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National Science Week in Victoria: 2023 Community Grant Recipients

We’re delighted to announce this year’s recipients of Community Grants for National Science Week in Victoria, coming up in August 2023! Thanks to new support from Victoria’s Department of Education, we have been able to extend our program to fund $18,827 for 21 programs and events at 18 public libraries and community organisations across the State of Victoria.

Once again, these were assessed through consideration of program quality, geographic distribution, relative disadvantage and value for money, along with an alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goals and the targeting of equity groups.

Please congratulate the following grant recipients, who will be delivering these programs during National Science Week (12 – 20 August) this year:

Time Detectives: Cold Case (12 August) – The National Trust of Australia

Archaeologists are time travellers. We use the everyday items of the past to build portals through time and space; windows through which we can view landscapes thousands of years old and the people and cultures that they supported. We analyse these everyday items through an ever-increasing array of scientific techniques to explore questions such as the age of artefacts, what they were made from, why they were made how they were used. In this session, you will work collaboratively with your Dig Team to help solve an archaeological cold case. Under the guidance of your Dig Director, you will be introduced to archaeological methodologies, tools and techniques and learn how to apply these to a simulated archaeological site. As Time Detectives, you will collect, recover, analyse and interpret archaeological evidence, interrogating different hypotheses along the way. At the end of the session, you will present your findings to the rest of team and make your case for the theory that you think best fits the evidence.

In these sessions – one in South Yarra, the other in Geelong – NTV Education will provide an opportunity to experience modern archaeology  utilising place-based, object-based and experiential learning principles.

Everything Old is New Again – a new way to manage our urban environments (12 August) – Geography Victoria

During COVID people became more aware of their local area – they walked and rode within their 5 km limit for months and months. This project aims to assist people to now explore their backyard with environmental experts and to learn more about their local environment. Not only will it reveal the transformations that are happening in their city, we hope that it will galvanise them into getting involved in a more sustainable future. It will focus on the importance of water and sustainable practices in creating healthy and liveable communities. Learning about sustainable practices and rehabilitating the environment is part of life-long learning. The fieldtrip aims to inspire participants to implement and become engaged in more sustainable practices in their home and local environment.

There will be three specific areas explored during this event:

  • Yalukit Willam to explore the regeneration of the nature reserve
  • Elster Canal to study what wildlife persists in urban areas
  • Rippon Lea Eastate to learn about sustainable use of water using this heritage property’s remarkably extensive drainage system, which dates from the 1880s

Big Science Big Fun Show (12 August) – Frankston City Libraries

An introduction to the world of science, interactive experiments and demonstrations covering Newton’s third law, Physics, Chemistry & Cryogenics, demonstrated through gigantic bubbles, flying toilet paper, hair-raising electricity experiments, bubbling liquid nitrogen demonstrations, levitating beach balls, volunteers on a nail chair, a giant gyroscope, fireballs, and much more!

Get the Ball Rolling (from 12 August) – Goldfields Libraries

‘Get the ball rolling’ will invite visitors to the Woodend branch to engage with a set of interactive boards that allow participants to create and modify “marble runs” – a series of ramps, tunnels, jumps and funnels that control the path of a marble. The activity – designed by the Exploratorium Science Centre and made available online for others to emulate – is simple, open-ended and appeals to people of all ages. The Library will install a series of Marble Run boards in the centre of the space for the duration of Science Week to provoke discussion, collaboration and wonder. Signage and nearby STEM-related book displays will help celebrate National Science Week.

Launch into Science Week (13 August) – Ballarat Libraries

Ballarat Libraries, in partnership with Ballarat Observatory, invites the community to explore the wonders of astronomy and our natural world at Ballarat Observatory – an important scientific and historical facility – right in the heart of Ballarat.

Led by Observator tour lead, Judith Bailey, the session will include:

  • learning about different types of telescopes, including the disability access telescope, Federation-Adcock Telescope
  • an opportunity to launch water rockets and learn the science behind them
  • an opportunity to see and learn about the camera obscura

Ballarat Observatory is one of the oldest observatories in regional Australia, with one of the best collections of 18th to 21st Century telescopes. The buildings first opened in 1886, known as the Oddie Observatory. The Observatory has a commitment to public education and aims to make complex concepts understandable and enjoyable for all.

Scouting the Skies (13 August) – 2nd Mornington Sea Scouts

A technical payload will be built to be launched on a high altitude balloon. The Scouting group will be involved in the mission design, constructing the payload, and programming the radiosonde transmitter and camera system. The payload will be designed to record atmospheric data during the flight, such as temperature, air pressure, and CO2 concentration. It will also be able to record photos and video of the flight, showing the amazing panorama from the top of the stratosphere.

Weather and approvals permitting, the balloon flight will launch during National Science week.

