Science Alive 2016
A highlight of many youngsters’ year, Science Alive 2015 was held at the Adelaide showgrounds over 7-9 August and recorded the largest attendance in its ten year history. A staggering 20,000 people explored the myriad of exhibits over the three days, to learn about science at the biggest science expo in the southern hemisphere.
Science Alive is coordinated as a part of National Science Week, an Australian Government Initiative aimed at increasing engagement and interest in the sciences. SACOME coordinated a booth for the first time in 2014 and the event has now become a staple on the SACOME calendar.
The expo boasts a “hands on” focus, with over 50 science related organisations, peak bodies and special interest groups organising over 100 interactive experiences for children and adults alike. The resources sector was well represented in 2015, with the SACOME's display complemented by displays from Beach Energy, the Department of State Development, Condor Energy and the Society of Petroleum Engineers.
Friday was dedicated “Careers Day” for high school students, with over 5,000 students across 67 schools attending to learn about the various pathways into a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) career. Many children approached the SACOME booth to interact with the displays and ask for advice on career and study pathways into a career in South Australia’s dynamic resources industry.
SACOME’s “A Career in Resources” publication outlined the various jobs available in the industry and how to attain the relevant qualifications required to work in particular roles, either at a university level or through registered training organisations.
Organised chaos was the theme of the Saturday and Sunday as the SACOME booth teemed with children fascinated by the uses of commodities mined in South Australia such as mineral sands, copper, petroleum, iron and graphite.
SACOME’s display demonstrated how mineral sands are used in everyday items such as make-up, shoes, sunscreen, candles, cleaning products, computers and even foods, just to name a few! Many children were surprised that Minties contain titanium dioxide, which gives the lollies their white appearance.
The comprehensive display also hosted a wide array of rock and mineral samples, an interactive sandstone porosity display to demonstrate how oil & gas is trapped subsurface, and an interactive mineral exploration gravity and electromagnetic survey, allowing children to discover “underground mineral deposits” using a metal detector and a stud finder.
Members of the South Australian resources community chipped in, with sponsorship from BHP Billiton, OZ Minerals, Santos, Valence Industries and Iluka funding SACOME’s booth and Atlas Copco providing an exploration drill bit, Iron Road a magnetite (iron ore) activity, and Iluka a spiral vortex separation machine.
The spiral vortex was a hit with the young audience, showing how heavy mineral concentrate is separated from the lighter sand.
The expo was also a fantastic opportunity for SACOME to promote its high school student competition, “Dirt TV”, where students submit a short film depicting what the resources sector means to them.
The annual Science Alive expo provides the resources sector with an excellent opportunity to create awareness amongst children in particular of the extensive use of mined materials, and many seemed surprised to learn that everything not organic is sourced from mining.
Rose (nine years old) said she found the SACOME booth a great learning experience. “There were lots of thing that I could relate back to my science classes at school" she said.
“I really liked the vortex, it reminded me of a chocolate fountain. I found it very interesting. It showed how different materials have different weights and how this can be used to separate them.
“I also liked to watch the water being absorbed into the porous rock and not the denser ones.”