Incursion topics

Science as Human Endeavour

Senses (Foundation)

Students will be engaged in a variety of experiments to understand the purpose of their senses and how they work.

Activities:

  • Identity the 5 senses and demonstrate connections to the brain and how damage affects senses.
  • Use a magnifying glass to see how the eye works.
  • Use a variety of glasses to experience eye problems.
  • Make a take-home toy to trick your eyes.
  • Use blindfolds to understand the use of different senses when one is missing.
  • Test the sensitivity of feeling and hearing and relate this to keeping safe.
  • Experiment with sound vibrations.
  • Use an electronic device to change the sound of your voice.
  • Identify a variety of smells and discuss differences.
  • Observe a demonstration, using the teacher, of how smell and taste are connected.

Inventions: Sustainability (Levels 3–6)

Students will develop an understanding of how inventions and discoveries have affected the environment.  They will explore alternative uses for waste materials.

Activities:

  • Identify reasons for inventing.
  • Sort materials to understand that sustainability has many meanings.
  • Make a “plastic” from different materials.
  • Act as an environmental science testing water samples.
  • Observe the effect of burning different materials.
  • Investigate and test products that are biodegradable.
  • Explore water sustainability.
  • Make a motor that uses clean energy from recycled materials.
  • Be inspired to invent something that is useful and environmentally friendly.

Forensic Science (Levels 5 & 6)

A crime will be set. Students will apply chemical testing skills, interpret data and develop an understanding of how scientific evidence is used to solve a crime.

Activities:

  • Discuss the many roles scientists play in crime investigation.
  • Listen to a crime story and identifying key clues.
  • Observe and test a variety of powders.
  • Use chromatography to test different black inks.
  • Match footprints to soles of shoes.
  • Observe and match DNA samples.
  • Create a set of individual fingerprints and examine patterns.
  • Debate the validity of the evidence against the 4 suspects present.

 

Physical Sciences

How Objects Move (Foundation-2)

Students will investigate the way objects move depending on a variety of factors, including their shape, size and weight. This lesson links investigations to the movement of living things.*

* See “Transport” lesson for human, historical focus.

Activities:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of moving objects.
  • Explore sinking and floating using different materials.
  • Change the shape of plasticine in an attempt to make it float.
  • Observe a fish model and predict how it moves up and down in the water.
  • Investigate movement over land using a variety of wheel options.
  • Observe a car made of recycled materials and discuss different ways to make it move.
  • Make a take-home rocket to explore the relationship between strength of push and movement.

Light & Sound (Levels 1 & 2)

Using a sensory approach, students will investigate the characteristics of light and sound. They will explore how light and sound are produced, transmitted and sensed, and will come to understand the roles sound and light play in our lives and society. 

Activities:

  • Discuss similarities and differences between light and sound.
  • Examine different materials, classify them as transparent, translucent or opaque, then test with a torch.
  • Model the movement of sound with a slinky and coins.
  • Investigate the sound produced when different materials are struck with a stick; water, air and solids of different thickness.
  • Discuss demonstrations of materials that reflect and absorb sound.
  • Use diffraction grating to see rainbows created by different light sources.
  • Explore colour using wax blocks and CDs.
  • Project an image onto a card using a magnifying glass.
  • Use tuning forks to investigate sound vibration.
  • Observe demonstration of a thaumatrope (equipment and instructions to make these later will be provided to teacher).

Heat & Energy (Levels 3 & 4)

Students will explore different ways to produce heat and investigate how heat can move from one object to another. They will predict and measure the effects of heat.

Activities:

  • Discuss sources of heat.
  • Use thermometers to measure the insulating ability of different materials.
  • Discuss how heat affects living things.
  • Investigate the temperature requirements of yeast.
  • Observe the nature of heat as moving energy using food colour in water and balloons.
  • Investigate how heat can move from one object to another by conduction.
  • Observe heat movement (convection currents) in water and air.
  • Measure the effect of the sun’s radiant heat on different materials.
  • Observe a demonstration of chemicals increasing heat and conduct experiments where chemicals decrease heat.

