Peter Brisbane – “Scientists in Schools”
Peter Brisbane retired from the Division of Soils in 1996 after spending most of his working life in the “great organization” CSIRO. While at the CSIRO he really enjoyed his involvement in the Student Research Scheme (SRS) where he hosted high school students in his laboratory for a week at a time. His enjoyment of students’ imagination and enthusiasm is partly what motivated him to register with Scientists in Schools. This national program, an Australian Government initiative, is managed by CSIRO Education. The aim of this program is to create and support long-term professional partnerships between scientists and teachers. According to Peter Scientists in Schools “brings to young people the fun, excitement and satisfaction of working with science”.
After trialing his demonstrations and hands-on activities on his grandchildren, Peter has regularly visited upper primary classes at Plympton Primary school for 1-2 hours at a time. Activities have included dissecting sweet peas, building kites and testing pendulums.
From these visits Peter says that “I find young people keen, curious and willing to have a go”. His next visit will include testing the strength of materials which complements the current teaching at the school as part of the Primary Connections program.
Peter suggests that scientists considering becoming part of this program need to love working with kids, develop a good relationship with the teacher, and should try to fit into the existing school system.
The two teachers who have worked with Peter are both incredibly appreciative of what he has done as a volunteer scientist in the Scientists in Schools program.
Peter is about to form another partnership with a primary school closer to home, while continuing his visits to Plympton Primary School.
Find out more about working with Scientists in Schools, now known as STEM Professionals in Schools