Info for local CouncilsTanya Ha
Your council can use National Science Week as an opportunity to support and celebrate local science and technology-based industries and organisations.
Your libraries and community centres can host science-themed author talks, film nights or ‘Neural Knitworks’ workshops. And your grassroots communication channels can help support your community’s National Science Week efforts, engaging residents and visitors alike with science, innovation and creativity.
Your council can get involved by:
- promoting the National Science Week activities of your community and schools >>> see our guide
- running your own events >>> read on for ideas.
Library and community centre events
Dozens of libraries have run successful and popular National Science Week events, such as:
- author talks on science topics, such as climate change or local flora and fauna
- science fiction and non-fiction writing workshops
- ‘Dive into the Dewey Decimal’s 500s and 600s’ talks, with people sharing their favourite titles from the science, technology and engineering aisles.
- This year, Sutherland Shire Library will be hosting ANSTO’s Future Vision Quiz.
- In 2016, Frankston Library saw The Scientwists (pictured) perform their fun Fizzle and Pop Show.
- In 2016, Sunshine Coast Council held a wind-up LED light workshop at Caloundra Regional Gallery. Read a media story about the event.
- In 2015, Mill Park Library kicked off a new Science Fiction Fan Club and hosted a guest presentation from Victorian Storm Chasers to talk about their wild adventures, and the science and technology they use to capture this phenomenon.
- Whittlesea Library held an event focused on Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. And ‘Read to Mr Whittles’ saw children read to the library’s own Telepresence Robot ‘Mr Whittles’.
- In 2014, Bega Library hosted ANU scientists for a community conversation about Climate, Fire, Water and Weather.
Host a science film night with SCINEMA
SCINEMA International Science Film Festival showcases not only the best, but also the diversity of science films from across the globe. From drama to documentaries, animations or epic natural history, these films use the power of the moving image to tell stories about the world, how it works, and our place in it.
Neural Knitworks and Maker Faires: community crafts for healthy brains
Neural Knitworks are crafty get-togethers where people can knit, create or crochet models of neurons from yarn and other materials. It’s based on the principle that yarn craft, with its mental challenges, social connection and mindfulness, helps keep our brains and minds sharp, engaged and healthy.
See the free resources on our website for more information on running a Neural Knitworks event. Dozens of councils and libraries have done so already. Read the Fairfax media story about efforts in Echuca in 2015.
Maker Faire events bring together old crafts and new technologies to encourage innovation and creativity alongside technology, engineering and science skills.
The following websites provide useful information and guides to running Maker Faire events:
Waste, recycling and sustainability education workshops
In 2016, the clever people at Switch Your Thinking in WA brought council waste reduction efforts into National Science Week with a suite of initiatives designed to attract a broader audience.
Science met sustainability in a series of workshops on aquaponics, food preserving and dehydrating, fermentation, and achieving a wasteless pantry; seminars on food waste; National Science Week displays at up to 14 libraries; give-aways; hands-on activities at the Perth Science Festival; and a pop-up food garden.
In 2017, they worked with a group of Perth councils on events planting trees and exploring sustainability, plant and soil science. In 2018, they will run events focusing on climate science and adaptation.
See if you can bring a science spin to any sustainability workshops you’re planning in August.
Parks, tourism and wildlife
Use National Science Week to share and promote your natural treasures and bring visitors to your municipality. For example:
- In 2016, the Marine Education Science and Community Centre, supported by City of Bayside (VIC) held marine life exposed presentations at Rickett’s Point Marine Sanctuary on Melbourne’s south-eastern coastline.
- The 2015 Newcastle Time Walk tour from Nobbys Head to Newcastle South (NSW, pictured) saw a fully booked walking tour of volcanoes, coal and fossils, guided by geologists. And it’s on again this year!
- City of Hobart (TAS) Bush Adventures have held activities discovering ‘Where our Wild Things Are’ in the bushland at night.
Support National Science Week activities in schools
Encourage your local schools to get involved. The Australian Science Teachers Association will have a free teachers’ resource book and poster on the 2018 theme of ‘Game Changers and Change Makers‘.
Or you can support the existing activities of your local schools. For example, this year Redland City Council will be supporting INNOVATE – Redland City STEM Competition, hosted by Alexandra Hills State High School and open to all schools in Redland City. Students from Years 5 to 8 will compete in science investigations, video game development projects and robotics challenges.
Community science festivals can bring several local stakeholders together to support local scientific organisations and/or attractions. For example:
- The Gold Coast Science and Tech Festival is supported by the City of Gold Coast (QLD) and Study Gold Coast, highlighting the educational opportunities of the region.
- The Geraldton Goodness – Science, Sustainability and Innovation Festival celebrates science, technology, innovation and sustainability in the mid-west region of WA, with the City of Greater Geraldton a key partner.
- Each year, the Gingin Science Festival, supported by the Shire of Gingin (WA), makes use of and helps to promote a local attraction – the Gravity Discovery Centre, a ‘hands-on’ science education centre on site at the Australian International Gravitational Observatory.
Have a Brain Break morning tea with your council team
Celebrate science in your staff room during National Science Week by holding a Brain Break morning tea. Hold a science quiz, bring in quirky science-themed edibles or run some short science experiments. It’s a chance to show your colleagues the wonder of science.
Register your Brain Break by 17 July at scienceweek.net.au/brainbreak to receive a FREE National Science Week Brain Break pack, including quiz questions, activity suggestions, coasters and other promotional items. The packs will be mailed out in early August.