Shaping & Honing 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 skillset 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. 

Workshops typically run during the school holidays in January and July each year. Scholarship and Equity Advanced Placement applications are accepted prior to main round registrations.

Past workshops in the Junior Scientia Challenge have included:

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. 

It's All Ancient Greek to Me! Logic and Virtue Ethics in Western Philosophy 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 talk big ideas in this discussion and role-play based workshop. Students learn about some of the greats, including Aristotle, Plato and Socrates, and have a look at ethics and philosophy in fables and storytelling. On the final day be students rule their own state and exercise their brains to solve some pretty intense ethical dilemmas! 

This workshop provides a super fun and challenging introduction to the world of philosophy and ethics. 

Let’s CLAY Away with Daryle Newman

If you can think outside the box and don’t mind getting your hands dirty, then this is the class for you. In this intensive ART program students explore the properties and processes of CLAY in order to problem solve and create pottery prototypes of everyday objects that meet the demands of real-world challenges. Together we practice the art of patience, perseverance, and reflection as we re-design, re-make, or re-build our objects. This program is for the dreamers, the collaborators, and the creators amongst us so prepare to meditate on the problem, be ready to bounce your ideas around with your classmates and listen to theirs, and expect to get your hands dirty building your results out of Clay. 


Bridging the Gap: Engineering our World with Julia Tritsch

What does an engineer have to consider when designing a bridge? In this workshop students take on the role of engineers to build their own bridge, experimenting with a range of materials and designs. We explore how bridges have changed over time, comparing different types of bridges throughout the world, and experimenting with the science and engineering behind them. After examining the elements of bridge building, students design and build a unique bridge.

Foundations of Musical Composition: Budding songwriters and composers please apply with Caroline Cady

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 work on singing exercises to warm up and then focus on understanding how scales and arpeggios help us to compose simple melodies. We 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. The course is based around the experience and instrumentation of the students attending.

  • 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.

The Engineer Challenge with Yooie Cho

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.

The Art of Cryptography with Daniel Judd

Imagine this: you are the legendary 006 ½, and you’re on a mission to try and save the world (again). You’ve come across some valuable information that will help you to finally beat your enemies but you think you’re being watched! How do you report back to your boss and the rest of your team, and make sure that no-one else can read what you have to say? You write to them in code!

In this workshop students 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. We discussing ways to break the codes that other people have written. Students also get to create their own secret method of encrypting messages.

The Science of Earth’s Changing Climate with Aaron MacLeod

Today everyone is talking about Earth's changing climate and the impact of global warming. But what does that mean? How do we even know that the Earth’s climate is changing? Join us on this expedition as you investigate scientific principles (through hands-on experiments we will begin to discover the integral role the ocean plays in the Earth’s Climate) behind Earth’s Climate and the integral role that the ocean plays.

Over the three days, through a range of real-world hands-on experiments, students explore: the Scientific Process; physical and chemical properties of water; mapping and features of the ocean floor; global winds and deep ocean currents; the Carbon Cycle; the Coriolis Effect; how Earth’s climate has been recorded; natural causes of climate change; and human impact on climate change.

Most importantly, students work with a group of like-minded students to understand the scientific principles behind Earth’s climate and learn that as global citizens and scientists we have a real impact on the local and global environment and can be positive catalysts for change.

‘The Science of Earth’s Changing Climate’ is based on the hands-on science curriculum 'Climate: Seas of Change’ produced by JASON Learning in partnership with the National Geographic Society.

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 explore the mystery of magic squares; counting embedded figures and irregular 3D cubes; discover different types of number and diagram patterns and many more. 

Big Ideas and 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!

The Colour of Science with Jenny Zhang

Science is all around us. From the air you breathe (Carbon dioxide, oxygen and lots of nitrogen) to everything we see. This workshop examines how colour can be used to improve our understanding of how the world around us works. It's about the science of colour, and the colours of science.

You learn what science is and how to undertake the rigours of scientific research including understanding the differences between observations and inferences and the scientific method. You learn the basic concepts within science that explain how our world works.

We cover

  • How colours are produced by light and the difference between additive and subtractive colours
  • How diffusion works
  • How temperature affects the rate of crystal formation
  • What is chromatography and how is it used?

An Introduction to Software Development with Daniel Comben

Our lives are surrounded by technology and software. Imagine if you had the power to create your own custom software solutions and technologies that could change the world around you for the better. In this workshop, we explore an introduction to software development using the Python programming language.

This workshop provides you with a stepping stone into the field of software development. No previous programming experience is required. You will learn fundamental concepts from programming and computer science and apply these to a wide range of fun and challenging problems and puzzles through hands-on activities. Each of these skills will be utilised in the development of a capstone project which will be the first level of an interactive text-based game. Participants develop a virtual world which their players will be able to explore.

Activities include

  • Understanding and working with different data types
  • Making decisions with ‘if’ statements and using conditional operators as well as repetition using loops
  • The ability to perform string manipulation
  • An understanding of Python lists
  • The use of functions for problem decomposition
  • Use of the above concepts to develop reliable software
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