Learning from our Elders: the Indigenous Science Experience

  • by National Office
  • 15 July, 2012
Learning from our Elders: the Indigenous Science Experience

National Science Week 2012 kicks off in Sydney with an exciting collaboration between Macquarie University, the Australian Museum, the Redfern Community Centre and Aboriginal communities from around Australia, sharing knowledge, skills, ideas and enthusiasm.

Living in and managing the Australian environment requires care, knowledge and consideration.

Aboriginal people have supported themselves here for tens of thousands of years and have a wealth of knowledge about how to manage country and which plants and animals to use for tools, food and medicine. In the modern day these skills are still relevant and important for people managing farmland and reserves, for scientists and researchers looking at new drug discovery and for schools and educators seeking ways of bringing a deeper meaning into the classroom.

To explore this area, the Indigenous Science Education Program (ISEP) team will present a series of workshops, hands-on science activities and seminars at the Australian Museum for school students, educators, scientists and the general public.

Running the 10th and 11th of August at the Australian Museum and the 12th of August at the iconic Redfern Centre, the program highlights the interface between Aboriginal knowledge and culture and western scientific research, digital media and land management. These talks, seminars and workshops will be guided and presented by elders, youth and community members from Aboriginal communities involved in cooperative research, cultural transmission and land management.

Aboriginal youth will present practical workshops on Aboriginal astronomy and technology, where the public can make a star wheel or build a stone axe, and will be running a hands-on science shows to explore the chemistry of common household items, discover the microscopic world and appreciate the beauty of insects. This will include making slime and disappearing ink, handling enormous stick insects and more.

The Aboriginal elders are involved and the public are also welcome to meet over a cup of tea for a yarn.

For further information and bookings please contact David Harrington (phone 0434 916 778), or Joanne Packer (phone 02 9850 8309).

Guest post by A/Prof Joanne Jamie, Deputy Head, Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences, Macquarie University

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