Force & Motion (Levels 3 & 4)

Students will investigate how forces can be exerted by one object on another through direct contact or from a distance. This topic encourages students to predict, test, collect data and discuss results.

Activities:

  • Discuss the relationship between force and motion.
  • Use a spring scale to measure and record forces when moving a weight in different ways.
  • Explore the effect of friction using different surfaces.
  • Investigate the forces of attraction and repulsion between magnets.
  • Discover ways to move a floating boat using contact and noncontact forces.
  • Use observation to work out how an object moves up and down in a bottle of water.
  • Explore air resistance of different shaped papers.
  • Design a take-home rocket to investigate air resistance and gravity.

Light (Levels 5 & 6)

Students will investigate the properties of light, including source, colour, reflection and refraction.

Aims:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of light.
  • Explore an old overhead projector and the way it reflects and refracts light.
  • Observe the visible spectrum from different light sources through diffraction grating.
  • Classify materials as transparent, translucent, or opaque.
  • Explore the refraction of light with a “magic” coin.
  • Discuss speed of light through different mediums.
  • Investigate different methods of magnifying objects using glass, plastic and water.
  • Explore the use of lenses to project images and to understand how our eyes work.
  • Use mirrors to experience the rules governing the reflection of light.
  • Experiment with water fibre optics.
  • Test different materials with a simple photometer.
  • Use an electric motor to observe the spinning of coloured discs.

Electricity (Levels 5 & 6)

Students will investigate energy transformation and transference using electrical circuits. Understand how electricity is generated and which methods are most sustainable.

* This lesson has a strong focus on electrical circuits.  See “Energy” lesson in STEM for a focus on energy transformation and design.

Activities:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of energy/electricity.
  • Predict and test basic circuits.
  • All students become part of a human circuit recognising the importance of a switch.
  • Predict and test materials as conductors or insulators of electricity.
  • Discuss the scientists involved in the evolution of the light bulb as an invention.
  • Make a light globe and observe the glowing filament.
  • Explore the differences between light globes and LEDs.
  • Use electromagnets.
  • Examine broken and working motors and follow the energy transformations taking place.
  • Discuss whether an energy source used to make electricity is sustainable.
  • Observe a solar panel working.

 

Chemical Sciences

Chemical Change (Foundation-2)

Students will develop an awareness of chemicals in our world. They will predict, observe and record different ways in which chemicals change.

Activities:

  • Observe a variety of mystery chemicals using the senses of sight, hearing, and smell.
  • Mix three chemicals with water and observe different behaviours.
  • Explore different speed of reactions using three household chemicals.
  • Observe a demonstration of an explosive reaction.
  • Observe and record results of colour change experiments.

Wonderful World of Materials (Foundation)

Students will observe and classify different materials. They will identify the use and purpose of materials and make a take-home toy.

Activities:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of “materials” and different types of materials.
  • Predict and test materials that will be attracted to a magnet.
  • Examine a variety of balls and discuss the properties of each material.
  • Make a toy using “bouncy” materials.
  • Explore the effect of water on different materials.
  • Explore different ways of separating mixtures including magnetism and sieving.

Materials and Mixing (Levels 1 & 2)

Students will observe and classify different materials. They will identify the use and purpose of materials including mixing, separating and recycling.

Activities:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of “materials”.
  • Sort materials based on physical properties.
  • Explore ways to change the shape of paper to make a container.
  • Investigate the results of different mixing techniques.
  • Investigate the effect of water on various materials.
  • Explore different ways of separating mixtures including magnetism and sieving.

Natural & Processed Materials (Levels 3 & 4)

Students will observe, classify and test the physical properties and uses of materials. They will participate in processing some simple materials into a new product, and develop an understanding of material waste and pollution.

Activities:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of materials and where they come from(e.g. animal, plant or rocks and minerals).
  • Identify raw and processed materials.
  • Consider how the properties of materials affect management of waste or can lead to pollution.
  • Make and test a material that appears and acts like glass and plastic and is left for children to do further tests.
  • Investigate different materials for properties of insulating ability, water absorption and strength.
  • Measure and record results from various tests.
  • Observe a demonstration of the property of fire resistance in different fabrics.

