12 August, 2022


Science Inquiry Skills

Science Week affords an opportunity to reflect on one of the three key strands of the Australian Science Curriculum for Primary years  – ‘Science Inquiry Skills’. The curriculum adapts the level and complexity of this for different year levels (or pairs of years), but as an example the Year 3 curriculum involves:

Questioning and predicting: with guidance, identify questions in familiar contexts that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on prior knowledge.

Planning and conducting: with guidance, plan and conduct scientific investigations to find answers to questions, considering the safe use of appropriate materials and equipment. Consider the elements of fair tests and use formal measurements and digital technologies as appropriate, to make and record observations accurately.

Processing and Analysing data and information: Use a range of methods including tables and simple column graphs to represent data and to identify patterns and trends. Compare results with predictions, suggesting possible reasons for findings.

Evaluating: Reflect on investigations, including whether it was a fair test or not.

Communicating: Represent and communicate observations, ideas and findings using formal and informal representations.

This process is the cornerstone of scientific thinking from the earliest years through all school years, tertiary education and for scientists in all fields of endeavour. It also resonates strongly with thinking in other fields of learning and across other disciplines. In Early Childhood and Primary years this same process is the basis of inquiry-based learning. Curious and creative learners ask many questions and refine their questioning skills over time, they find appropriate ways to seek answers to their questions through research and investigation, record, reflect on, evaluate and communicate their findings and discoveries. All the while they continue to build their knowledge base and consolidate or deepen their understanding of key concepts.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School

Science Week

The Junior School has embraced Science Week! Students have engaged in various scientific experiences, focusing on wondering, noticing, and questioning; the ingredients that make great scientists! A digital talk with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki kicked off our dive into science. Our guest Geologist, Clare Mawdesley, inspired students with her volcanic demonstration and inspired the next generation of geologists. Students were given the opportunity to play and experiment with a number of scientific experiences. They explored the properties of glass using light boxes and various glass prisms, they used the Zoomy 2.0 digital microscope to examine sand, the basis of glass as well as other materials that they could magnify. Students were challenged to use a real telescope, they played and experimented with glass and water, exploring optical illusions. Finally, they collaborated to create a large art piece creating a stained-glass window which will be displayed in conneXions in the weeks to come, enabling continued celebration of the wonder of science!

There were also plenty of digital experiences in conneXions. Students from across Year 3 and 4 connected in a digital author talk with Sci-Fi authors Cristy Burne (a science communicator) and Denis Knight (a computer programmer) who have combined their powers to create the series Wednesday Weeks which features a reluctant sorcerer’s apprentice who would rather study science than magic. Year 4 students opted to further their knowledge about Ocean Plastics by joining a webinar with the Australian National Maritime Museum and learnt about how plastic waste is affecting marine life and habitats, and by a virtual visit to the wharf to discover how technology like the Seabin can help clean up our oceans. We finished our digital offerings by testing our knowledge about ocean science and participating with hundreds of students in an interactive, national Kahoots! Science Quiz run by the Maritime Museum.

Thank you to all Elphin students from Early Learning to Year 5 for being curious and embracing the wonder of science. As Albert Einstein said: Play is the highest form of research!

The conneXions Team

Staging Stories

Year 2 students had a unique opportunity this week when they participated in Staging Stories, a program offered through the Sydney Opera House as part of their Digital Creative Learning program.

Students dialled in from conneXions to connect to a fun and interactive English and Drama workshop led by a professional storyteller.  It started with a picture book focus, ‘The Pig in the Pond’ by Mark Waddell and we were enthralled with the storytelling and loved the opportunity to dramatise parts of the story. We identified the Orientation, Complication and Resolution of the story, using whole body movement, facial expressions and sounds to participate. We then created a story together, using various student ideas to produce a collaborative and imaginative story, involving a panda stockman on planet Juniper running into a purple cat who shoots out rainbow bubbles! Many found the experience of being ‘live’ with other schools from around Australia a wonderful part of the experience.

Kylie Brewster

Year 5 Student Leadership

Leadership skill development is an important element of personal growth for every Year 5 student at Scotch Oakburn. Year 5s play a key role in many aspects of daily life and activities in the Junior School, both in a range of formal positions as well as informally through modelling and support for younger students. Congratulations to the Term 3 Junior School House Captains on their recent appointments:

Fox: Edie Kwan & Bobby Byrne
Nance: Poppy Beaumont & Bowen Yang-Sun
Briggs: Rhys Morse & Edie van der Aa
Dean: Arav Khuttan & Sarah Horsman

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School

Daily drop-off and pick-up traffic

Thank you to all drivers and pedestrians for the ongoing emphasis on road safety during the brief but very busy drop-off and pick-up times at the Elphin Campus each day.

This has been especially important during these weeks of winter weather. Thank you also to students, families and staff who have embraced the ‘park and walk’ concept, parking a bit further afield and walking to school to help reduce congestion closer to the school gates.

Along with adhering to the 2-minute standing regulation in the drive-through zones for drivers using this option, and parking only in marked spaces in the street,  these measures are supporting both road safety and traffic flow efficiency.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School