A trip to VSSEC

Our guest post was written by Rob Davie, teacher at Taylors Lake Secondary College

Promoting Science through Astronomy

Promoting an interest in the study of science is no easy task and requires every effort on our part utilising all strategies open to us which is where the Telescopes in School’s program enters the picture.

For this year I began with a OneNote file on various aspects of astronomy containing information about our telescope viewing sessions and information about stars, galaxies, cosmology and exo-planets. This information included Youtube videos of various documentaries on these subjects, the file was made available to all of our year 7 students and can be found at the following link, http://1drv.ms/1FSwtP2 or http://1drv.ms/1RfH6zF, so please feel free to look at it. If you produce your own version please share it on this blog.

Next, two separate excursions for year 7 students were organised to the Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC) at Strathmore Secondary College. Students were selected for the excursion if they expressed an interest in astronomy or if they felt that they might have an interest. The entire Learning Enhancement and Advancement Program (LEAP) class was taken as the material covered was more likely to appeal to these students.

Generally though, the number of students in the other classes who volunteered was around 3 to 5 although, the number could be as high as 11. There were so many students due to there being eleven classes at our school that the excursion had to be run on two separate days.

The rationale behind this visit to VSSEC was to give students some basic knowledge of stars and how rockets work to stimulate further interest in the study of astronomy and the use of the school’s telescope.

The picture below shows our students learning their cosmic address, an activity that both groups really enjoyed. It is a very well designed task and runs very well with every group I’ve ever taken.

Students working out their Cosmic Address

Students working out their Cosmic Address

The other activity involves making and launching a rocket which, as you can imagine is quite a hit with all!

Students firing their rockets

Students firing their rockets

So what did students think of the day long excursion?

Below some of the students give their own account of the day in their own words;

On Friday the 15th of March 2015 we went to the Victorian space science education centre. We will be telling you what we did and learned on this day.

Firstly we arrived at school and got on a bus to the Victorian space science education centre when we arrived we were told that we were going to play video game. We were so rapped that we got to play a video game and learn at the same time. Then we were told that we could build a rocker our rockets were called Pink lighting and unknown fire.

Secondly we got split up into two groups one built a rocket and the other got to play the video game. My group got to play the video game; once we got in to the room that we were going to play the game we were told we also had to answer questions as well. The game was a space ship vising different planets and stars there was also mini games sometimes on the way to planets.

Thirdly, lunch time!!!! After lunch we made out rockets we made it with paper plates, play doe, a coke bottle with tape and cardboard. Then we named them and fired them with only air they were so cool to watch.

Finally we watched road runner and coyote with the different forces used in the film. After that a fun day was over we hope we can go back next year and do something else.

By Thomas Sadler and Kane Lorimer 7E

On Monday the 20th of July Mr. Davie and Ms. Violari choose a couple of students to go on an excursion to Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC.) It was a great expeareance and I learnt so many new things.

My favourite part of the excursion was making a minny roket out of a plastic bottle and trying to find out how much water to put in it so when you punp it up with a bike pump it flew realy far. Some people’s rokets went so far that they landed on the roof.

I would defently recommend if you are ask to partisipat in this excursion to go and expeareance it for your self.

            By Alicia Mandato 7G

VSSEC. At the Victorian Space Science education Centre, the students learned about the different types of energy while launching rockets which were composed of plastic bottles, cardboard and sticky tape. The students learned about their universal address as well as the universe itself. They also got to play a fascinating game where they needed to explore the universe in a rocket ship, traveling to 10 stars, giving them the opportunity to learn about the Hertzprung Russell diagram. The Hertzprung Russell diagram is a graph that are used to plot the stars’ colour (temperature) and spectral class to distinguish the relationship between the two.

Written and edditted by Lisa Beres and Sandy Wu 7J

The VSSEC excursion was very interesting. First, we learned about how rockets work by making a small bottle rocket and launching it using a special pump. Some people’s rockets almost made to the 2nd floor of the VSSEC building! We could name the rockets whatever we wanted to but sadly we couldn’t keep the rockets and we had to disassemble them before we went to the next activity, which was about the stars. We played this game in which we had to choose a rocket and take a trip through space to observe stars and how hot they get. With this game we had to fill out a sheet with the details of all the stars. This game was very interesting and the excursion on a whole was one of the most fun and interesting places I have been to.

By Omar and Aryaman 7J

On Friday the 5th of May, myself and a few students from each class went to the ‘Victorian Space Science Education Centre’. We first learned about stars, their life span and the stages in their life. We also played a video game where we visit different stars around the universe and it told us the features of each star. Then after our lunch break, we each built our own air rockets, using a bottle, cardboard and a lot of tape. These rockets were launched from a pump and to make them launch we all pumped air into the bottom of the bottle and released them. We had a target at the end of the room where we aimed our rockets. The purpose of this activity was learning about energy, kinetic energy and potential energy. When we were pumping the air into the rocket, it was potential energy. When we launched the rocket, it was kinetic energy. Both of these activities were fun and very interactive. I had a really great time at the Victorian Space Science Education Centre and I left with a lot more knowledge about my universe. I recommend this excursion to students as it’s learning made fun!

By Jayde Jotevski 7E