07 December 2016

2016 science highlights

​Artificial Light |  Year 9 and Year 6

During the year, members of Year 9 Science C developed demonstrations and presentations to give to Year 6 during a STEM event. The girls created quizzes, interactive experiences and taught about the history, development and science behind artificial light.

Meet the pathogens | Year 9 and Junior School 

 Several Year 9 science classes developed storybooks based on pathogens and read the stories to Junior School girls. They were very impressed with the quality and simplicity of the books, and the stories provided a powerful medium for passing on messages about pathogens and their impacts.​


Year 2 in the Biology Lab

Students from Year 2 were treated to a visit to the senior biology laboratory and were instructed in the science behind, and the use of, microscopes. Hands-on experiences in the laboratory are very important components of science learning and it was so pleasing to see the young students engaging with the technology and making spectacular biological drawings.


Visits by external experts | Year 12

Tamara Davis (OG 93), astrophysicist gave some of her valuable time to present her work and her story to our Year 12 physics class. She spoke about her research on the beginnings of the universe and the hunt for the mechanism powering the ongoing expansion of the universe. She was kind enough to run a Q and A session, and students were able to ask questions to clarify their understanding of this hot topic in physics.


Stella Clarke from BMW Germany | Year 10 and Year 11

We were fortunate to have Stella Clarke (OG 97), current lead engineer for the haptics division of BMW Germany come back to the school to present to Year 10 science and Year 11 mathematics and engineering studies, on 2 June 2016.

Stella and her colleague Uli, spoke about their pathways to becoming engineers and how they apply science, mathematics and design engineering in their work. They reflected on how an education in science, and a drive to apply skills and continue learning, has given them roles that they love, and in which they are constantly challenged.


Science Week | Senior School 

Ms Michelle Simmons was guest speaker at Science Week assembly. She is currently a Scientia professor and Laureate Fellow at the University of New South Wales and a founding member of the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computer Technology. Put very simply, her research involves making computer chips incredibly small but with extraordinary power. Professor Simmons offered insight into the challenges placed on science awareness, and particularly the role women play in the advancement of science.


MasterChem | Senior School 

Ten students were pitted against each other in an elimination battle to see who was the ultimate MasterChem in Science Week. 

The contest involved precisely measuring and mixing acids and bases, determining body organs and locations and sorting minerals using a classification key. The final challenge saw the remaining two girls demonstrate the nerves of steel required to wear the MasterChem 2016 crown.

 Congratulations to Chelsea Kinnaird who progressed through all trials to be declared the ultimate champion for Science Week 2016.

Interactive science on the J Floor | Senior School 

To demonstrate interactive science, it has become a tradition for teachers to make liquid nitrogen ice cream during lunchtime on the last day of Science Week. Flavoured milk is mixed with the chilling influence of liquid nitrogen to produce ice cream of around minus 190 degrees Celsius. That was cool by everyone's standards!

Math/Science Kahoot | Senior School 

Close to 100 students and teachers competed in the lunchtime science and mathematics problem-solving competition using the Kahoot app. Seeing our progressive scores generated a great deal of excitement and competitive spirit.

Enrichment and Extension

Physics Olympiad

Four students; Angela Chen and Aurelia King from Year 10, and Lucy Birdsey and Xiucheng Li from Year 11, took part in the Australian Science Olympiad qualifying exams. This is a university level standard examination testing the girls on concepts such as kinematics, forces, thermodynamics, advanced electricity, magnetism and other areas in physics. To prepare for the exams, the girls were coached for two mornings a week from February until the examination in August, showing exceptional commitment running in parallel with their curriculum studies.

Both Aurelia King and Angela Chen were acknowledged for their participation with certificates of achievement. The girls performed tirelessly to improve throughout the months of training, working on theory and skills well in advance of their grade level.

Lucy Birdsey was awarded a distinction, placing her in the top levels of students participating in the exams. An outstanding achievement.

Xiucheng Li produced the standout achievement, gaining not only a high distinction, but a gold medal placement, which means that she was in the top handful of students in Australia to sit the exams. A truly exceptional performance, Xiucheng provided inspirational leadership in the coaching sessions, helping the other girls and leading the group to their strong overall success.

 Titration Competition | Year 12

Six students from Year 12 attended the University of New South Wales for the NSW Schools Titration Competition on Friday 17 June. This is a competition based on analytical chemistry and the aim is to use precise analytical techniques in order to precisely measure and calculate the concentrations of a provided acid and base using volumetric titrations.

To be competitive, answers need to be within four significant figures, or to put it another way, the girls need to work out the concentrations to within a thousandth of a mole per litre. This requires quite a lot of discipline and skills, and our girls trained well to hone their techniques prior to the day. The technique used in the competition builds on work in volumetric analysis that is studied in the Acidic Environment module in HSC Chemistry.

On the day the two teams; Isabella Hardwick, Melina Stavrinos and Nuala Rheinberger; Bronte Macleod, Ruolin Ma and Eleanor Boxall missed out on a placing but they are commended for their excellent application and dedication to the contest.

Mr Shaun Lambden
Head of Science