Uni science adventure hooks budding students 


From hunting plants knee deep in Darwin's mangroves to building high-performance slot cars, year nine science students can expect high-octane fun at the 2008 Siemens Science Experience.

The Charles Darwin University (CDU) supported event will open the world of science to students through hands-on adventures and interactive lectures during three days from 17 June.

And, for the first time, Alice Springs students will take part in the event.

This year's theme, “Science in the tropics”, emphasises the role science plays in human health and well being.

Mangrove flora and fauna, sports science, electronics and global warming are all tackled through field trips and interactive presentations which aim to inspire future scientists.

Capturing birds for analysis and release, exploring fauna in Darwin's mangroves and building slot cars for racing are three projects on offer this year.

The annual event is held nationally at more than 35 universities and tertiary institutions across Australia and is considered a leading teaching resource by high schools.

Local government and industry are strong supporters of the event with Department of Primary Industries, Fisheries and Mines, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Services, NT Police and CDU’s Menzies Schools of Health some of the organisations assisting.

CDU's contributions come via the School of Environmental and Life Sciences and the School of Engineering and Technology, Faculty of Education, Health and Science.

The event chairperson and senior lecturer at CDU's School of Environmental and Life Sciences, Dr Diane Pearson said the event’s mix of laboratory and field-based exercises gave students a healthy insight into the world of science.

"Most react really well to hands-on learning which helps the students make the connection between their traditional high school studies such as maths, chemistry and physics to real job outcomes in science," she said.

Dr Pearson extended her thanks to CDU staff and external contributors to the event.

"Capturing the imagination of students early in their schooling is crucial if we are to have more scientists in this country and I commend Siemens and our many local sponsors who share this vision," she said.

For more information go to the CDU 2008 Siemens Science Experience website at www.cdu.edu.au/ehs/siemens.