National Science Week is Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology. Held in August each year, it features more than 1,000 events around Australia. Gleeson College celebrated by hosting a week of rolling events to inspire the inner scientist within everyone. This year’s theme, Food: Different by Design, aims to promote sustainable farming to reduce pollution, conserve water and protect the environment.
Throughout the week, Care Groups and staff were challenged every morning to a Science Quiz, with questions varying from the Science Week theme of ‘Food’ and Nutrition, to general science knowledge and famous science communicators.
Our guest presenters, Sophie Dolling from The University of Adelaide and Melissa Raynor from The Foodprint Experience Café, gave insightful talks during lunchtime activities. Sophie talked about the chemistry behind taste. Her Flavour Chemistry: The Science Behind the Taste and Smell of Food presentation was a hit among students. To understand what senses we use for descriptive analysis and how flavour and aroma are researched on a chemical level, students were given mystery samples of everyday food items. This was an engaging and fun way to learning about chemical compounds in food and the scientific equipment, spectrophotometers, and how they’re used in research. Tasting sustainably sourced food along with kefir and kombucha drinks was a massive hit as well. The Foodprint Experience Café owner, Melissa Raynor talked about the carbon footprint from the foods we eat. Reducing this footprint can positively impact climate change as the distance from farm to fork and rotting unused food can account for up to eight per cent of greenhouse gases.
Midweek the Science team worked hard to decorate doughnuts, not plain doughnuts, but galaxy doughnuts. These amazing delights took inspiration from the study of space and were a crowd favourite. There was a line-up of hungry students eager to experience what a galaxy tasted like. The blue glitter glaze and edible gold dust didn’t disappoint. All proceeds were donated to Caritas in our Year of Service.
Mr Puttnins hosted The Big Watermelon Experiment, a nationally scientific experiment, to pack more into a dynamic week. This experiment aims to record data from as many schools around Australia to see how many rubber bands it takes to implode a watermelon. The crowd of onlookers and participants were surprised and startled when the watermelon imploded after 121 rubber bands. The top of the watermelon flew nearly one meter in the air, and watermelon shards splattered close to the crowd that gathered.
To finish an engaging week of science, we hosted a National Geographic movie session. We gave out popcorn and chips to compliment the movie experience. Learning about the essential role science plays in managing food production, reducing waste, and the technologies that oversee projects has helped the students understand the future direction and need of Food: Different by Design.
I hope everyone enjoyed a great National Science Week!
- Melissa O'Loughlin, Science & STEM Coordinator