Term 4 Saturday Club 2020

Saturday Club is pleased to announce the return of Dr Debbie and Dr Bianca, the fantastic presenters from the Sciren program in Term 4 2020. This year they will also be joined by Dr Nicholas, a Bioinformatitian, and their great team of support scientists.

Disclaimer – While every attempt will be made to achieve the goals each session it is science with children!! There is a chance any week that time runs out and the activity spans two sessions or the session runs smooth and we have additional time to go deeper on a biology topic.

NOTE: Due to the materials component in this terms program the refund policy has been set at 1 day for single tickers but we are conscious of the impact of COVID

The program offered will look to expand participants’ knowledge in the biological sciences, exposure to a more complex scientific vocabulary and hands-on science!! Participants are required to wear appropriate safety clothing (long pants and clothes that may be stained), tied back hair and closed toe shoes.

Junior (5-8 yrs)Bioplastics

Biological Sciences Junior Program 2020 centres around the world of potatoes. The circle of life will take us from a potato growing in the soil, to creating compostable bioplastic, and then going back into the soil to grow more plants- all in the classroom!

24 October J1: Some Green Theory. This session establishes the theoretical groundwork for the series and investigates the concepts of degradable vs biodegradable vs compostable. Further, what exactly is plastic? Participants set up compost trials with premade samples for later observation.

7 November J2: Plastic can be Fantastic: Leading on from the session J1’ concepts of preserving our environment, participants will work in small teams to follow an experimental process to create bioplastic from potatoes.

21 November J3: Are you a Science Communicator? What do scientists do with all this new scientific information? Full review and revisit of experiments completing the cycle of the scientific method. A scientist must be able to communicate their findings. Here, participants will get to present their observations and findings.

5 December J4: Complete the Green Cycle. Students will create compostable seed tape by applying the biology concepts from the previous sessions. Students will explore the advantages of seed tape and how they may be used both scientifically and simply at home.

Intermediate (8-12yrs) Biological Coding

Biological Sciences Intermediate Program 2020 will look at coding- it goes beyond Lego and LED lights. ‘Scientist’ labels a massive group of extraordinarily skilled people in the fields of biology, chemistry, maths, physics and more. The same goes for ‘coding’. Coding means so many things in STEM. There exists a large range of computer languages that help us create, learn and test so many questions in our world. Can you code an app? Can you code a driverless car? Can you code DNA? Can you interpret the code for human eye colour, just by looking at the eye itself? Meet a Bioinformatician and an Electronic Engineer and see how their worlds crossover.

Please note, this is not a computer coding lesson series. This is about training the future of scientists to unlock their binary expectations of science and think more broadly to pursue amazing potential.

24 October I1: Which Came First; The technology or the question? How do non-biological approaches influence how we answer a biological question?: We’ll map out a basic biology experiment and define what is needed to answer our unexplained questions and by expanding our understanding of how STEM collaborates to provide our biological answer. This will challenge the students to identify whether the technology is specifically designed for its use or used because of its function.

7 November I2: Biological code: DNA. We’re going to load a gel electrophoresis and separate DNA to be able to understand how we can ‘isolate genes. Using this technique and the information from the precious sessions, we will learn how to unravel and read their code. What could it be telling us? Why is this important?

21 November I3: Meet a Bioinformatitian. 2Dr Nicholas will talk us through biological data analysis and genetic coding.

5 December I4: Practical Coding Experiment. It is a hope that students can implement coding theory in this session in order to understand how technology opens the door to answering biological questions. This final session scope will be confirmed in October.

Seniors (12-16 Yrs) Model Ethics Committee

Our students will step into the role of policy makers who need to analyse science to make important decisions.

What if we can change the world for good?

What is stopping or helping us?

Ethics. That’s what.

We are challenging you to question some morals and rights to determine the next phase of vaccine development of our special new drug designs. Students will learn how drug design moves from the lab to public health and big pharma dollars by investigating the interplay or research and ethics.

24 October S1: Drug v Vaccine? What exactly does drug design mean? How does this compare to vaccine development? Students will learn the biological differences between different pathogens and how this is applied to develop new methods of disease prevention and control.

7 November S2: From science to a shot in the arm. How a vaccine gets to market :a vaccine for COVID-19 has been invented (hypothetically for this class!) and the world’s biggest pharmaceutical company wants the rights… How do we apply ethics to science? This goes beyond the lab to understand how we can ethically apply biology.

21 November S3: Model Ethics Committee: (Dependent on numbers of students)- This is a model debate or discussion concerning how we apply new technologies. The hypothetical question being answered is: “a person has been discovered in Adelaide to have contracted COVID-19, fought it off, and developed interesting antibodies as resistance defence. This person is 4 years old. Her blood could save billions of lives. Pharmaceutical companies have gotten wind of this and want to use this persons blood. How would we deal with this situation?”

5 December S4: Model Ethics Committee. Stretch your understanding of science and ethics to take it further: “vaccines for COVID-19, polio, Ebola, SARS, HIV and acne have been developed and ready to use since 1987. They all contain live Genetically Modified cultures and whilst 100% success rate in animal studies, human trials never took place…..”

(Please note: The senior classes will be welcome to choose their own topics of research and debate within the sphere of biology and bioethics, which will be facilitated by Dr. Debbie. Our approach is to follow the students flow of interest, and the debate topics above may not reflect the topic on the day)


Bianca Warnock:

Bianca Warnock, is a science communicator and Director of Sciren Pty Ltd. Previously, she was the Outreach Coordinator for the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine at the University of Adelaide. In this role, she has created and managed Why Waite, a lab-based STEM outreach program for secondary schools.

Bianca completed a bachelor of Biotechnology with Honours in 2006. Passionate about plants and human health, Bianca embarked on a successful PhD in rice genetics, increasing iron in the major food staple. During and after the completion of this, she worked in plant cell wall research, learning about dietary fibre, plant pathogen resistance and beer making. During this time, she developed a work experience package which would alleviate pressures for post-doctoral researchers having to scramble to entertain visiting high school students, while engaging and teaching the new fresh faces of the future science world.

facebook: Sciren science translation

Youtube: Sciren Science

Debbie Devis:

Debbie completed her PhD in plant genetics at the University of Adelaide in 2019. During her studies, she realised that explaining her work to a general audience posed many difficulties, and that a thorough understanding of science was unavailable to many people, especially school aged students. Using her knowledge from her undergraduate majors of genetics and philosophy, she decided to try to intersect these skills to help teach science better.

Debbie realised that using metaphors and popular culture was an effective way of spreading complex scientific concepts in a simple and engaging manner, and began writing a blog that used the popular phenomenon, Pokémon, as a basis. repertoire includes developing and delivering scientific lessons at the Why Waite Outreach program, STEM academy at the University of Adelaide and SciWorld, a written blog, Professor Rimu, a pokemon science based podcast, The Silphscope Podcast, Hosting and online show interviewing scientists and developing, implementing and managing two online exhibits using Minecraft and Role Playing Games as formats to teach science with MOD. at UniSA.

Deborah is Director of Sciren Pty Ltd with Bianca, delivering more exciting science about our real world, online, in classrooms and at public events.

Facebook: Sciren science translation

Twitter: DoctorRimu

Youtube: Sciren Science