Scientist in residence inspires students

Scientist Rachel Scadding with Carnaby Rise Primary School students.
Scientist Rachel Scadding with Carnaby Rise Primary School students.

A SCIENTIST in residence program at a Landsdale school is inspiring more students to pursue careers in science.

Carnaby Rise Primary School teacher Matt Bennett said many schools had an artist in residence, but theirs was an unusual arrangement.

Mr Bennett said the scientist, Source Certain International chief operating officer and TSW Analytical director Rachel Scadding, owned a “well regarded and successful set of scientific businesses”.

“I am really happy we started the program – the benefits to student learning and the school’s science program are immeasurable,” he said.

“It gives students an excellent grounding in real-life science and many of our students, particularly girls, now tell me that they wish to pursue a career in science.”

“They love it – very stimulated and interested – kids love hands-on, real-life stuff and this is as real as it gets.”

The program covers chemistry, biology, forensics and careers.

Students buried various items for the decomposition experiment.

Mr Bennett said one of the experiments with Year 4 students involved burying various organic and inorganic items to see how they decompose, including metal, plastic, paper, fabric, an apple, chicken tenders and stone.

“Students in year four have been learning about the properties of different materials,” he said.

“The focus of the unit has been about the decomposition process and the longevity of certain materials when left in the environment.

Students dig up the buried items.

“These items remained in the ground for five weeks after which time they were dug up.

“The items were then compared with similar items which have been placed in the open air and in water.

“Upon digging in our school garden, students were surprised to find that the chicken was completely decomposed; the only remaining evidence of its presence being a few very healthy, fat worms seen in the vicinity.

“The metal was mildly corroded, the plastic remained, the paper was missing, the fabric was dirty, the apple was surprisingly intact and the stone remained.”

Rachel Scadding and students with the intact apple.