Stones axes and spearheads: kids learn traditional science

ON MAY 29, over 450 Rockhampton State High School students from Years 7 and 8 experienced first-hand some of the scientific knowledge and skills traditionally used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Students learnt about different rock types and their uses as stone axes, spearheads and other cutting tools.

This included how to construct and use a stone axe, and make a natural glue using grinding stones, charcoal and the gum from grass trees.

Jaelen-James Smith, Tiger smith, Nicholas Brown, Lincoln Newman
Jaelen-James Smith, Tiger smith, Nicholas Brown, Lincoln Newman Contributed

Students finished the day by practising how to throw boomerangs and spears using a woomera.

Head of department (science) Stephen Ladley said "it was invaluable for students to put into practice some of the scientific concepts of forces, levers and geology that students have learnt this term.”

"Rocky High has been part of a nation-wide indigenous science program known as I2S2 (Inquiry for Indigenous science students) for the last four years.

This program was developed by CSIRO with the goal of increasing the engagement and achievement of indigenous students in science while also improving all students' cultural awareness.

All students in Years 7, 8 and 9 science classes at Rocky High now study 10 weeks of science each year that focuses exclusively on learning scientific concepts and principles with an indigenous perspective.

While this is the fourth year of the program, it's the first time a whole day of activities has been held with the involvement of staff from Darumbal Enterprises and Rocky Instincts. Due to the overwhelming success of the day, and students' enthusiasm and engagement, the school looks forward to holding another day in term three with Year 8 and 9 students.

"We want to build on the partnership with CSIRO and Darumbal and see it grow and strengthen,” Mr Ladley said.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to actively engage our students with more inquiry or hands-on learning while at the same time increasing their cultural awareness.”