From the Head of Science – Exploring the Virtual World of Experimentation

Despite our absence from the laboratories at St Catherine’s School, staff have endeavoured to engage students in the virtual world of experimentation.

Pre-recorded laboratory investigations and virtual high-risk experiments have enabled students to understand and explain scientific concepts. The restrictions of lockdown have not prevented students from participating in challenging online competitions such as the Science Olympiad Examinations and Science Week during Term 3.

 Science Week

Ruby Moir in the virtual world at CERN.

As was the case last year, in 2021 we faced the challenge of running Science Week online.  This year our STEM Captain, Ruby Moir, presented Assembly. This was an excellent opportunity for Ruby to share her experiences at the National Youth Science Forum, acknowledge students who participated in the Science Olympiad examinations and the Big Science Competition, the work of the Environment Club and student participation in the ‘Superstars of STEM’ evening.

The Science Week quiz focused on the 2021 theme ‘Food by Design’, Year 9 student, Jixuan (Jennifer) Gao was the winner of this year’s quiz. Students also had the opportunity to participate in the Melbourne University National Quiz. Unfortunately, the planned visit by Professor Bunsen and the Bad Science Show, had to be cancelled to due to lockdown restrictions.

Big Science Competition

During Term 2, Years 8 and 9 students participated in the Big Science Competition – completing level specific papers. The Big Science Competition tests students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well their Science knowledge. The Competition is a one-hour paper consisting of 30 multiple-choice questions. Test questions are written by the Australian Council for Educational Research. This year, students had to register for the competition.

Of the 33 registered Year 9 students, 42% received a Credit or higher certificate. Today, we acknowledge Olivia Hargrave, Rhea Werner and Charlotte Wood who were all awarded High Distinction Certificates and Nadia Mohamed and Qing Chun (Joanna) Yang who were both awarded Distinction Certificates.

Of the 64 registered Year 8 students, 23% received a Credit or higher certificate. Today we acknowledge Chloé Favaloro and Yau Yin (Nicola) Liu who were both awarded Distinction Certificates.

Welcome Madeleine

The Science Faculty warmly welcome Ms Madeleine Pasznyk as our new Laboratory Manager.  Madeleine is formally educated in Forensic Science with six years’ experience working as a Chemistry Analyst at Bureau Veritas Assure Quality Laboratories. Madeleine’s expertise in Occupational Health and Safety will greatly assist the Science Faculty. Students will meet Madeleine upon their return to School.

Senior Ocean School

CASE Ocean School.

Given the impact of COVID on overseas travel, the Science Faculty have sourced an alternative Science experience, in lieu of the NASA Space Camp.

We are excited to join ACTURA Australia to participate in the CASE Senior Ocean School in September 2022. CASE Senior Ocean School has been developed by industry leaders and Australian universities. It provides students with the most innovative, stimulating, ‘hands on’ learning experiences, focusing on one of the Earth’s assets, the ocean. This experiential and enriching program is open to all St Catherine’s students in Years 10 and 11 in 2022. Students spend 12 full days exploring Australia in Sydney, Townsville and Cairns.

Ms Vanessa Jackson-McRae, Head of Science