Science aims to develop responsible and enterprising citizens, capable of making informed decisions based on sound scientific evidence. Scientific literacy is encouraged through a variety of learning experiences that reflect topical issues. Across all year levels, skills are developed and enhanced within the broad areas of scientific knowledge: Energy and Force, Matter, Living Things, Earth and Space and Science as a Human Endeavour. These areas are taught as a range of topics, of varying lengths. They are incorporated into patterns of study appropriate for groups of students with similar abilities.
There is a progressive development of ideas, concepts and skills from junior (Years 7 and 8) to senior (Years 9 and 10) Science. Level of skill development is determined by the student’s ability to apply ideas and concepts to common everyday life situations. In Level 1 and ACE the emphasis is on foundation science for tertiary studies.
To develop students with a global understanding of our world and the ways in which we impact it.
Respect the evolving nature of human knowledge
Develop critical thinking processes
Understand fundamental scientific principles
Develop rational and logical problem-solving skills
Create sceptical thinkers who challenge ideas and information
Analyse information and make ethical judgements
Efficiently and effectively communicate knowledge and ideas
Predict and plan appropriate methods to test ideas and understanding
Make decisions and act based on evidence and observation
Endeavour to always deepen knowledge and understanding
Foster curiosity for the natural wonders of the universe
Science provides opportunities for students to develop an understanding of important scientific concepts and processes, including the practices used to develop scientific knowledge, of the contribution science makes to our culture and society, and its applications in our lives. The curriculum supports students to develop the scientific knowledge, understandings and skills to make informed decisions about local, national and global issues and to participate, if they so wish, in science-related careers.
Melrose Science classes are mainstream based classes. This means that each class contains students with a range of understanding and ability. Enabling students to develop educationally and socially in the class room.
Assessment for all students is based on the achievement standards in the Australian Curriculum. Students have common, moderated assessment. Students complete practical and theoretical assessment items.
Science Staff Faculty
Ryan Kay, Renu Narayan, Renee Phillips, Geoff McNamara, Ewa Blaszkowska, Greg Tozer, Humaira Jalil, Crtomir Kores, Peter Freeman
ACE Science and the ACE Science Education Centre
ACE Science is a unique opportunity in the ACT to engage with contemporary science and engineering. ACE Science is designed for students with a specific interest in Science, to develop within them an awareness of contemporary science and engineering, their philosophy, practice and laboratory environments.
ACE Science is a teaching programme based at the Science Education Centre (see below) at Melrose High School and also makes use of MSATT at Mount Stromlo Observatory. ACE Science is based on the Australian Curriculum – Science, however it includes additional material derived from interviews with a range of academics, researchers and teachers. The philosophical basis of ACE Science is to emulate, as closely as possible, modern professional scientific practise. Its specific goals for the students therefore include the following.
Establishing and maintaining high curiosity about science and its discoveries.
High standards in experiment design, measurement and calculation skills, correct use of terminology, and error analysis.
Understanding and mastery of a range of scientific writing skills.
Developing and habitually applying sceptical thinking.
An appreciation of the ultimate importance of evidence in science and, as a result, its uniqueness in human understanding of the natural and manufactured world.
A deeper understanding of the philosophical basis of science as a way of knowing, and how science differs from other human attempts to understand the universe.
The SEC is open every lunch time for students to work, ask questions, and seek feedback on assignments, etc. This is an ideal time to complete the homework if they have other commitments outside of school hours. Tutorials will be held on an ad hoc basis. Students can also contact me at any time via email for proof reading and advice on educational matters.
The ACE Science Education Centre (SEC) is a dedicated facility for ACE Science students to work on medium- and long-term student-centered science investigations. Opened by Australia’s Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb in 2014, the SEC consists of the Teaching Laboratory, Physics Laboratory and ACE Laboratory.
The Teaching Laboratory is a fully equipped teaching space for ACE Science classes as well as Science Seminars presented by practising scientists and engineers. It includes data displays for meteorology and seismology continually updated in real time from instruments located in the SEC.
The ACE Laboratory is a generic laboratory space that allows students to pursue experiments without time constraints of a single lesson: equipment can be set up and left for several lessons as experiments progress. This is especially important for the Science Investigations, which all students complete over several weeks. The Physics Laboratory allows for longer-term physics demonstrations and experiments.
An important feature of the SEC is the installation of sensors for gathering real-world data for use in student-centered investigations. Current facilities include suites of data loggers with a variety of sensors, oscilloscopes, air track, ripple tank, optical benches and microscopes. The SEC also features a weather station, and ACE Science was host to the national pilot seismometer in AuScope’s Australian Seismometers in Schools network. In 2014 we became the national pilot for the Geospatial-in-Schools network with the installation of a GNSS antenna providing centimeter precision measurements of the location of Melrose High School.
To cater for students interested in Astronomy, the McNamara-Saunders Astronomical Teaching Telescope (MSATT) was constructed at Mount Stromlo Observatory. MSATT is a facility for public high school and college students to undertake longer-term, student-centred projects in astronomy and astrophysics. MSATT is a cooperative project between private donors and the Australian National University, with the full support of the ACT Education Directorate. It was launched in March 2017 by the Director General of the ACT Education Directorate, Ms. Natalie Howson, ANU Vice Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt, and Professor Ken Freeman.
Science Mentors partners students with a practitioner in the field of the student’s interest. Students undertake a six-month long investigation requiring experimentation (either laboratory or theoretical, depending on their interest). They then analyse and report on their findings, culminating in a fully referenced and refereed report. Mentors guide students through the project drawing on their experience and expertise to help the student develop authentic investigative, experimental and report writing skills.
Science Mentors students are allocated their own workstations in the Science Education Centre (see below) for the duration of their project, typically six to eight months. These workstations are specifically designed for laboratory work where required. Students interested in astronomy are allocated projects and mentors through MSATT at Mount Stromlo Observatory
Science Tours are designed to familiarise students with working science and engineering laboratories, as well as Canberra’s engineered and natural environment. Science Tours introduce students to universities as places of future study and expose student to a wide range of science disciplines. Students are required to take notes throughout the Tours. Students attend four Science Tours each year to up to eight different venues.
Science Work Experience
Year 10 ACE Science students have been successfully placed at a variety of science and engineering facilities in and around Canberra. Fields include medicine, fiber optics, entomology, science communication, chemistry, psychology, radio engineering and physics. Science Work Experience is often coupled with Science Mentors projects (see below).
Science Seminars are fortnightly presentations by speakers from academia and industry ranging from undergraduate students to professors. Fields range from cosmology to medicine, entomology to radio physics.
Astronomy will help students understanding of the nature of the universe and the things it contains, how to use star charts to explore the night sky, how to use telescopes, and conceptual understanding of the geometry of the universe on its various scales. The history of astronomy and how it impacted our cultural and philosophical understanding of the universe and our place in it is also discussed. The course includes sessions under the night sky using telescopes. From 2017, students will have regular access to the McNamara-Saunders Astronomical Teaching Telescope at Mount Stromlo.
Course length: 4 x semester units. Astronomy is the most visually stunning and mind-expanding of all the sciences. It opens a door onto the rest of the universe that all of us can walk through and begin to explore. Astronomy is an academic subject for anyone who has ever looked up at the night sky and wondered why it is the way it is, what’s there, and what’s beyond? Students look at the nature of stars and planets, the origin of the universe, the possibility of life on other planets, and how to use telescopes. There is no assumed prior knowledge although while all levels of student are welcome this program will challenge students to think and understand from a scientific and mathematical perspective.
Students can enrol in Astronomy at any point, completing the four semester-length units in any order for a comprehensive treatment of the subject.