Questacon brings wonders of science to Guyra students

IN FILM: Questacon presenter Hannah Thomas puts Year 5 student Archie Jackson in a bubble. Photo: Nicholas Fuller
IN FILM: Questacon presenter Hannah Thomas puts Year 5 student Archie Jackson in a bubble. Photo: Nicholas Fuller

St Mary of the Angels Guyra students rode a hoverboard across their classroom as the Shell Questacon Science Circus came to town.

Hannah Thomas and Lauren Booth staged two hour-long spectaculars on how bubbles work (including putting kids inside them) and kinetic energy.

"With the older year levels," Hannah Thomas said, "we're looking to impart knowledge and understanding around the scientific concepts. With the younger ones especially, it's about seeing that science is everywhere in your life, all around you. We don't really need fancy scientific equipment to explore scientific ideas - and it can be a lot of fun!"

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Teachers Angela Hayes and Theresa Grills thanked the presenters for coming to the school.

DYNAMIC: Questacon presenters Hannah Thomas and Lauren Booth with Sophie Spradbrow (Year 4), Mackenzie Ellem (Year 3), Shanae Wark (Year 6), and Archie Jackson (Year 5). Photo: Nicholas Fuller

DYNAMIC: Questacon presenters Hannah Thomas and Lauren Booth with Sophie Spradbrow (Year 4), Mackenzie Ellem (Year 3), Shanae Wark (Year 6), and Archie Jackson (Year 5). Photo: Nicholas Fuller

"It's a chance to be exposed to experiences they may not have otherwise, and to see scientific equipment that we might not have access to in our school," Ms Grills said.

"The presenters were dynamic, and knew their stuff. The kids could relate to what they were talking about, which made it really on the level of the students."

Hannah and Lauren are on the third week of their tour of New England. They have presented shows for primary and high school students, professional development for teachers, and big pop-up science centres from Tamworth to Lightning Ridge to Glen Innes - all part of their Masters of Science Communication degree at ANU.

Sixteen ANU students each year spend three months travelling around the country with the Circus.

THRILLS: Shanae Ward rides the hoverboard. Photo: Nicholas Fuller

THRILLS: Shanae Ward rides the hoverboard. Photo: Nicholas Fuller

"It's an incredible experience," Lauren said. "We've been to far north Queensland and the Northern Territory, as well as areas around Canberra. We're very excited to be here in the New England region for a couple of weeks."

The Guyra public will be able to see Questacon's marvels at UNE's Campbell Hall, Armidale, on Saturday and Sunday, from 10am to 3pm.

There are four science shows and more than 40 hands-on exhibits, including a competition to see who has the fastest throw against a police speed gun; spinning on a rotating platform; a dark tent with laser lights; and freezing one's shadow on the walls. There's even a miniature Jacob's Ladder. Adult $6, students/concession $5, family $18, children under 5 and Q Club members free.

The day is also a great opportunity for high school students figuring out study and careers, Hannah said, because they can talk to presenters whose job or hobby involves science.