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Eyeballs and cabbage juice at South Perth Primary

by Steve Dalby

As part of iiNet’s community support program, we recently assisted South Perth Primary School in running a Science Day for its students. To get things going we covered the cost of classroom materials and merit awards for those who performed particularly well in the challenges.

I went along on the day to assist both the Principal, Karen Owens, and teacher and coordinator, Linda Dalby, to hand out Merit Awards to 13 students across all the grades. The awards were made at a full school assembly following the completion of the day’s experimentation.

Earlier, as I wandered around the 113 year old, red brick school buildings, nestled close by the Perth Zoo, I had a chance to check out a variety of the students’ investigations. The experiments – led by the teachers, but conducted by the kids – included one (noticeably smelly) class dissecting a large collection of fish eyeballs. Another nearby class was using litres of red cabbage juice to indicate the relative pH of a large variety of common household substances and another rather animated group was observing the gooey interaction of a mixture of vegetable oil, water, red food colouring and antacid tablets.

As I moved from class to class I heard the common warning “Scientists do not eat their experiments!” – although that didn’t seem really necessary in the fish-eye room.

During the course of the day, teachers remained in their rooms supervising while all students had the time to move around and participate in three different experiments, out of the thirteen possible.

The Science Day was a big hit with the students, as were our iiNet mascots ‘iirene’ and ‘iian’ – ably assisted by Nikkita Dixon, Sam Birmingham, Geoff Searle and Chris Hopkins. Feedback from the school was very positive, with one parent (and school Councilor) contacting the Principal, the next morning, to advise that her son had told her that “yesterday was the best school day of my life !” – well at least one of them thought it was worthwhile.

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