Science Time

Motivating students and teachers

Shows

Believe it or Not?

 

There are two versions of this presentation; upper primary and secondary/adult.

What do You Reckon?

Have ALIENS from another planet landed on Earth? Can some people read YOUR mind? Is TELEKINESIS—what is that?— . . .? What is science? Can science answer ALL questions?

Share Your Opinion / Join in

See the Yip Yip stick, how science can be used to test explanations and claims, and share your point of view (e.g., can wearing jewellery made from certain crystals help to keep you healthy?).

Highly Relevant to Everyday Life

Understand the scientific method, how science is done, and the strengths and limitations of science. And more.

alien

The secondary/adult version of this presentation includes:

  • What distinguishes science from other ways in which humans can experience the world?
  • Need there be conflict between science and religion?
  • How does science progress as a field?
  • How are descriptive and causal questions answered differently in science?

Outcomes 

The content of this show relates to the following content descriptions of the Australian Curriculum: Science.
 
Science Understanding: 
Science as a Human Endeavour: 
Science Inquiry Skills: 

Suitability

Suitable for upper primary and secondary/adult.

Cost

Cost: $6.00, plus 60c GST, per student
Minimum: $660, plus $66 GST

Venue Requirements 

Data projector and screen.

Feedback From Schools

  • Coming.

Lightning: So Frightening

What is lightning? What warning signs does lightning give? Does a lightning flash travel upwards or downwards? Why does lightning flicker? Why isn't it a good idea to lie down on the ground when there is a thunder storm around? Why does lightning sometimes kill but at other times does not? Why do so many people die unnecessarily after being struck by lightning? What causes thunder, and why does it rumble? Who holds the world record for the total number of times being struck by lightning and surviving, and what happened to him on each occasion?

See the strong spark from a Leyden jar, even longer sparks from a one-half-million-volt Tesla coil, the effect of electricity on the muscles of students (ouch!!), how lightning caused an Italian church to explode, what happens when lightning strikes a car, and more, and hear some fascinating stories involving lightning.

lightning

Study how Benjamin Franklin determined the nature of lightning, how and why lightning affects the human body, the concept of the lightning rod (including its application in the lightning rod umbrella), different types of lightning strikes to people and other animals, ways to protect yourself from being struck by lightning (including safe places to be during an electrical storm, a common misconception about why being in a vehicle can protect you from lightning, and why lightning can affect an oak tree more than a gum tree, and come away with a very much heightened appreciation of the dangers of lightning.

Outcomes 

The content of this show relates to the following content descriptions of the Australian Curriculum: Science.
 
Science Understanding: 
Science as a Human Endeavour: 
Science Inquiry Skills: 

Suitability

Suitable for upper primary and all secondary; even Year 12 Physics.

Cost

Cost: $6.00, plus 60c GST, per student
Minimum: $660, plus $66 GST
Teacher Notes supplied

Venue Requirements 

Data projector and screen; three tables; enclosed venue (sparks cannot be seen in bright light); ground (or an earthed building frame) within 9 m of the demonstration area; close fire alarms, computers, and other electronic devices turned off during show (electrical signals may activate an alarm).

Feedback From Schools

  • "The activities were exciting, good to join in, I liked the examples and stories . . . the lightning machine was very cool, you could have "zapped" us more strongly and for longer . . . an awesome show, I hope we can do that again, learnt some interesting things . . . it could have gone for a tad longer." Students, Inglewood State School, Queensland
  • “On behalf of the Staff and students, thank you; we thoroughly enjoyed your show. You were very engaging and funny and sure knew how to make science interesting. Jemma Stevens, Head of Department (Science), Woree State High School, Cairns, Qld 
  • “Thank you so much for a terrific show. The very positive student comments included that it was very interesting and exciting and that you were an enthusiastic presenter. We will be in touch next year.” Craig McGrath, Head of Science, Aviation High School, Brisbane, Qld

Electricity: A Shocking Experience

 
Become immersed in a highly visual and entertaining 1-hour story of the nature of electricity, and how this potentially very dangerous form of energy has been "tamed" and put to use for the common good.
 
