Time travel and black holes

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - @SCHOOL -

WITH the theme Light­ning: So Fright­en­ing, stu­dents, par­ents and teach­ers were en­ter­tained and amazed at St Au­gus­tine’s Sci­ence Week’s pre­sen­ta­tion last Thurs­day night by trav­el­ling sci­en­tist, Dr Peter East­well.

More than 100 par­tic­i­pants gath­ered around an ar­ray of equip­ment in­clud­ing a Van der Graaf gen­er­a­tor and a Tesla Coil, both of which sparked and crack­led with ex­per­i­ments show­ing the power of elec­tri­cal en­ergy.

Stu­dents were in­vited to par­tic­i­pate in a range of ex­per­i­ments in­clud­ing how elec­tric­ity flows through a va­ri­ety of me­dia, how to avoid be­ing struck by light­ning and what to do if you or some­one close to you is elec­tro­cuted.

Dr East­well said he was im­pressed with the stu­dents’ en­thu­si­asm and “the stu­dents’ in­quis­i­tive­ness, es­pe­cially in the young ones in Prep”.

“We un­der­es­ti­mate the young ones,” he said, “as I just re­cently over­heard some Year 2s talk­ing about time travel and black holes.”

At the end of Dr East­well’s pre­sen­ta­tion, stu­dents were hosted by Ms Kath Wil­liams, Aus­tralian Ge­o­graphic Cairns, who demon­strated two tele­scopes and lead some star gaz­ing.

Prin­ci­pal of St Au­gus­tine, Paul Raynor, said that STEM sub­jects (sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics) are very im­por­tant at the school, it be­ing the only pri­mary school in the shire to have a STEM lab­o­ra­tory.

“It is so vi­tal that stu­dents are ex­posed to prob­lem solv­ing, re­search and ex­per­i­ments,” Mr Raynor said, “and our stu­dents spend at least one les­son a week in the STEM lab­o­ra­tory.”

This was the first time such a pre­sen­ta­tion was held at night which, ac­cord­ing to Mr Raynor, was par­tic­u­larly op­por­tune as par­ents could join in the fun.

Pic­tures: MOYA STEVENS

Dr Peter East­well puts on an elec­tri­fy­ing per­for­mance

Best done from afar

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