Cool place to teach science

Cool place to teach science

Friday 24 February

While the rest of us were sweltering on land, St Hilda’s science teacher Sarah Bruzzese was up in the clouds flying over one of the coldest places on earth.

Along with her UWA colleague at the time, Ms Bruzzese was chosen to conduct experiments involving the magnetic field and cosmic rays for Kent Street Senior High School students while close to the magnetic pole.

Ms Bruzzese said it was opportunity that was too good to pass up.

“They’ve been doing Classroom Antarctica on the flights that have been leaving from the east coast for the past four or five years, and this is the first time that the flight has left from Perth,” she said.

Armed with a few pieces of equipment, such as a dip circle, she and her UWA colleague David Gozzard conducted experiments for students in the exit row: a tight fit.

“Instead of a compass and being orientated in that plane, [the dip circle is] orientated in the vertical plane. It tracks the vertical component of the earth’s magnetic field.

“As you get closer to the pole, the component should be more vertical. We saw a change in that component, which was really interesting.”

She also conducted experiments to show the difference between cosmic rays on the ground and cosmic rays in the air, particularly close to the magnetic pole.

Before Ms Bruzzese started at St Hilda’s this year, she was completing her PhD at the University of Western Australia’s International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research.

Her love for teaching stemmed from her involvement in outreach, giving talks to schools and appearing at science events.

“I’m hoping that the flight leaves again from Perth so that other people have the chance to do it, and that other schools get the chance to do it,” she said.