Shaping bright young minds

The Junior Scientia Program is designed for gifted and talented primary school students in years 3-6. To participate in the program, students will select one 3-day workshop from a range of options.  

All workshops are developed and presented by highly experienced teachers who are qualified in gifted education. They possess the expertise and skills to encourage the interests and pique the curiosity of gifted children.  

To provide an appropriate level of rigour and challenge for gifted students, the level of difficulty of the workshops is set two years above the enrolled school level of the child. The workshop structure is also designed to further develop social skills and provide an opportunity for gifted students to meet like-minded peers with similar interests. 

The workshops below are being offered for January 2020. Registration will open at 7AM on Tuesday 26 November:

Scholarship and Equity Advanced Placement applications are accepted prior to main round registrations.

Junior Scientia workshops Year 3-4

**Please note that the workshop with Daryle Newman, "Let's Clay Away", has been changed. Daryle will now present "Leading Science by Design: Innovative Artists Unite".  We were not able to confirm access to the required art space for a clay-based workshop; however, this workshop will still include a smaller clay component.**

The Games People Play with Tim Huang

Toys and games reflect the culture of our times and they have always incorporated the evolution of new technologies. In this challenging workshop students take their first steps in designing their own toys and games. We work together to build a conceptual framework for toys and game development from first principles, including the origins of toys and games and the psychology of why people play games. Toys and game designers draw on popular culture and diverse knowledge and skills. Psychology, literature, computers, art, architecture, mathematics, physics, ergonomics, safety and marketing are some of the learning curves you will be starting. 

About the presenter:

Tim has 20 years’ teaching experience in Special and Gifted Education, including as a Curriculum Coordinator, Subject Coordinator, Primary and High School Teacher. He has been working with GERRIC since 2003.


Leading Science by Design - Innovative Artists Unite with Daryle Newman

"Science and the arts are not different sides of the same coin…or even different parts of the same continuum, but rather, they are manifestations of the same thing. The arts and sciences are avatars of human creativity" (Mae Jemsion). In this Art class you will become avatars of the universe to engage your mind with ecology, biology, environmental sciences and technology. You will be asked to situate yourself as protector, keeper of knowledge, problem solver and inventor. Ultimately, you will create an exhibition of yourself in the environment. What your avatar imagines, you will create.

*This workshop still still include a clay component!

About the presenter: 

Daryle has a Masters Degree in Curating and Cultural Leadership at UNSW Art & Design (formally COFA) and extensive experience coordinating and teaching arts programs and curating exhibitions.  

It's All Ancient Greek to Me! with Lucy Birts

Which is more powerful, love or hate?
Do you have to see, hear, or touch something in order to believe it exists?

We'll talk big ideas in this discussion and role-play -based workshop. We'll learn about some of the greats: Aristotle, Plato, Socrates... be prepared to exercise your brain to solve some pretty intense ethical dillemas! 
This workshop will provide a super fun and challenging introduction to the  world of philosophy and ethics.

About the presenter: 

Lucy is incredibly passionate about working with gifted students. She holds a Masters in Gifted Education at UNSW, and is currently Gifted and Talented Coordinator k-6 at St Andrew's Cathedral School in Sydney.  Lucy runs small group activities for gifted and talented students including philosophy, future problem solving, and da Vinci Decathlon training.  In 2017, Lucy received a World Teachers' Day award for Outstanding Classroom Teaching for a Year 3/4 composite gifted class.

How to Talk so People Will Listen with Megan Dredge

Learning how to talk so people will listen is a big part of being successful in life. Communicating well is important in daily conversations and also in more formal public speaking settings. In this workshop, you'll learn important and practical principles of communication. Through the use of theatre sports, drama games, and voice projection exercises, you will have many opportunities to apply and hone your communication skills. This workshop will be hands-on, interactive, and fun!

About the presenter:

Megan is a passionate and inspiring presenter, who has spent two decades teaching in both the public and private education sectors. Megan is committed to helping students aim higher and reach further. She has authored four books, developed numerous resources for teachers, and most recently developed the education resources for the ABC’s sustainability series, Project Planet. She has spoken extensively in Australia, Asia and Europe and is currently the Global Leadership Coach for Propel Women, actively training over 4000 leaders in 80 nations around the world. Whether it’s in the classroom, the boardroom or the marketplace, Megan is passionate about communicating for life change.

