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Superpowers Teacher Professional Development

Last Friday, Monash Tech School hosted a Teacher Professional Development day to present and inform teachers about the upcoming Superpowers Program. As a Pre-Service Teacher placed at Monash Tech School I was lucky enough to attend the day.

The day consisted of tours and activities that allowed us to appreciate the diversity in the landscape of jobs connected to improving energy efficiency. A tour of FLEET (ARC: The Centre of Excellence in Future Low Energy Electronics Technologies) gave us insight into the work of scientists that research and develop new materials that conduct energy more efficiently. We were able to see the equipment and experiments that are being conducted to develop lightweight, heat-resistant and durable materials that can improve the battery life in our devices as well as how lasers can be used to test the properties of atoms.

Next, we visited Woodside Technology, where we saw 3D printing at its best. I was able to hold the products of the technology that had assisted doctors to trial new surgery techniques, and other prototypes, as well how to optimize machinery designed to produce energy in more effective ways.

We also had time to try the activities planned for the Superpowers Program; a program aimed at year 8 students to promote understanding of renewable energy and the technology used in the industry. We played with thermal cameras, solar cars, and propeller blades used in fans. We had a great time experimenting and identifying energy transformations, and which energy and materials are most effective and renewable.

The next stop was at the CAVE 2; a circular wall of TV screens. Normally it is used to interpret a wide variety of data given to the technicians at the CAVE from scientists at Monash and beyond. We were fortunate enough to see a demonstration of how the CAVE could be used to display and interact data of weather patterns in Victoria and the importance of storms on Wind Farms. We also looked at the electrical power lines that form the backbone of electrical energy transportation throughout this state. The highlight, however, was viewing images of Mars. Pictures taken from the Mars Rover allowed us to feel that we were there on Mars viewing its unique landscape.

Lastly, the group Visited CSIRO and learnt about the development process of flexible solar cells that will hopefully diversify and boost the application of solar power.

Most importantly the day was fun, and we learnt, so much! We were excited to experience the different technologies out there and to perform a few experiments of our own using the equipment and activities provided by Monash Tech School.

Finally, I’d like to thank Monash Tech School and the presenters from each facility that gave of their time to inform us about the research that is currently happening in Melbourne. As future teachers, my fellow Pre-Service Teachers I have gained insights that will positively impact the way we teach and help us to inform students of the different expertise’s involved in energy science research and the exciting possibilities for students in the future.

written by Stephanie Lewis

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