Snakes charm Penrith’s future scientists

New friend: Penrith South Public School year 6 pupil Lanu Cross-Taateo, 11, and year 4 pupil Lucas Golovchenko, 10, handle a python at an excursion to the University of Western Sydney’s Hawkesbury campus. Picture: Gene RamirezPenrith South Public School pupils scaled new heights of learning during a visit to the University of Western Sydney’s Hawkesbury campus for National Science Week.

The year 6 pupils and 12 technology club members in years 3-6 handled pythons, lizards and other reptiles, discussed climate change, and made short movies with iPads to record their thoughts on their environment.

Year 4 pupil and reptile aficionado Lucas Golovchenko, 10, said he learned the children’s python was named after the English scientist who discovered it and that lizards were less easily agitated than snakes.

“The best part about today was getting to know facts more strongly,” he said.

“Holding the lizards and snakes was a good inspiration as well.

“Blue-tongue lizards are actually really gentle creatures.

“If you are going to get close to one you should be gentle and treat it how you would want to be treated.”

Year 6 pupil Jaylen Maipi, 11, said the climate talk focused on how much water animals and crops need and how to conserve water.

Classmate Lanu Cross-Taateo, 11, said the advice included not wasting water during shower times.

“They say if you just want to go for a shower to wash your body you should only go in for four or five minutes,” she said.

The UWS Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment’s communications manager David Thompson said it was the first time the university had offered the program to engage students in natural heritage and environment topics through technology.

“We’re hoping that it will reinforce their curiosity and their interest in all things environmental,” he said.

“By getting the students to record the small movies and document their own experiences the idea is to engage them in thinking about the science of our natural environment.”

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