See a 100 000-volt Van de Graaff generator, human battery, one-half-metre-long indoor sparks, St. Elmo's fire, one-half-million-volt Tesla coil, current in special gases, transmission of electrical power without wires, and much more, and learn some fascinating historical facts about the people and events behind advances in electrical technology.
 
Study the origin of electricity, behaviour of charged objects, production and use of electric current and associated energy changes, conductors and insulators, production of X-rays and radio waves, the difference between volts and amps and between DC and AC, the significance of a high voltage sign, electrical safety, and features of high voltage, high frequency electricity (including its effect on the human body!!), and appreciate the contribution of electricity to our social and economic well-being.
tesla

Outcomes 

The content of this show relates to the following content descriptions of the Australian Curriculum: Science.
 
Science Understanding: 
Science as a Human Endeavour: 
Science Inquiry Skills: 

Suitability

Suitable for upper primary and lower secondary. A modified Magic Science show for lower primary is also available.

Cost

Cost: $6.00, plus 60c GST, per student
Minimum: $660, plus $66 GST
Teacher Notes supplied

Venue Requirements 

Data projector and screen; three tables; enclosed venue (sparks cannot be seen in bright light); ground (or an earthed building frame) within 9 m of the demonstration area; close fire alarms, computers, and other electronic devices turned off during show (electrical signals may activate an alarm).

Feedback From Schools

  • "Peter's electricity show was very well received. The children were engaged and couldn't stop talking about it. One of the children said 'I really learnt a lot.' This was from a child who usually does not engage in education very much at all. So congratulations to Peter and thank you for the opportunity of introducing him to our school. Chris Pitman, Boondall State School, Brisbane
  • "Peter captivated the students with his knowledge and demonstrations. His program was very well structured and, being an experienced teacher, his communication with the students was excellent. The program provided wonderful enrichment for all the children whilst covering significant learning outcomes for the class. All experiments were conducted with extreme safety. Peter's presentation is very educational and good value for money." Sandra Cox, Redeemer Lutheran Primary School, Biloela
  • "Very good show. Informative, a lot of interaction, high interest, safety conscious, clear, at the children's level of understanding, held their attention, well explained." Upper school teachers, Liddiard Road Primary School, Traralgon, Victoria
  • "Good involvement of audience. Interesting way to present and learn about electricity. Good opportunity for younger students—many primary school students don't get to do that sort of science." Mick Godbold, Sheldon College
  • "Great audience involvement. Peter was able to introduce students to much more than we could as classroom teachers (e.g., Tesla coil). Staff also learned more! Children were "spellbound"! Peter had a great approach for littlies." Sioned Ruhmann, Gunnedah South Public School

Air: Invisible yet so Effective

"Wow, I had no idea that air could do that." Using novel equipment that includes a vacuum pump, other vacuum apparatus, and liquid air, Peter performs demonstrations, and conducts investigations, that grab students' attention, get them thinking, broaden their understanding, and foster a keen interest in science.

This dynamic, 1-hour show is a combination of lecture, demonstration, question and answer, and student involvement that has students making predictions about, and developing explanations for, the observed phenomena. See the refusing funnel, objects released in a vacuum, a suspended student (and teacher!), expanding and shrinking balloons, a frozen squash ball break, a tin explode, and more, plus make a cloud.

The show reinforces concepts that include air as an occupier of space, objects falling in air compared with in a vacuum, the particle model of matter, pressure, expansion and contraction, and phase changes. It also addresses common student misconceptions and enriches students' understanding by extending syllabus topics both conceptually and contextually.

air

Outcomes

The content of this show relates to the following content descriptions of the Australian Curriculum: Science.
 
Science Understanding: ACSSU003, 018, 046, 074, 077, 095, 118, 151.
Science as a Human Endeavour: ACSHE013, 021, 034, 050, 061, 081, 098.
Science Inquiry Skills: ACSIS014, 011, 233, 012, 024, 212, 037, 214, 042, 215, 060, 064, 216, 071, 218, 093, 221, 110, 124, 133, 139, 148, 170, 174, 204, 208.

