Making science playful
Monday 23 September 2019
Primary school kids gently jostle each other as they run up and down the school playground.
“I’m number one!” “No, me! I’m fastest!”
After burning off some energy, they huddle together to look at how fast they were going.
This is Yarra Science Play. It is more than a fun after-school activity. It empowers young people by giving them the tools they need to thrive in our increasingly innovative city.
At Richmond West Primary, parent volunteer Bruce Maton facilitates Science Play with a program developed by Yarra.
“Kids are using computers every day, so anything that helps kids understand the tech world around them will set them up for the digital future,” Bruce says.
“Why not make it playful?”
The kids work with hand-held devices that sense speed, direction, and even temperature and brightness. This becomes data in the spreadsheets on his computer.
Bruce pulls up a graph on his laptop and points out a curve showing each kids’ acceleration to them. The kids are transfixed, and squeal with excitement when they see their own data showing them get faster.
Eight-year-old Chloe says she loves learning about how fast she can go, and also what the temperature is outside.
“Temperature is quite new to me so I loved learning about it while I get to run around. I love science – it’s fun!”
Building a Smart City
Yarra Science Play is currently being piloted during Richmond West Primary School’s after school care program, with a view to expand to other settings.
It is just one of the ways we are using technology to support and nurture our growing community, as part of our Smart City Program. Our ‘future Yarra’ vision is built around community-based and technology-smart solutions.
In becoming a smart city, we are also looking at how emerging technology and digital tools can engage and enhance the community, social connections, commerce, and environmental sustainability.
This includes a network of sensors providing real-time information about air and water quality, lighting, and more. It also includes free public wifi, and interactive screens that help people discover what's happening in Yarra.
If you're interested in having Yarra Science Play at your school, contact Megan Turnley, Strategy and Transformation Lead, Yarra CityLab on 9205 5555 or email us at [email protected]
See more about our future Yarra [pdf infographic]