Recreating ancient fish fossils, building floating platforms and making 3D face scans were all on the program when 28 primary school students and their families visited UWA this week.
The Pinjarra and Rockingham students visited the UWA campus as part of Children’s University Australasia (CUA), which aims to foster aspirations and a love of learning from an early age.
Children’s University Coordinator Charlie Jones said the program provides primary school students with access to extra-curricular learning opportunities through a ‘Passport to Learning’. Students record their learning hours across the year, before attending a graduation ceremony.
“We’re really excited to offer Children’s University participants the opportunity to visit our museums and art galleries, take part in online craft and sports activities, and attend on campus school holiday programs with fantastic learning experiences provided by our academics and student clubs,” she said.
“UWA’s Education Strategy 2020-25 emphasises the importance of encouraging lifelong learning and engaging with children from a young age to inspire their intellectual journey. Children’s University will be an important part of inspiring engagement in lifelong learning.”
A Children's University participant gets some help to make a Gogo Fish nodule.
UWA’s Edward de Courcy Clarke Earth Science Museum recently joined the program as a Children’s University WA Partnership Learning Destination (along with the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery and UWA Sport).
During this week’s school holiday program, students visited the Museum and created their own ‘Gogo Fish nodules’: models of the 380 million year old Gogo Fish Mcnamaraspis kaprios, WA’s fossil emblem. Although usually encased in limestone that requires months of acetic acid preparation, students replaced the sedimentary rock with bath bomb ingredients. After taking the nodules home, the students were able to run a hot bath and watch the ‘fossil’ fizz out of the ‘limestone’.
The ‘Psytech’ experience with UWA School of Psychology was another highlight, with participants getting a sneak peek into some of the tools and technology used to understand the mind. Participants heard the blood flow in their brains, discovered what virtual reality can tell us about the mind and behaviour, learned about subtle cues hidden in our faces, and saw their own brain waves.
Children also engaged in philosophical discussion with Eurekamp Oz co-founders Dr Kaz Bland and Professor Rob Wilson, learned about designing floating platforms with UWA engineering students, and explored the UWA campus.
UWA joined with Edith Cowan University this year to deliver the CUA program in WA through the Children’s University Western Australia Partnership.
To date, UWA has partnered with four schools across Albany, the Peel region and Perth’s southern suburbs, with an emphasis on schools from communities that experience socio-economic and educational disadvantage.