, celebrating National Science Week, saw a team of CNBP scientists and researchers visit Concordia College and present a variety of talks, DIY laboratory videos and science demonstrations, to over 150 Year 9 students with an interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

CNBP’s Dr Hannah Brown, present on the day, sees outreach as a key responsibility for the science community.

“Getting high school students interested and engaged in STEM subjects is critical—not only to inspire future generations of young scientists but also in supporting the Australian economy more generally. What we hope to do with our outreach efforts is to show that science and technology can be fun and exciting, and potentially rewarding as a future career choice as well.”

Following the event, feedback from both students and teachers present was hugely positive with the CNBP team also gaining a great deal of satisfaction from their interactions and demonstration efforts.

Below: CNBP researchers Hannah Brown, Georgios Tsiminis, Patrick Capon and Aimee Horsfall with students, at the conclusion of a successful session of science outreach at Concordia College.

The palette of the mind

12 July 2017:

Around fifty high performing Year 10 to Year 12 students from Australia and New Zealand came to RMIT on the 11th of July to listen to CNBP Chief Investigator Prof Andy Greentree present  a talk titled “Colour: the palette of the mind.”

The talk was a part of the Youth ANZAAS visit to RMIT University. Youth ANZAAS 2017 is organised by the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science and the Royal Society of New Zealand. It is is an annual residential international forum for science students still at school.

An abstract of Prof Greentree’s talk follows:

Colour is a complicated phenomenon! For most of us, most of the information we receive about the world comes from light, and that light is encoded by colour. This talk will explore colour. From the physics of light, to how we detect colour information, to the psychophysics of how our brain understands those signals to make sense of the world.

School science conference impresses

15 June 2017:

Dr Nima Sayyadi, CNBP researcher, has undertaken guest judging duties at the 2017 Sydney Girls High School Science Conference.

Each year students at Sydney Girls High School complete a research project as part of the NSW Science Curriculum. This project provides Year 9 students with an opportunity to design and perform an investigation into an area of their choice. The annual Science Conference then gives the students a forum where they can present their research to an expert panel.

The panel not only provides students with feedback relating to their investigation, but also determines the projects worthy of further recognition. The determination considers both experimental design and the ability of the student to communicate their ideas.

According to Nima, the standard of work on display was of an incredibly high standard.

“The way that the young students designed their research projects – the hypotheses and preparation and understanding of data limitations was generally quite remarkable.”

Projects being showcased included DNA extraction from fruits with limited facilities through to the analysis of the plastic waste found in water on different beaches in Sydney.

“It was a great experience for me to meet the students, teachers, and other judges from different universities at this event,” concluded Nima.

“Hopefully the passion that these students show for science continues through High School and into tertiary education and beyond.”

Outreach fun linked to science

10 June 2017:

Dr Martin Ploschner, CNBP Researcher, has taken his outreach skills to the Czech and Slovak School, Sydney where he performed several hands-on science shows for approximately 100 students, all aged 10 and under.

The show connected fun light-based activities with CNBP science and included the creation of gigantic fluorescent bubbles as well as the use of fluorescent screens that were able to be used as canvas that could be ‘painted on’ with light.

“I had a great time at the school and the activities were very well received,” says Martin.

“The younger kids had fun and the older children asked a lot of questions about the science behind the show. As an added bonus, I was invited back for further school open days as well!”

Conference outreach inspires

_mon255419 October 2016:

As a part of the SPIE Biophotonics Australasia conference, the Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics organised a half day outreach session for approximately 100 South Australian students on the 19 October, 2016.

The session, focused on inspiring the next generation of scientists, saw Yr 10 and 11 students  from Concordia College, Seaview High School and Seymour College all attend the conference and enjoy talks, poster sessions, light inspired science demonstrations and discussion time with leading researchers.

Feedback from the teachers and students, and CNBP researchers involved was hugely positive with a sample of comments from students included below –

Melisa – Seaview High School Student

“I really enjoyed the exhibition and presentation due to how professional the researchers/scientists were about their job and what they do. They explained the importance of science and the significance new modern research have on the world and society, in addition to how diverse science is and the vast range of job opportunities available in various fields of the industry. I enjoyed the practicals which were demonstrated as the visuals and results of the experiments were something I had never seen before. Furthermore, the practicals conducted made me realise how amazing and powerful science can be and how everything should be done outside the box with no limits. I’ve always enjoyed science though I was never sure if I would contribute to the industry in the future, however this excursion opened me up to new opportunities and I can potentially see myself having a career in science.

Minh – Seaview High School Student

“The excursion was really eye opening to see how advanced we are and our capabilities of how we can benefit in the medical field with new technology. The event was really fascinating and displayed a lot of visuals to help with the explanation. I learnt about how we can manipulate light properties to change and create new methods and technology to help in the medical field. This BioPhotonics excursion impacted my view on future careers and courses in the science field and how new job fields can be created.”

