National Science Week is Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology. Running each year in August, it features more than 1000 events around Australia, including those delivered by universities, schools, research institutions, libraries, museums and science centres. Over one million people participate in science events across the nation.

In 2020, National Science Week must be held in a different way, with travel restrictions and physical distancing requirements now in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Our teachers planned several exciting events “at home” during the past week.

Bishop Tyrrell was one of 250 schools taking part in the Exploding Watermelon Competition billed as one big experiment. Each school conducted trials for the experiment to gather as much data as possible. There were predictions, plans, dependent and independent variables, measurements, even a little maths. It is a great example of collaborative science, something that happens the world over (usually for more scientifically important reasons). It was a great success with Mr Chiswell and his scientists taking an average of 151 elastic bands to “blow up” a melon.

Space exploration is supercharged at the moment following recent Space X successes and students had the opportunity to be involved in building and designing rockets. They quickly learned that both atmospheric conditions and construction difficulties play a large role in a successful launch. To further their understanding of the dangers of rocket fuel, Mr McCarthy demonstrated the production of hydrogen and its explosive nature when sodium metal is mixed with plain old water.

Students also entered the Young Scientist Plane Challenge with Ms Pearse which stretched their technological imagination as they explored material and physical world concepts. They also got involved in a bottle recycling program to reinforce increasing plastic pollution in our water ways.

For the more chilled students and staying on water themes, students have enjoyed the screening of Finding Nemo over several lunch time breaks.  In class, students have tried a virtual escape room challenge where they needed to draw on their scientific knowledge from a range of different disciplines under the theme of the Big Blue.

With all the challenges facing our world the need for scientists to play a big role in finding solutions to complex issues, celebrating Science every day is vital.  Happy Science week everyone!

Sue Bain