This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on 20 July 1969. In September 1962, US president, John F Kennedy, delivered a speech at Rice University in which he said, ‘We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept.’
In Year 7 at Girls Grammar, students are tasked with the challenge of understanding the discipline of Science while they develop and hone their deep thinking skills and consider the universe around them.
At the end of Term 2, students used the remote telescopes at the Dorothy Hill Observatory, housed at Marrapatta Memorial Outdoor Education Centre, to capture their own photographs of deep space objects. Throughout the year, girls will learn how to enhance their photographs. This ongoing exposure to a new style of celestial experience continues to present different challenges to students as they come to recognise the utility of each of our magnificent telescopes. Girls also grapple with the intricacies of the dedicated software programs to convert a simple request into a beautiful colour image. The concepts developed in this process allow students to gain a rare and significant insight into the physics of the universe.
In conjunction with their astronomy studies, Year 7 students study a physics unit that allies their general knowledge with new understandings of physical concepts. This unit allows girls to learn about, and explain, the world around them, while demonstrating how they can apply mathematical constructs to these understandings. Students are exposed to the key ideas of inertia, momentum, velocity and force, and how these concepts interact.
Sometimes students come to class with tenaciously-held conceptions about scientific phenomena. Students must be actively engaged in constructing links between existing and new conceptions, drawing upon and extending their existing intuitions rather than memorising counter-intuitive principles. This is the core challenge for our young students, one which the School supports with exciting learning practices and deep thinking exercises.
Ms Deborah Perz