Science Enrichment

Scientist in Schools

Scientist in Immunology, Dr Catherine Kennedy, is our ‘resident scientist’ partnering with Science Teacher, Mr Frank de la Rambelya. Catherine works at the Peter Doherty Institute at the University of Melbourne and has visited classes to share science skills with the students, such as how scientists take samples of bacteria and grow them in agar.

The students were impressed when, after five days, the bacteria had grown to produce large colonies. Catherine, who has enjoyed explaining her work to our students this year, also delivered an inspiring talk to all Year 9 students about our immune system. She also discussed what made her choose scientific research as her career.

Our senior Physics students and selected junior Science students, were enriched when University of Melbourne Master of Science student, Alex Millar, spoke to them about his research into ‘Dark Matter’ and what it’s like to be a research student. We were offered this excellent talk as a reward by Caroline Hamilton, Outreach Manager of the Centre for Excellence in Particle Physics, due to our strong support for their International Master Class in Particle Physics programme. Nine of our students have participated in all of the Masterclasses since they began in 2012.

Many of our students regularly enjoy going to evening lectures in Physics at the University of Melbourne. There are ten lectures each year and we have the largest number of conscientious students of any school in Melbourne in the audience.

These evening lectures on Physics, delivered by physicists expert in their field of interest, providing a wonderful free resource for our VCE students, as well as a great opportunity for students in Years 7 – 10 who are interested in physics. It also enables students to experience a lecture in a university environment.

Global Connection in Science: Our students are connecting with students in a school in Italy using Skype to discuss Elementary Particle Physics as well as the history of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Cosmic Ray Detector Project: South Oakleigh Secondary College was chosen by the University of Melbourne to initiate their National Cosmic Ray Detection Project. The project was formally launched by Dr Roger Rassool of University of Melbourne and Dr Mick Storr of the Large Hadron Collider, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland.

Our students will be building a cosmic ray detector under the guidance of University of Melbourne Physics research students. Other schools will be involved from across Australia, and our students will be in communication with them to discuss their results.

Australian Synchrotron Excursion: Our Year 12 Physics students enjoy the annual all-day excursion to the Australian Synchrotron, in Clayton, (the only )Synchrotron in the southern hemisphere. The synchrotron is a high-tech machine which sends electrons at nearly the speed of light around a ring 210 meters in circumference, creating high intensity X-rays for research into materials for engineering and bio-technology. The students always enjoy the guided tour and experiments which help to prepare them for their VCE exam in Physics.


Senior Science students take advantage of SEAMS (Strengthening Engagement and Achievement in Mathematics and Science), which is a programme run by both the University of Melbourne and Monash University, aiming to increase equitable participation and attainment of students in Science and Mathematics related disciplines in higher education.

During their vacations, the students attend live in camps at both Universities to assist them in their goal of gaining University Entrance. One of our teachers, Mr Frank de la Rambelya was invited to teach the Physics component of the programme.