The Engineer Challenge with Yooie Choi SOLD OUT

Want to learn and apply mathematical principles and challenge your problem-solving skills against some common engineering problems? Then this workshop is for you. 
Using mathematical concepts such as Measurement and Pythagoras theorem you will apply your understanding and skills to a number of real life, hands on experiences. In a workshop designed to be fun and interactive, students will be involved in many “mini-challenges” including logic puzzles, and designing and creating structures. Are you up to the challenge? We can't wait to see you there.

About the presenter: 

Yooie is the Head of Learning Enhancement at Kinross Wolaroi School in Orange, and an experienced GERRIC facilitator. 

Workshops materials (we will provide you a copy on the day)

Foundations of Musical Composition: Budding songwriters and composers please apply

What do Taylor Swift and Mozart have in Common? They both wrote their own music! This workshop is for students who have experience performing on instruments and have an interest in composition. We will work on singing exercises to warm up and then focus on understanding how scales and arpeggios help us to compose simple melodies. We will transpose these melodies for a range of instruments and use these to create harmonies and small group arrangements for a performance at the end of the course. 

 Students should be able to read music and play an orchestral instrument suited to concert band, string ensemble, or piano. 
•    Students who play wind or string instruments should bring their own instrument. 
•    Pianists and vocalists should bring a recorder or one will be made available. 
•    Attending with a laptop or iPad would be an advantage as we may use notational software rather than purely pencil and manuscript.

About the presenter:

Caroline has been a specialist music teacher in primary schools for 13 years. She has completed a B.Ed (primary) with a music specialisation as well as Certificate of Gifted Education. I have run short courses for gifted musicians focussing on traditional notational composition,  and conducted choirs, recorder ensembles and small string ensembles. She currently teach at St Ives North in a dedicated unit for exceptionally gifted students running from grade 3 through grade 6. Caroline teaches these students composition, transposition and arranging known music for a small ensemble.

Workshop pre-assessment: 

Magical Muggle Studies with Nathalia Velez SOLD OUT

The focus of this immersive workshop will be to explore the science behind the Harry Potter phenomenon through the principles of genetics, zoology, chemistry, and forensics. You will also be developing your artistic abilities (through science illustrations) and creative writing skills.

  • Apprentices will attend a series of chemistry labs with a strong emphasis on edible science, where you will make polyjuice potions, bubbling cauldrons, and master the art of molecular gastronomy. 
  • You will also delve into specialised brances of science including herbology, forensic science, and the states of matter (like chameleon plasma that changes colour).
  • The zoology lectures uncover a world of creatures that bridge the divide between the muggle and the magical. 
  • Please note that by order of the Ministry of Magic, all students must complete Genetics 101, to comply with the school's strict anti-bullying program. 


About the presenter

Nathalia completed a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Zoology) before pursuing graduate studies in Ecology. For the past six years she has pursued her passion for helping children explore the quirky and creative side of science in an entrepreneurial venture that has seen her recognised by Randwick City for Business Excellence. Nathalia's work as a science communicator has taken her around Australia where she works with amazing young people who want to use science to empower their contributions to the world. In her workshops, Nathalia's students are encouraged to have a go, learn from mistakes, and use the creativity that will be essential for solving the problems of the future.

Junior Scientia workshops Year 5-6

Big Ideas, Big Futures with Michael Graham

Do you have what it takes to make it in the business world? You might be an entrepreneur and not even know! In this workshop, you will discover how some of the world’s most powerful people made it to the top and how to turn a great idea into a great career.
We will explore the different ways that people earn money and how businesses operate. You will then come up with your own business idea and develop your persuasive writing, speaking and leadership skills by learning the art of advertising. Finally, you’ll bring your ideas to life when you pitch to an investor panel!

About the presenter: 

Michael teaches at Matraville Sports High School, has a Masters in Special Education, and experience as a head teacher and year advisor.

Logic and Lateral Thinking with Esther Cheung

Creativity is fundamental to the formation of new and innovative ideas in today’s ever-changing world. Lateral thinking trains students to use a creative or outside-the-box approach to solve problems. Often these outside-the-box ideas can only become possible if we look from innovative or non-traditional perspectives, rather than opting for the obvious answer. Thinking laterally can be rather challenging; therefore, the main purpose of this workshop is to provide a few interesting topics and demonstrate how to think differently. We will explore the mystery of magic squares; counting embedded figures and irregular 3D cubes; discover different types of number and diagram patterns and many more. Join our workshop and start thinking outside-the-box!

