Indigenous students explore the world of science

Hedland Centre project manager Emily Leech said the year six and seven students from the maths and science programs were selected to attend the camp based on their exceptional behaviour and high attendance in the after school program.

“Students participated in a range of engaging science activities including a team building challenge at Perth Zoo, boat building at The University of Western Australia, getting up-close and personal with marine animals at AQWA and mixing acids and bases in the CSIRO lab at SciTech,” she said.

Wickham Centre co-ordinator Mel Reimers said one of the highlights was visiting the Institute where students were introduced to four scientists conducting research in the lab.

“Students were required to wear lab coats, gloves and safety glasses in the lab and learnt about the role of the Institute and the importance of science in the discovery journey,” Ms Reimers said.

“They were shown correct procedures when entering and exiting the lab, used high-tech science equipment, including micro-pipettes, to extract DNA from a strawberry and were taken on a tour of the lab where they could observe scientists working to cure common diseases.”

“The experience at the Institute gave students an opportunity to explore the workings of a laboratory and highlighted the range of science-based careers available to them,” Ms Leech said. “It challenged them to work together to solve problems and allowed them to feel like real scientists.”

Lotterywest BioDiscovery Centre Community Education Manager Pauline Charman said the Pilbara students were the first primary science group through the BioDiscovery Centre and every student was bright, engaged and curious.

“They took up the challenge of handling medical research equipment very easily and were excited to chat to the scientists and learn more about how researchers today are working to find answers to problems like genetic diseases,” Ms Charman said.

“Many of the students showed enormous aptitude for science and were invited to visit again at any time during their teenage years. I don’t know who had more fun, the Perkins staff or the students.”

Managed by the Foundation, and supported by the Western Australia Department of Education, the Wickham and Hedland programs are designed to provide Years 4 – 7 Aboriginal students, who demonstrate aptitude and interest in mathematics and science, an opportunity to excel in these learning areas and choose future science, technology and mathematics learning pathways.

The Hedland Centre is supported by BHP Billiton. Rio Tinto provides annual funding for the Wickham Centre and Lotterywest funded the equipment and resources for the set up of the Centre.


Hedland Maths and Science Centre for Excellence project manager Emily Leech 0407 918 488

Wickham Maths and Science Centre for Excellence co-ordinator Mel Reimers 0412 292 224

Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research Communications Manager Carolyn Monaghan 0448021932


Leifton Pearson and Gemima Rahman

Hedland Maths and Science Centre of Excellence students Leifton Pearson and Gemima Rahman at the Lotterywest BioDiscovery Centre.

Download Media Release