Pupils at Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School owned their newfound science knowledge as they recreated sink holes and looked for the best material to fill sand bags with.
Working scientists mentored year 5 and 6 pupils at the Seven Hills school as they designed and conducted the experiments through the MyScience program.
The projects were displayed at a science fair on June 26.
MyScience co-ordinator Sally Biscupic said the pupils had been exposed to the program since year 3, so for many it was their third or fourth year.
‘‘We could really see a growth in their understanding of scientific principles and they were much more aware of the variables and of what they needed to measure,’’ she said.
‘‘In trying to understand their topic of natural disasters they learnt so many new things along the way.
‘‘The students that looked at flood damage minimisation independently learnt about the water cycle.’’
Mrs Biscupic said the area of scientific enquiry was quite specialised so teachers also benefited from the expertise of the mentor scientists, who assess everything from the impact of toxic chemicals on waterways to mosquito borne diseases.
‘‘The majority of primary school teachers have not studied science beyond year 10, so MyScience benefits not just students but teachers too,’’ she said.
‘‘We’re really grateful to the mentors for their time and expertise. The whole community of parents, teachers and students really values the contributions they make.’’
Next term pupils will base their investigations on the human body. They will learn about the respiratory and cardiovascular systems in class before designing experiments around the nervous system.
More volunteer scientists are needed to mentor the pupils.
An information evening will be held on August 14, with classes to start on August 18.
Details: 0412280593, Sbiskupic@parra.catholic.edu.au.