Last week the Arthur Holt Library hosted some activities for Year 7 and Year 8 during Science Week.

Since we’re all about reading, research, writing and creativity, we decided to pull together expertise from different areas and offer several sessions for our boys to attend.

Our library staff ran reading workshops and a scientific curiosities exhibition, we had science fiction writers explore elements of writing and reading, we held a live Q&A Skype session with a jet propulsion expert who works with NASA, an astrophysics lesson in the Centenary Centre gym and a hugely popular experience from OneGiantLeap Australia involving micro drones, flight simulators and even a Mars rover.

We converted our Library spaces into reading nooks, assembly areas and workshop rooms to accommodate over 200 boys, dividing them into halves so that half enjoyed the “indoor” activities and half enjoyed our “outdoor” activities in the CC gym. As we are a highly flexible facility, it only took our team about 15 minutes to have everything converted from “normal” to “new”, laptops connected and everything ready to go.

Our team provided incredible insight into the collection through their carefully selected reading passages. The combination of teachers and library services specialists gives a dynamic energy to the activities we deliver. We strive to connect our visitors and our collection to expand their reading experience and, further, to deepen their ability to communicate, to learn and to understand the world around them.

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Ms Courtenay reads aloud to a group of our Year 8 students in the Brainstorm Room. Did you know most adults stop reading to their students by the age of 9? Research shows that we should keep reading to and with them in order for them to be more highly competent and confident readers for life.

David Henley and Rowan McAuley provided the boys with mind-bending ways to create science-fiction and to read like a detective, blended into a literary soup of creative and critical thinking.

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Author Rowan McAuley presenting to a group of Year 8 students in the Arthur Holt Library. Reading is a skill that helps in all areas of life, from better health outcomes to better job prospects.

Science is a subject that does not stand alone. As with many of the established ‘disciplines’, scientific inquiry and knowledge is highly connected and contingent upon other domains of knowledge, such as History. Mr Dixon, one of our academic staff at Trinity Grammar School, donated some of his extensive collection of scientific instruments, illustrations and curiosities to the Arthur Holt Library so that our boys could investigate the weird and wonderful history of science across the world.

Our visiting presenter from the University of Sydney, soon-to-be-PhD candidate Kathryn Ross introduced the boys to lesser-known constellations and explored the Stellarium software that shows various parts of the galaxy with incredible detail. The boys then had a few minutes to quickly organise themselves or materials into the pattern of one of three constellations, using only pieces of string and post-it notes to connect the stars.

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Kathryn Ross from the University of Sydney presenting to our Year 8 students.

One of the most popular sessions was that provided by Jackie and Bob from OneGiantLeap Australia. Jackie and Bob have extensive background in education and aviation, combining to deliver an outstanding experience for students of all ages. We were exceptionally lucky to be able to book all of our presenters during Science Week, but only Jackie and Bob had an event for 30,000 people at Sydney Olympic Park the next day!

Our students were able to take part in either piloting micro drones, trying out a flight simulator or attempting to steer a Mars rover, each one extremely well attended and engaged with. The only downside was that with so many students and limited time, some could only watch!

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Year 7 students trying out the OneGiantLeap flight simulators.

Overall, our Science Week activities seemed to surpass the expectations of students, who we hope now see connections between their learning world and that of science, who can be inspired by the stories of others, and who can jump into other worlds simply by picking up a book (until they get the right training!)

Some other photos and videos can be accessed via our Instagram page. Follow us at @tgslibrary

 

By: Mr Esterman

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