Power Up Pakenham: Learn About Electricity (14 August) – MYLI

Pakenham Library will provide children with an opportunity to embark on multiple projects in groups of 4 (accompanied by parents/carers), working with the Snap Circuits 750 Educational Version Exploration Kit. This team-based event will be lead by a Children’s and Youth Librarian. Children and their families will be able to engage with the kits, with support from our facilitator to learn about electricity and electronics in a hands-on, fun workshop. The kits include many options for projects. We will also run the same program in our STEAM Club, which runs every Monday afternoon.

Coding with Robo Trains (14 August) – Eastern Regional Libraries

Coding with Robo Trains will be run at three librarie: Croydon Library, Boronia Library, and Yarra Junction Library. At each event, participants will learn the basics of coding by programming an electronic train to move efficiently around a train track.

Two events will be run for 7-11 year olds (at Boronia Library and Yarra Junction Library). As participants will have different levels of coding experience, we will start with the very basics while still providing options for those more advanced to experiment.

Learner coding concepts will be introduced with the tactile coloured squares, “Action Snaps”. Participants will place these tiles on the tracks, combining the different colours to create different code snippets. These pre-set codes will change the trains’ steering, speed, stopping, lights and sounds. Once participants understand how these codes work, they will use “Snap Editor” on the compatible app to create their own codes.

The third event will be run for kids aged 11-14 (at Croydon Library). This event will focus on advanced coding, through the block coding program Scratch. Participants will use block coding concepts to control their train to move efficiently around the track. Those who are ready for the challenge will be asked to join their tracks together and collaborate to avoid collisions as their trains move around the tracks.

These sessions provide an opportunity to discuss public transport, its social and ecological function, and how it is a sustainable alternative to cars and motor vehicles.

Create a Working Computer with Anything – even Playdough! (15 August) – Corangamite Moyne Library Service

Two consecutive sessions will be held at the library with teacher Tracey Gray, using Makey Makey kits. During this guided session, children can create any kind of ‘keyboard” using anything at hand like playdough or even bananas. Technology meets creativity! They will learn about circuits and how computers work while having fun.

Songs from the Lab (15 August) – Pint of Science

Experience the fusion of science and music in ‘Songs from the Lab.’ Brilliant scientists take the stage, sharing their groundbreaking research through captivating melodies. Prepare to be inspired, informed, and entertained during this hour-long performance celebrating the interplay of science and creativity. Join us for an unforgettable journey of scientific exploration through song.

Everyone’s an Inventor (15 August, 18 August) – Glenelg Library

An afternoon program that allows every kid to become an inventor! Makey Makey is a versatile and interactive invention kit that can be used to teach various STEM concepts, including electrical circuits, conductivity, coding/programming, and creative problem-solving. Makey Makey allows students to invent and design their own interactive projects using everyday objects as inputs, such as fruits, vegetables, or other conductive materials. This helps students think like an inventor and see the world as a construction kit. It can inspire kids in our community to think creatively, develop their own unique ideas, and express themselves through inventive projects.

Two after school events will be held in the libraries during Science Week, one in Casterton on Tuesday 15 August and the second in Portland on Friday 18 August.

Solar Cars (16 August) – East Gippsland Shire Library

Children attend one of the East Gippsland Shire Library Centres at either Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance, Orbost, Paynesville, Omeo or Mallacoota, where they will have the opportunity to be involved in a interactive session and learn about Solar Power. Topics covered will include: where solar power comes from, how its works, what we can do with solar power, examples of how we are currently using solar power in our day to day lives, and the benefits of using solar power to the community. As part of the one hour session children will listen to a presenter talk about Solar Power, participate in quizzes as well as make their own Solar vehicle. The event will be open to children aged 8-12 and their parents.

STEM Zone (16 August) – MYLI

MYLI – My Community Library (Warragul) will be collaborating with STEM Zone to explore this year’s Science Week topic of Innovation: Powering Future Industries. STEM Zone will be hosting a workshop to explore a number of different angles:

  • production of energy via sustainable alternatives
  • investigation of different types of fuels and how they can be used to create a greener, more sustainable yet productive future
  • exploring different technology through AI, virtual reality and robotics in order to investigate how these may be used to create future industries and solve current issues

Participants will be exploring solutions with a ‘creative station’ where they design and build a prototype for a problem or need in the community. They will also be able to explore different types of technology and learn how they can be used to create a better future.

Retro Game Design Workshop (16 August) – Eastern Regional Libraries

Conducted at Lilydale Library and Ferntree Gully Library, these afterschool events will teach participants to employ game design principles as they use block coding to create a retro arcade game. These sessions will provide an opportunity to discuss core games design concepts, and where we can see these in popular arcade games. We will ask participants to think about what kind of arcade games they would like to create, and what they would need to include to achieve it.

The events will be run for participants aged 9-14. As participants will have differing levels of coding experience, we will introduce block coding concepts through simultaneously building a simple game while providing opportunities for those more advanced to experiment.

