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 experienced teachers who are qualified or experienced 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. 


2021 Programs

 Our July workshops are locked in!  Please read below for details. We're still operating with a half-sized program due to COVID risks, but are pleased to include several new workshops among some older favourites. 

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Junior Scientia workshops Year 3-4

Standing on Shaky Ground with Christopher Allum

Can you design a building to be earthquake-proof? 

Students will explore and discover the structure of the Earth and the reasons why earthquakes occur. You will learn about design principles behind earthquake resistant buildings and some features engineers think about in the design and construction of flexible, earthquake resistant buildings. You will be then challenged to design and build an earthquake-resistant building using simple materials. Our challenge to you is to select the type of building (house, school, apartment block or skyscraper) you want to design!

About the presenter:

Christopher is a highly qualified school executive who is passionate about gifted education. This is evidenced by his Master of Education (Gifted Education) completed at UNSW in 2019 and successful in-school leadership as a gifted education coordinator. In this role, he promotes the Department of Education's HPGE policy and delivers evidence-informed professional learning to staff.  Christopher co-convened the Northern Beaches Learning Alliance HPGE network group in 2020 and worked closely with teachers and school leaders from across the network to enhance opportunities for students identified as HPGE. In the wider professional community, his action research project into school programming models and curriculum adjustment for gifted students was selected as a finalist in the 2020 NSW Teacher's Guild Research Awards.

Magical Muggle Studies with Nathalia Velez

Consider this your personal invitation to attend a magical wizarding school! The focus of this immersive workshop will be to explore the SCIENCE behind the Harry Potter phenomenon.  You will also use your artistic abilities in scientific illustrations, and your creative writing skills. 

In our Zoology lecture series, you will be learning all about the fantastic creatures that bridge the muggle world and the magical realm. Apprentices will attend a series of crazy chemistry labs (with a strong emphasis on edible science), where you will learn how to make polyjuice potions, bubbling cauldrons, and master the art of molecular gastronomy. You will also delve into highly specialised branches of science such as herbology, forensic science, and the physics of matter (did you know that chameleon slime changes colour too?).

What to bring:

Please bring these labelled items in a labelled pencil case: a pencil for writing, eraser, sharpener, textas, a black marker, a WHITE pencil.The presenter has also asked that if anyone has a Stylus pen (a pen for writing on tablets) to bring one in. There will be spares for those who do not have one.



Think Like a Leader!  Philosophy, Ethics, and Diplomacy with Lucy Birts

Which is more powerful: love or hate? Do you have to see something to believe it exists? How do logic and ethics influence how laws are made? Be prepared to exercise your brains in this free-thinking philosophy course! We will learn about how ethics and philosophy have developed over time, we will participate in numerous thought experiments, and we will put our values and ethics to the test as we role-play running our own country and making our own laws.

About the presenter:

Lucy is currently Gifted and Talented Coordinator K-6 at St Andrew's Cathedral School in Sydney. She holds a Masters with Excellence in Gifted Education from UNSW and she is passionate about educating and inspiring our brightest minds! Lucy was awarded the ACEL Mary Armstrong Early Career Leadership Award 2020 for her work in the field of Gifted Education.

Junior Scientia workshops Year 5-6

Touch, Taste, Imagine: The Art of Creative Writing with Madeleine Boyle

What makes a good short story? This 3-day intensive Creative Writing class will challenge gifted writers in Years 5 and 6 – that’s you! – to use evocative language to describe a variety of settings, characters, atmosphere and establish tension to entice your reader. You will learn to use sensory imagery and understand the rhythm of writing in this course, culminating in writing your own short story! We analyse the key elements of effective narratives and discuss strategies to write your own engaging original story. You will have the opportunity to evaluate your peers’ stories and reflect on your own writing practice as well. This is a great course if you love to write and want to extend your imaginative writing skills to really draw the reader into another world!  

About the presenter:

Madeleine completed her Masters in Gifted Education at UNSW (graduating 'with Excellence') in 2019, after graduating with first class honours from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Education (Performance Studies) and Bachelor Education (Secondary) in 2014. She is currently the Faculty Coordinator of Drama at St Augustine's College, Brookvale,  teaching Drama and English for Years 5-12, as well as Gifted Education classes ('IGNITE' program) for Years 6-8. Her Year 6 IGNITE writing class in 2020 received first place in the Write a Book in a Day Competition for the 'Best Illustrated Book' category. Madeleine also teaches Philosophy and Ethics IGNITE classes for Years 6-8. 


EcoWarriors: Exploration in Ecology and Conservation with Laurie Strommer

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. 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. She is passionate about Conservation Biology, and excited to lead students towards understanding some of the tools and conundrums of the subject. 


The Art of Cryptography with Daniel Judd

Imagine this: you are the legendary Agent 006½, and you’re on a mission to try and save the world (again - it keeps getting into trouble). You’ve come across some valuable information, but you're pretty sure that you’re being watched! How do you report back to your team in a way that keeps your work secret? You have to write in code!  

In this workshop you will learn all about the art of Cryptography. Cryptography is all about converting whatever you write to secret code that can’t be read by anyone except for those who know how to decode your cypher. Of course, there's also the other half of the job, which is to break unknown coded messages. This workshop involves multiple skills and areas of knowledge, including mathematics, problem solving, writing and even a little bit of creativity.

About the presenter: 

Daniel's education background includes a BA in Education and Linguistics (with G&T units), BTeach, COGE (Certificate of Gifted Education). He has more than a decade's experience in gifted education consultancy for various primary and secondary schools, including (a) professional development of staff; (b) evaluation of existing programs and provisions for gifted students; (c) establishment of programs and provisions; and (d) intervention for gifted students with specific needs.

Interests in respect to teaching and gifted education are: “Middle School”, Primary-to-High School transition, Science Teaching, Mathematics Teaching, Computing, Social Media use by schools, staff and students and LBOTE/Gifted students, among others.

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