Scientia Challenge: Years 7 - 10

The Scientia Challenge Program is designed for gifted and talented high school students in Years 7-10. The program features a range of workshops taught over three days. The courses are developed and presented by academics at the University of New South Wales. The level of difficulty in the courses is aimed at two years higher than the students' grade level, providing a rigorous and challenging program. The program also provides the opportunity for gifted students to meet like-minded peers of similar interests.

The GERRIC Student program will run on 26, 27 28 September 2017

Note: these workshops are open to years 7-10 inclusive. Curriculum is differentiated to challenge gifted students across those grades.

Registrations have now closed

Years 7-10

Cinematic Sounds with Anthea & Rodney Wikstrom Robert Webster Map (PDF)

Think of your favourite movie. If it had no sound or music, would it still have the same impact on you? Film music and cinematic sounds enhance character, create mood and heighten emotion in films. A soundscape can make or break a film. In this workshop, you will explore the work of film score composers, Foley artists, and the impact technology has had on the history of film music. Using computer software, you will learn to produce and arrange sounds, compose and record music, synchronise sounds to video, and create a film score soundtrack. Film composers of the future, come on down!

Cosmology with Carl Gibbs Quadrangle Map (PDF)

Cosmology is the study of the origin, nature, evolution and large-scale structure of our Universe, encompassing literally everything from stars and galaxies to space and time itself. While today Cosmology is considered a science, a branch of astrophysics, science itself only 400 years ago was a branch of Philosophy and less than 3000 years ago indistinguishable from religion. Cosmology permeates our very existence, and whether we are aware of it or not, dominates our culture, beliefs, attitudes and sense of self.

In this workshop, we will attempt to cover several of the major topics taking inspiration from the subject areas of astrophysics, astronomy, history and philosophy. We’ll look at concepts like general relativity, quantum mechanics, nuclear physics, redshift and astrochemistry, consider the evolution of both the Universe as we understand it today and the way we have thought about the Universe over the last 32,000 years (a mere 0.000238% of the age of the Universe) and tackle such questions as “where did it all come from?” and “what happened before the Big Bang?

The focus of the workshop will be the ideas and concepts, rather than the specifics of the physics or mathematics of the universe, so students will not require any specialist knowledge in either of these domains although an interest in space/astronomy and physics will complement the material covered. The workshop will consist of a series of lectures that will delve quite deeply into each topic, followed by exploration of the ideas presented through group discussion and debate. The goal of the workshop is to equip students with an understanding of modern cosmological thought and the foundations of scientific reasoning that will be invaluable for anyone who wants to explore further in the field in the years to come.

Critical Thinking; Ethics; Philosophy and how to Debate an Issue Brilliantly with Michele Waterson Quadrangle Map (PDF)

This program aims to develop in our children, qualities of strong critical thinking, philosophical contemplation and ethical consideration of the global issues that they, as global citizens, will encounter each day.

We begin by acknowledging: "That in a free state every man may think what he likes, and say what he thinks..." - Benedict de Spinoza

However, as citizens in a 21st Century reality of information overload, we must ensure that we are discerning consumers of information. People need to validate 'facts' and 'arguments' presented to them in order to justify all claims and assertions in line with their own world view and personal values.

Students will develop skills of: critical thinking, ethical accountability and philosophical reflection. Students will learn to delve for accountability from all facts and arguments presented to them through all media forums. Students will use these skills to build arguments and debate those arguments effectively and ethically.

Developing Interactive Animations for the Web with Dean Utian Red Centre Map (PDF)

Over the past few years we have witnessed the awesome development of the World Wide Web as a major medium through which we can express ourselves to a watching world. New tools for delivering Web content are emerging every day, the constant challenge being to find an appropriate design balance between innovative presentation techniques and overcoming the bandwidth limitations of current Internet technologies.

In this workshop you will be making an interactive movie for the Web that can incorporate things like sound, images, animations and dynamic 3D elements. We will be using an advanced multimedia-authoring tool, covering techniques in graphic manipulation, animation and interactivity. The end result will be an Adobe Edge Animate movie that will amaze your family and friends.

The Brain in Health and Disease with Professor Ken Ashwell Wallace Wurth Map (PDF)

We’ll study the structure and function of the normal brain and spinal cord and then consider types of disease that can affect the brain and spinal cord. The classes will explore the structure of the nervous system at the microscopic and naked eye level, and we’ll discuss how function is localised in the brain. You will have the opportunity to practice clinical examinations of the nervous system on classmates and analyse how brain disease or damage might be prevented or repaired. You’ll also have the opportunity to make diagnoses and recommend treatment for patients with brain disease.

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