Participants will be tasked with creating a simple game that involves their character moving around the screen to pick up randomly generated objects. They will receive points for how many objects they pick up in a specified timeframe. They will create and customise both the character and objects, programming how they move, and where and how often the objects will appear.

They will design their arcade game on our library laptop suite, using the program MakeCode Arcade. Once completed, participants will export and test their game on an Elecfreaks Retro MakeCode Arcade Game Console. They will look at what can be changed and will edit their code on the laptop before exporting it again. Participants will also be encouraged to swap consoles and test each other’s creations.

Throughout the program we will offer feedback on their games, providing suggestions on how they can be improved, and challenges for those more advanced. On completion of the event the parent/guardian will be emailed a link to play the arcade game created at home.

Exploring Careers in STEM (17 August) – Melton City Libraries

Melton City Libraries is excited to partner with Western BACE and their STEM Squad for Science Week in 2023. The STEM Squad is comprised of young community members from diverse genders and backgrounds who are passionate about delivering STEM education. Melton City Libraries and Western BACE have an on-going partnership delivering STEM related activities and programs, targeted to primary and secondary aged children in the City of Melton through regular afterschool sessions and a robust school holiday offering.

In line with the theme of Science Week 2023 – Innovation: Powering Future Industries – an in-conversation style panel discussion will be delivered with three members from the STEM Squad to converse about their career pathways and possibilities in the STEM industry, now and in the future, to help inspire other young people and community members. The panel will be moderated by Western BACE’s Community Manager, with plenty of time for question and answer from the audience.

Deadly Science: Science Through a First Nations Lens (17 August) – Torquay Community House

By centering First Nations perspectives, this Science Week event seeks to challenge existing paradigms and celebrate our first and future scientists.

First Nations people have used science for over 65,000 years. Our culture is the oldest in the world. The first scientists passed on the lessons of the land, sea and sky, to the future scientists of today through stories, song and dance. We call this caring for Country. If you care for Country, the Country will care for you. –

Join respected First Nations Educator and proud Gunditjmara woman Nikki McKenzie for an evening of knowledge and storytelling.

  • Learn about innovations and practices developed by First Nations peoples over thousands of years.
  • Discover sophisticated systems and ways of caring for country.
  • Learn scientific principles embedded in cultural practices passed down through culture and story.

Butterfly Adventures (17 August) – Kingston Libraries

Delivered by Butterfly Incursions, this program combines a live butterfly interactive tent with four rotating activity stations; science table, drawing table, book table and word activity table. The sessions are designed by drawing on educational principles which aim to highlight key assessable areas within the Australian Curriculum for primary students.

This Play Was Written By ChatGPT (17 August) – Pint of Science

What kind of play shall we write? Using input from the audience, witness captivating short plays written by ChatGPT! Between each segment, delve into enlightening explanations about AI, ChatGPT’s inner workings, and the future of Machine Learning and AI. Join us for an hour of thought-provoking drama and insightful discourse, as we unravel the potential of AI-generated art and explore the ever-evolving landscape of technology.

Sparking Science (18 August) – Merri-bek Libraries

A fun-filled interactive event aimed at pre- and school aged children and their parents to discover the many facets of science, helping the diverse Merri-bek community discover how science fits within our daily lives and encourage discussion and deeper understanding what science means and how it can contribute to all areas of our lives. The program will initiate interest in science for young children and promote use of the Library’s new science kit collection.

Meet Einstein (18 August) – Campaspe Library

A Twisted Science Workshop for a special Science Week Storytime! The workshop is made for preschoolers and is a session that combines literacy and science together.  The workshop will involve the children wearing lab coats while listening to a story called ‘Meet Einstein’ which covers some of his discoveries. As the story is being read, the team will stop at various points to do simple experiments, demonstrating concepts such as the force of gravity. Other experiments include baking soda and vinegar, water tension experiments and electromagnetism.

Professor Bunsen (25 August) – Northern Grampians Libraries

As part of National Science Week, Professor Bunsen, a skilled educator and scientist, will visit the Stawell & St Arnaud Libraries to thrill and excite with the science of forces & motion. Experience the amazing power of push & pull. Objects will stick, pull, push, duck and dive! Floating objects will balance and beat gravity, and a student will float around the library – no magic! Other exciting demonstrations include gas bazookas, swirling buckets, smoke cannons and Barbie or Ken being launched from a water rocket (weather permitting). Target groups will be Grades 1 to 6 school students.


Congratulations to all the seed grant recipients, who will be contributing to a vibrant program of science-related activities across Victoria and Australia in August this year, and our thanks to all applicants for the 2023 grant round for your diverse and creative submissions.

Are you planning on or interested in holding an event this year? Please check out the amazing resources available on the National Science Week website, which give you everything you need from fun and easy activity ideas to pointers on effective promotion and inclusion. Don’t forget to register your activity to be included in the festival listings!


*This article will be updated to include links to register for each event as they become available.

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