Solids & Liquids (Levels 3 & 4)

Students will investigate the changes that occur between solid and liquid matter when adding and removing heat.

Activities:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of matter and its states.
  • Investigate the special properties of solids and liquids.
  • Classify materials based on state of matter and recognise that some materials do not fit nicely.
  • Explore how different solids can be bent.
  • Observe surface tension in liquids.
  • Investigate the change in viscosity of a liquid due to temperature.
  • Compare evaporation of different liquids.
  • Test the melting point of wax, chocolate, citric acid and sugar.
  • Conduct experiments safely in a group.

Solids, Liquids & Gases (Levels 5 & 6)

 Students will investigate and compare the properties and behaviours of each state of matter with an emphasis on gas.

Activities:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of matter and its states.
  • Identify states of matter and investigate the differences between them.
  • Observe that some matter is difficult to classify.
  • Create gas using chemical reactions and heat.
  • Use the property of flammability to test for the presence of gas.
  • Discuss demonstrations of changing state with a focus on heating and cooling gas.
  • Use candles to investigate heat rising and carbon dioxide production.

Reactive Chemistry (Levels 5 & 6)

Students will investigate the properties and behaviour of chemicals/materials.  They will explore reversible and irreversible changes that occur when chemicals are mixed.

Activities:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of matter and chemicals.
  • Observe and discuss the physical properties of a variety of clear liquids.
  • Investigate reversible change using salt.
  • Measure temperature change in a variety of chemical reactions.
  • Investigate the formation of a gas during a chemical reaction.
  • Observe an explosive demonstration.
  • Use a chemical indicator to observe colour change created by different chemicals.
  • Predict and record observations.

 

Earth and Space Sciences

Weather (Foundation–2)

Students will study how the weather works. They will explore the movement of water and air in relation to the sun and Earth. They will investigate changes in the sky and landscape.

Activities:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of weather.
  • Investigate the water cycle, making a model to collect fresh water from salt water.
  • Set up experiments to model movement and loss of water in plants.
  • Discuss temperature differences between the equator and the poles.
  • Predict and test what happens to weather if Earth’s rotational speed changes.
  • Observe and discuss a demonstration of a hot air balloon and relate to air movement.
  • Predict and test the position of ice and cold water in warmer water.
  • Use water bottles to demonstrate cyclonic movement.
  • Manipulate eyedroppers to demonstrate gentle rain and storms on different landscapes.

Water as a Resource (Level 2)

Students will learn how water is used and moved by people and nature. They will study the unique properties of water and understand its importance to life on Earth.

Activities:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of water and its uses.
  • Explore the observable properties of clear liquids using senses of sight, hearing and smell.
  • Investigate the water cycle by making a model to collect fresh water from salt water.
  • Observe capillary action in paper and relate to movement of water in plants.
  • Discuss a transpiration demonstration.
  • Investigate the movement of water against gravity using a siphon.
  • Explore surface tension holding water molecules together.
  • Conduct chemical tests to identify pollution in different water samples.
  • Observe a natural water filter cleaning muddy water and think about designing their own filter.
  • Set up an ongoing experiment to investigate the growth of plants with different types of contaminated water.

Earth, Moon and Sun (Levels 3 & 4)

Students will explore relationships between the Earth, moon and sun. They will use models to investigate changes caused by the movement of the Earth and moon including seasons and eclipses.

Activities:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of Earth, moon and sun.
  • Explore the physical pressure of air on earth.
  • Investigate the forces that hold the Earth and moon in their orbits.
  • Explore how the Earth’s rotation creates day and night.
  • Explore the changes in shadows as the Earth rotates.
  • Investigate the phases of the moon and understand why we only ever see one side of the moon from Earth.
  • Investigate the changes that create Earth’s seasons.
  • Model the reflection of light from the moon.
  • Model the positions of Earth, moon and sun during solar and lunar eclipses.

Our Changing Earth (Levels 3 & 4)

Students will explore the natural processes of weathering and erosion as well as human impacts that change the landscape.

