Seven Hills school shares in scientist's skills

Clear thinking: Scientist David Spadaro with a sample of ampipods. He can assess how healthy a waterway is by how quickly the tiny crustaceans reproduce. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Clear thinking: Scientist David Spadaro with a sample of ampipods. He can assess how healthy a waterway is by how quickly the tiny crustaceans reproduce. Picture: Gene Ramirez

As a sediment ecotoxicologist, David Spadaro spends his days examining the effect of industrial pollutants on waterways — except for the ones where he returns to the classroom.

The CSIRO scientist will be a MyScience mentor for a second time at Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School in Seven Hills this term.

The program gets volunteer scientists to help pupils in years 3 to 6 turn their own question into a valid science experiment.

"To work on these projects with kids who are so enthusiastic and curious, and starting to ask 'why' and explore their own universe is really refreshing," he said. "They typically know what they want to test and we just have to mould them in a direction to come up with a testable question, and use that scientific method to get good data and then present it."

Mr Spadaro said he loved being part of the project last year when the pupils tested how many beams a bridge would need to support the most weight with a basket of marbles.

"The opportunity was there through work and someone needed my expertise, which was nice."

MyScience co-ordinator Sally Biscupic said pupils had looked at tsunamis and how to minimise cyclone damage to banana trees as part of a natural disasters topic, which their term two projects would also follow.

"The children will choose a natural phenomenon and think of ways that they can limit the damage caused by the event," she said.

Volunteers are needed for about eight hours across the six-week project which ends on June 26.

This includes three classroom visits and online mentoring through a moderated website.

An orientation evening is on Tuesday, May 20, 6.30pm-8.30pm.

■ Details: 0412 280 593, Sbiskupic@parra.catholic.edu.au.

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