Suitability

Suitable for upper primary and lower secondary. A modified Magic Science show for lower primary is also available.

Cost

Cost: $6.00, plus 60c GST, per student
Minimum: $660, plus $66 GST
Teacher Notes supplied

Venue Requirements 

Data projector and screen (optional), minimum ceiling height 2.75 m, two tables, enclosed or undercover venue.

Feedback From Schools

  • "It was a great show--the children loved it and were still talking about it weeks after. The language and experiments were at the children's level, it was funny enough to get their attention and serious enough to be educational . . . easy to hear--even if at the back . . . student involvement was terrific.  Marina Kooyman, Brassall State School, Queensland
  • "We would definitely like you to return again next year. The children appreciated the show very much, and have asked for more." Richard Bushell, Denmark Primary School, Western Australia
  • "This was a very motivating show, and the children were very excited to participate in the question and answers.  Liz Crawford, St Joseph's School, Beechworth, Victoria
  • "I really liked the way that Peter was able to engage such a wide range of students. Teachers also enjoyed the performance. Well done!!"  Ebony Ransom, Lock Area School, Lock, South Australia
  • "This was an excellent show. Many thanks from staff and students. The explanations of experiments were easy to understand. Involving the students in the experiments, and in trying to answer 'why,' was great."  Kayte Gillinder, St. George State School
  • "Great! Perfect! Excellent! Awesome! . . . I learnt a lot." Students, Killarney State School
  • "Had both staff and students enthralled." Susan Graham, Robinvale Consolidated School
  • "Very professional performance which 'hooked' children immediately. Language was very appropriate . . . . Follow-up activities suitable. Jo-Anne Shephard, Middlemount Community School
  • "They all thought it was excellent when I spoke to them afterwards." Lee Barker, Aberfoyle Park High School
  • "I would highly recommend this performance." Helen Digby, Birchip Community School
  • "It was great to see someone who actually explained some concepts . . . as well as doing the fun demonstrations. A good variety of activities." St Rita's College, Brisbane
  • "Very well done--kid's interest was maintained right through." Barry Parker, Clarence High School

Combustion: Some Burning Questions

 This 1-hour presentation takes students on a fascinating journey through the nature of combustion. It addresses concepts which include the fire diamond, combustion as a chemical reaction, flame retardants, extinguishing fires, different kinds of combustion, sparks and colours in fireworks, the effect of particle size on combustion, and the safe use of fire in the stunt industry.

Students will see, among other things, burning steel, spontaneous combustion, use of a fire extinguisher, sparks, brilliantly burning materials, a dust flare, and "cool" fire and understand regulations governing the labelling of children's night clothes. They will come away with a deep fascination, and very healthy respect, for the phenomenon we call fire.

silo explosion

Outcomes 

The content of this show relates to the following content descriptions of the Australian Curriculum: Science.
 
Science Understanding: 
Science as a Human Endeavour: 
Science Inquiry Skills: 

Suitability

Suitable for upper primary and lower secondary. A modified Magic Science show for lower primary is also available.

Cost

Cost: $6.00, plus 60c GST, per student
Minimum: $660, plus $66 GST
Teacher Notes supplied

Venue Requirements 

Data projector and screen, three tables, enclosed venue (flames cannot be seen in bright light).

Feedback From Schools

  • “Many awesome demonstrations. The students were engaged and eager to talk about the science in the show.” Michelle Jarrett, Sathya Sai School, Murwillumbah, NSW
  • "They loved it. The content was terrific, and younger children enjoyed the actual experiments, like the flames. Very organised, liked the consistent encouragement for audience participation. Sue Salsbury, The Scots School, Albury
  • "The students were enthused to learn more about combustion . . . There was a wonderful rapport with the class . . . a very worthwhile, quality programme and . . . a value for money activity." Ken Steele, Mornington Island State School