Activities:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of natural and human forces that change the landscape.
  • Explore the ‘rock cycle’ and classify samples of sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks.
  • Investigate weathering caused by physical actions such as sand blasting and ice expansion.
  • Observe the effects of chemical weathering.
  • Investigate wind and water erosion and deposition of sediments.
  • Investigate water absorption by different types of soils.
  • Link the effects of different human activities on the earth’s surface such as logging, mining and urbanisation.

Earth In Space (Levels 5 & 6)

Students will investigate the forces involved around Earth and the Solar System.  They will gain an awareness of forces, heat, light, atmosphere, movement and position.

Activities:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of space and our place in it.
  • Experience the pressure of the air around us.
  • Identify the planets of the Solar System and their order from the sun.
  • Model the relative sizes of the Sun and planets.
  • Use a scale model to show the relative distances of each planet from the sun and understand how long it takes each planet to complete an orbit.
  • Investigate the forces that hold planets in their orbit including gravity and centripetal forces.
  • Model Earth’s rotation and orbit to explore regular changes such as day and night and the seasons.
  • Investigate Earth’s unique atmosphere and learn how it protects us and gives the sky colours.
  • Learn about space exploration and explore the forces needed to launch a rocket.
  • Set up a follow-up experiment to investigate the growth of plants in different conditions such as those found on other planets.

Natural Disasters (Levels 5 & 6)

Students will use models and experiments to investigate how sudden geological changes and extreme weather can affect the earth’s surface.

Activities:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of natural disasters and the variables that affect their unpredictability.
  • Investigate a model of the water cycle.
  • Predict and explore the position and movement of ice and cold water in warmer water.
  • Model the spinning of the earth and tornadoes.
  • Observe and discuss a demonstration of a hot air balloon and relate to air movement.
  • Explore the effect of extreme weather on the landscape.
  • Use a simple seismograph to produce a visual representation of an earthquake.
  • Explore the sudden changes in force occurring at the junction of tectonic plates.
  • Model volcanic activity on land and under water.

 

Biological Sciences

Minibeasts (Foundation–2)

Through simple experiments, students will learn about the role and behaviour of animals in our environment. They will study and classify our specimens, and make a mini worm farm.

Activities:

  • Discuss classification of living things.
  • Sort animal models into various groups.
  • Examine and sort preserved specimens based on different characteristics.
  • Understand why some of our specimens need to be dead for classroom use (e.g. safety and practicality).
  • Be part of a drama, using our senses to feel what it is like to have too many feet or just one foot.
  • Classify preserved specimens based on scientific categories.
  • Use proper handling techniques to remove worms from the soil.
  • Compare different types of worms.
  • Test worms’ behaviour towards light.
  • Make a mini worm farm for future life cycle study.

Clever Plants (Foundation-2)

Students will explore the characteristics and adaptations of plants, including their structural features and behaviours.

Activities:

  • Discuss classification of living things.
  • Classify plant samples into scientific categories.
  • Observe a demonstration of chlorophyll removal from leaves.
  • Test and compare different materials for capillary action and relate to water movement in plants.
  • Observe a model of a Venus Flytrap and discuss carnivorous plants.
  • Investigate chemicals similar to those used by carnivorous plants.
  • Explore a variety of aromas used by plants for different purposes.
  • Observe different ways plants disperse.
  • Investigate how changing the physical conditions for plants impacts on their growth and survival (ongoing classroom activity).

Life Cycles (Foundation-4)

Students will explore the life cycles of plants and animals. They will explore growth and change with our specialist who brings live animals and plants.  

Activities:

  • Discuss the differences between living and nonliving things.
  • Classify plants based on the way they reproduce.
  • Investigate different methods of seed dispersal.
  • Make several seed gardens to observe how different species emerge from their seeds  – ongoing experiment.
  • Explore the lifecycles of different living insects.
  • Examine live aquatic macro invertebrates.
  • Observe and discuss differences in life cycle between species.
  • Observe and discuss the different stages of a live creature.