Stephanie – Seaview High School Student

“It was a great opportunity to delve into the various aspects of science, especially biology and physics, that allowed me to think deeper about the different careers science can provide. The many different ways that light can be used in researching was interesting and the various experiments conducted were definitely a new experience. It was an inspiring event that changed my view on science, which changed my perspective of science and the courses I could take in the future related to Biophotonics.”

Below – CNBP researcher Denitza Denkova explains photonics to students.

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Outreach session at St. Ignatius College

Michelle-Zhang_1_sq23 August 2016

CNBP researchers from the University of Adelaide, Michelle Zhang and Sabrina Heng, have undertaken a school outreach session at St. Ignatius College, Adelaide, August 23, 2016.

The scientists spoke to two groups of children in an early-learning program about the science of light and the use of light in medicine. Several hands-on activities were also then run for the children to demonstrate that science can be fun as well as educational.

This included:

  • the use of UV-sensitive beads for making into a bracelet that was then worn for several outdoor activities
  • sunscreen applied to the beads to teach how sunscreen protects against sun-burn
  • the use of spectroscopes that can diffract room-light into a series of colourful bands at differing wavelengths (the students were asked to draw what they saw)
  • a simple kit that converted youtube videos to holograms
  • and CNBP colouring-in sheets that demonstrate life at the nanoscale

Positive feedback from the teachers at St. Ignatius College and also the parents of the children that attended the session was received over the course of a very fulfilling day!

Adelaide Compass outreach collaboration

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA16 August 2016:

CNBP researchers and Adelaide Compass at the University of Adelaide teamed up today to host an extremely successful outreach session as a part of National Science Week, 2016.

The ‘Hit The Lights’ outreach program saw Year 5 students from Burton Primary School visit the CNBP HQ and participate in interactive workshops, demonstrations and discussions, all related to light, optics and CNBP science.

A thoroughly enjoyable experience was had by both CNBP researchers and students with lots learned by all on the day!

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Encouraging female students to study STEM subjects

sanam Mustafa11 August 2016:

After a successful keynote presentation at the 2015 annual ‘Beach Energy Women in STEM Breakfast’ at Thebarton Senior College, CNBP’s Dr Mustafa was once again invited back to the college to engage with young female students at the 2016 event.

Returning from maternity leave, Dr Sanam Mustafa was in an ideal position to highlight the evolution of male dominated fields towards a more balanced work environment where support was available for women returning from breaks in their career.

Dr Mustafa shared her positive experience at CNBP which she attributed to the nurturing leadership strategy of Professor Mark Hutchinson (a father of two young girls), and the culture of the organisation. She explained that it was important to maintain a channel of communication even during periods of absence so that it was easier to reconnect when coming back to the workplace.  Through this open communication, Dr Mustafa was able to negotiate a return to work plan that catered for her new responsibilities as a mother.

The event organisers themselves demonstrated their commitment to engaging women with caring responsibilities by welcoming Dr Mustafa’s 9 month old daughter Zaina to the breakfast event as well.

Feedback from participants was that this STEM focused networking and information session for high-school aged female students was a huge success.

Kids learn photonics at STEMSEL session

STEMSEL1editweb19 April 2016:

CNBP was happy to host the next generation of young scientists at today’s ‘STEMSEL Photonics’ session at the University of Adelaide node.

STEMSEL clubs, standing for ‘Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Social Enterprise Learning’ are an arm of the STEMSEL Foundation which is a not for profit organisation that aims to teach every child how to use electronics.

Over twenty Year 3 to Year 9 students were in attendance at this session, with CNBP researchers Roman Kostecki (a physics focus) and Sabrina Heng (a chemistry focus) helping lead the discussion and activities.

Concepts such as photons, light interaction with matter, Fermat’s principle, emission, absorption, lasers, fibre optics and organic chemistry, were all described and demonstrated.

Both researchers enjoyed the afternoon, showing the kids that science, technology and photonics can be awesomely interesting, as well as really good fun!

 

Supporting ‘Scientists and mathematicians in schools’ program

Visit to Lockleys_web10 March 2016:

Dr Sabrina Heng, CNBP researcher has undertaken a further school visit to Lockleys Primary School in Adelaide as a part of her involvement in the Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools (SMiS) outreach program.

SMiS is a national volunteer program bringing real science, mathematics and ICT into the classroom through ongoing flexible partnerships between teachers and scientists, mathematicians and ICT professionals.

Sabrina has been involved with SMiS since 2010 and working with Lockelys Primary School since mid 2014. In her most recent visit to the school, the Year 5/6 science students learned about the concepts of solubility and saturation through a series of simple experiments that Sabrina had designed. Working in groups, the students were taught to ‘think like a scientist’ i.e. ask the question (e.g. how many scoops of NaCl does it take to saturate X amount of water?), perform the experiment and to then come up with a conclusion.

Said Sabrina, “My trips to Lockleys are always rewarding and I look forward to my next visit where we will be performing experiments around the topic of ‘Light’.”