Essential criteria: Some topics require basic arithmetic skills. Students should be comfortable performing manual calculations with 2 digit numbers (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division)

About the presenter:

Esther Cheung is an entrepreneur and an educator with over ten years of university teaching experience. She holds a PhD and is a Certified Practising Accountant. Esther’s passion and understanding towards students’ different learning styles has led her to develop many mathematics, science and lateral thinking programs, including Gifted and Talented programs for GERRIC and G.A.T.E.WAYS.

Public Speaking and Debating Skills with Patrick Fisher

Have you ever wanted to learn how to win an argument? Have you ever wanted to learn to speak with confidence in front of room of unfamiliar people? 
In this workshop, you will learn to develop your public speaking skills in a range of varied, exciting and challenging individual and small group activities. You will develop the ability to deliver speeches to a range of different audiences in a number of contexts. 
In addition, you will learn how to use debating skills to project an opinion in a measured and informed manner, allowing you to improve your speaking and critical thinking skills. These activities will foster you future success in all school activities. 

About the presenter:

Patrick is an experienced English teacher at Georges River College. In particular, he has an interest in the varied ways extracurricular activities shape the educational outcomes of High Potential and Gifted Students. Patrick is Georges River College's Gifted and Talented Education and Debating Coordinator, where he coached teams and individuals to state representation. 

Furthermore, Patrick recently completed a Master of Education (Educational Leadership) at the University of Wollongong, focusing on the varied ways teacher practices shape student learning outcomes. 

Operation: Terminal Velocity with Aaron Macleod SOLD OUT

After a nine-month journey from Earth, how do you land a 1,000kg rover on Mars without it careening into the Martian surface and smashing to pieces? How do we design vehicles that absorb enough energy during a car crash to save lives? Or construct roller coasters that carry passengers through thrilling amusement park rides with safe and predictable results? The answer to these and many other questions is physics! Join us on this expedition as you explore, through a range of real-world hands-on experiments, how forces and motion shape the world we live in. You will model authentic science and engineering practices to examine the natural physical laws that govern how objects move and the many forces that influence an object’s motion. Over the three days you will conduct experiments investigating: Speed & velocity; developing your own standard of measurement; friction; free-body diagrams; Newton’s laws of motion; and simple & complex machines, gaining an understanding how all of these factors can relate to our physical world anywhere from riding a bike, playing sport, and even space travel. Most importantly you will work with a group of like-minded students and you know, maybe one day you’ll turn your knowledge of forces and motion into visionary technologies that will leave a positive impact on the world and change our lives forever. Let’s go exploring! Operation: Terminal Velocity is a hands-on science based curriculum produced by JASON Learning in partnership with the National Geographic Society. 

About the presenter: 

Aaron works with Schools and Educational Systems to develop and implement engaging, real-world STEM learning experiences in the classroom. He believes that for students to make lasting connections it is imperative that they engage in, and explore, relevant rich learning opportunities. By developing the skills of critical and creative thinking, problem solving and design ideas and solutions, students form links with what is being taught in the classroom with the real world. For the past 15 years Aaron has worked with thousands of gifted & talented students and teachers both in Australia and around the world conducting practical hands-on learning workshops around student centred learning, real world applications of skills and developing ways participants can explore and express themselves and their ideas using technology. One of his primary roles is to coordinate the Australian region of JASON Learning, a not for profit, hands-on STEM curricula in partnership with National Geographic whose mission is to "inspire and educate students everywhere through real science and exploration.

EcoWarriors: Exploration in Ecology and Conservation with Laurie Strommer SOLD OUT

How are we going to save endangered species?

In this fast-paced and hands-on workshop, we’ll work with the tools scientists use to conserve biodiversity. You will investigate foraging and migration, explore predator ecology, discover the complexities of endangered species management, unravel DNA and family trees, meet characters who have made a difference, and create an action plan to address a conservation conundrum. We’ll romp through science, values, choices and challenges in biodiversity conservation.

About the presenter: 

Laurie always wanted to save the whales when she grew up. That dream evolved into a series of jobs in conservation and education. She protected wild things and places as a Park Ranger in the USA – including at Glacier Bay, where there are humpbacks and orcas. She was a birding guide and a skiing natural history interpreter. Then she fell in love with Hawaii, where her PhD research was about conservation of threatened and endangered Hawaiian forest birds. In Australia, she has organized science fairs and mentored young scientists, taught science workshops, and worked as an environmental educator. She is passionate about Conservation Biology, and excited to lead students towards understanding some of the tools and conundrums of the subject.

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