Living Things & The Environment (Levels 3-6)

Students will investigate the importance and diversity of living things. They will explore adaptation with our specialist who brings live animals and plants from three different Australian environments

Activities:

  • Discuss the differences between living and nonliving things.
  • Discuss diagrams of plant needs, nutrient cycles and food webs.
  • Match plant samples to a variety of different biomes.
  • (Levels 5-6) Examine a selection of soil types and match to Australian biomes.
  • Use thick and thin materials to model capillary action in plants.
  • Observe and discuss a demonstration of transpiration that can be easily extended in a school environment.
  • Make mini hothouses to use for further testing of environmental conditions and the importance of biodiversity.
  • Test how people can aid water conservation in desert regions.
  • Examine live animals from different Australian environments and discuss adaptation and biodiversity.

Surcharge of $35 per day applies to all Biological Science topics.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math)

Bubble Chemistry (Foundation-2)

Students will investigate different ways to make bubbles and observe their special properties. They will study how bubbles interact with light and work out how to predict the exact moment they will pop.

Activities:

  • Investigate different ways to make bubbles: blowing, waving, shaking, squeezing.
  • Discuss demonstrations of bubble creation using a variety of chemical reactions.
  • Observe bubbles’ special properties: grow and shrink, float, shape, stretch, particular colour, and thinness.
  • Observe differences between bubbles and suds.
  • Investigate and test which objects are best for bubble making.
  • Explore methods to help an object work as a bubble maker.
  • Predict when a bubble will pop after careful observation.
  • Explore ways to create larger bubbles.
  • Be part of a drama to sense what it would feel like to be a bubble.

Transport (Foundation-2)

Students will investigate the way objects move on land, through water and in the air. They will explore design technologies used in different modes of transport including size, shape, push and pull forces, and movement.

Activities:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of transport and classify based on land, water and air transport.
  • Explore the history of water travel.
  • Investigate how changing the shape of a material affects its ability to float.
  • Observe and discuss a model that moves up and down in a column of water.
  • Explore methods used by ancient people to move heavy loads over land.
  • Investigate different wheel and axle configurations using model cars.
  • Observe and discuss the ways our recycled car can move.
  • Investigate the pushing forces that project a model rocket through the air (take home model).
  • Explore the pushing and pulling winds created by electric motors and propellers.
  • Observe and discuss a demonstration of a chemical powered rocket.

Science & Technology of Toys (Foundation-2)

Students will study, design and make their own toys. They will investigate materials, purpose, sound, marketing and how the toys work.

Activities:

  • Imagine what children did before the presence of toy shops.
  • Explore the characteristics and properties of materials and components that are used to create toys past and present.
  • Observe how toys move: jump, roll, twist, up and down, and spin.
  • Explore how the principles of push and pull are used in the design of toys (e.g. using electricity, magnetism, gravity or wind-up energy, being pushed or pulled, with a motor).
  • Design and create a toy that makes sound using a cup and string.
  • Follow instructions to make a rubber band motor and explore ways to change its movement.
  • Identify safety issues and solve problems.
  • Be inspired to create toys using recycled materials.

Building & Construction (Foundation–4)

Students will explore the properties of materials, looking at shapes and their different strengths for building. This topic is great preparation for student design and make projects, such as playgrounds and bridges.

Activities:

  • Examine our model to identify how forces and materials are used in the design of a playground.
  • Make different shapes with various materials.
  • Test the effect of tension, compression and torsion forces on the different shapes.
  • Compare how much friction particular materials have and discuss areas of high/low friction on a playground.
  • Test different shaped “logs” for cabin construction.
  • Predict and observe a demonstration of the amount of weight different shaped columns can hold.
  • Test the strength of egg shells and discuss their shape.
  • Explore different bridge shapes while designing and testing bridges to hold toy cars.

Energy (Levels 5-6)

Students will investigate energy from a variety of sources. They will gain an understanding of energy transformation and transference.

Activities:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of types and sources of energy.
  • Design and test ways to demonstrate a change from potential to kinetic energy.
  • Use circuits to investigate the transformation of electrical energy to light, heat, and movement.
  • Design and make a simple model turbine using the design process.
  • Explore materials used to make a waterwheel.
  • Investigate the transformation of chemical potential energy to kinetic energy.

