National Science Week 2021 and the theme, Food: Different by Design, has offered many exciting activities for students across the school to experience. We started the week off with an exploding watermelon demonstration on the stage in the TM Hall. A total of 314 rubber bands were applied around the middle of ‘Walter the Watermelon’, at which point it burst open. The elastic potential energy contained in the stretched rubber bands was too much for the watermelon’s supporting force. Year 7 student, Tiger, made the closest guess, with 316 rubber bands. Following this, we played a giant Kahoot! with a food theme. The game was hotly contested, with some tough questions. For morning tea, the senior staff were treated to a COVID-themed lemon and coconut cupcake with a squirt of lemon curd delivered in a syringe.
On Tuesday we had a Science Assembly in which we zoomed an entomologist called Skye, who runs a business in Western Sydney called ‘Circle Harvest’, specialising in producing edible insect products. We learnt all about the benefits of eating insects, including their health benefits (high in protein and micronutrients, vitamins and fatty acids). Insects contain three times the amount of Omega 3 as spinach, twice as much calcium as milk and more iron than spinach as well as all 20 amino acids! Insect protein also takes significantly less water and energy to produce the same amount of protein compared with beef, and of course emit far less methane in the process.
We also conducted a brief experiment to test the effect of Miracle Berry tablets on our sense of taste. Three volunteers ate a miracle berry tablet, then whilst blindfolded, ate a segment of lemon without noticing a sour taste. The miracle berry changes the way the taste buds taste – sour foods are perceived as sweet. We also congratulated two girls on their outstanding achievement in the Australian Society for Medical Research Quiz for Students – Mia achieved 1st place in the Year 11/12 section, and Jemima achieved 2nd place in the Year 7/8 section.
On Wednesday, Mr Goodwolf fired up the woodfired pizza oven and students from Years 7, 8, 11 and 12 were able to make their own pizzas with a twist – they had to have insects sprinkled on top. The packets of insects (mealworms and crickets from Circle Harvest) ran out quickly, and the girls were surprised at how good the pizzas tasted. They also snacked on the delicious insect protein corn chips. Some girls have decided to buy insect protein and make it a part of their diet! A win for Science Week!
On Thursday in Year 8 we performed a sheep’s heart dissection to conclude our studies of the human body. The girls were able to put their theory into practice – identifying the heart strings, valves, atria, ventricles, major blood vessels and the coronary arteries, and linking the structure of these parts to the functioning of the mammalian heart.
On Friday, Year 7 and Year 4 went to the Festival of Bright Ideas. The Year 7s enjoyed programming robots, building solar powered lights to send to developing countries, painting with natural pigments and cuddling bunnies and goats. The Year 4s also enjoyed building the solar powered lights which was a great follow-on from their great work fundraising for Light Up Vanuatu. They then listened to a thought-provoking talk from Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, about the precarious position that our native wildlife are in – both in the aquatic and terrestrial environments. Finally, the Year 4s cycled through some mini-activities, including presentations from Fishcare, Tassie Young Scientists and TMAG. At lunchtime, we ran an Escape Room Challenge in the Science lab for Years 7 and 8 teams. Our thanks to everyone for your contributions and enthusiasm during Science Week!