Sound & Music (Level 1)

Students will explore design technologies used in different types of musical instruments.  They will investigate how forces and the properties of materials affect the behaviour of an instrument.

Activities:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of sound and music.
  • Observe a variety of old and new musical instruments.
  • Identify materials that make sound.
  • Investigate the properties of sound.
  • Observe a slinky as a model which shows the movement of sound.
  • Use tuning forks to investigate sound vibration.
  • Test different rubber bands for pitch.
  • Test and see which are the most appropriate materials for musical use.
  • Classify and test a number of musical instruments, depending on the way they are used.
  • Make a simple trombone instrument.
  • Test a device that changes the human voice.

Puppets (Levels 2–4)

Students will explore design technologies used in different types of puppets. They will investigate how forces and the properties of materials affect the behaviour of a puppet.

Activities:

  • Identify puppets from the past and present.
  • Examine a variety of puppets to identify how forces and materials are used in the design of a puppet.
  • Investigate how puppets work: push and pull forces, how they are joined and what type of machines are used in their construction (e.g. levers and pivots).
  • Discuss the purpose of a puppet.
  • Identify materials that are suitable for movement and for stability.
  • Test how a lever works.
  • Test how a pivot can be used to do a number of movements.
  • Make two different types of puppets that use levers and pivots.
  • Observe how recycled materials can be used.
  • Be inspired to design puppets and other recycled contraptions.

Simple Machines (Levels 3–6)

Students will explore design technologies used in different types of machines. They will investigate how forces and the properties of materials affect the behaviour of machines.

Activitiess:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of simple machines: levers, gears, wheels, pulleys and incline planes.
  • Test different designs for a particular purpose and see which design does the job best.
  • Observe and discuss a demonstration of a small student lifting a larger student with the assistance of a simple lever.
  • Explore a variety of tools and compare the lever systems in each.
  • Compare our two systems to experience the effect of single and double pulleys.
  • Explore a range of gear systems and observe the speed and direction of each cog.
  • Experiment with simple electrical circuits and motors.
  • Recognise all the simple machines within an old-fashioned eggbeater.

Engineering and Design (Levels 5 & 6)

Students will investigate the suitability of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment for a range of purposes, using science of simple machines, measurement, engineering design and technology.

Activities:

  • Discuss prior knowledge of engineers and their role in society.
  • Brainstorm important factors when designing and building including for people with mobility issues.
  • Investigate a lever, measuring weights and distances.
  • Build a simple model catapult to test the level length.
  • Participate in the design process: brainstorm, design, build, test, redesign.
  • Observe and discuss materials and moving elements in some recycled models.
  • Investigate the effect of friction on pulleys.
  • Explore pneumatics and hydraulics.
  • Be inspired to design and build contraptions.

Christmas Sci-Tech (All levels)

A creative and entertaining way to end the year. Experiments incorporate technology and physical sciences.

Activities:

    • Act as a detective examining different types of wrapping paper linked to different celebrations.
    • Observe a “boxing” Santa and Santa puppet and discuss the materials used to allow them to move.
    • F-2: Make a paper puppet and explore various ways to move the legs use human energy, gravity and

magnetism (take home).

  • 3-6: Make a paper puppet and explore movement in relation to friction, tension, gravity, and technique.
  • Observe a Christmas gimmick with bells and discuss use of our senses at Christmas.
  • F-2: Make a Christmas Tree toy to trick your eyes (take home).
  • 3-6: Make a rubber band motor and complete a design challenge to make a moving Christmas gimmick.
  • Observe a “bungee jumping” Santa toy and discuss the use of rubber and hard plastic.
  • Make a rubber powered jumping frog and investigate different ways to make it jump (take home).
  • Observe a “wind-up” Santa and discuss the importance of shape in design.
  • Observe balancing Christmas gimmicks and practice balancing a variety of simple items.
  • Be inspired to make Christmas toys and gimmicks.