Home' Independence : Independence Vol 39 No 1 May 2014 Contents 58 INDEPENDENCE VOL 39 NO 1 MAY 2014
the various species, learning the
traditional uses for food, medicine or
other purposes, as well as planting
and growing the plants. It provided a
great ‘real world’ learning opportunity,
specifically in the area of biodiversity,
conservation and the role of ecosystems
and their impact on society.
The girls developed a brochure for
the garden and, where possible, will
also play a part in the development
of signage incorporating the Kaurna
The Year 11 biology classes tested
the soil during lessons and the Year 6
classes worked in the garden with Mrs
Amos, whilst studying their plant unit.
In addition, the Year 3 students helped
with planting and studied the history of
the acacias garden.
Incorporating the arts
As the project developed, it became
a rich learning opportunity for our
students that not only engaged them
in science but also incorporated
learning through the arts, social justice,
humanities, and food and technology.
Ian Roberts, a well-known artist,
undertook a botanical drawing
workshop with Year 9 art students.
The aim of the workshop was to teach
the basics of painting native plants in
preparation for the future drawing of
interpretive signage required for the
Students from the College’s
Reconciliation Action group, many of
whom are Indigenous, also worked
closely with an Indigenous artist, Chris
Crebbin, to design and create a series of
bollards for the garden. The ‘Proud Race’
bollards used Indigenous art techniques
and colours to illustrate the five values
of Loreto schools Australia-wide: felicity,
justice, sincerity, verity and freedom.
Looking ahead, a jeweller will work
with students to create pieces with
products sourced from the garden and
incorporate cultural and conventional
WHY is a professor of chemistry
advocating the study of mathematics?
Because our future in all areas of
science, technology and engineering
relies on a strong foundation and
understanding of maths.
Maths is an essential tool in almost
every area of science. This is perhaps
easy to understand in physics and
chemistry, which fundamentally rely
on maths, and for psychology, which
is critically dependent on statistics. But
mathematics is used extensively in all
The genomic revolution, for example,
has changed the nature of the biological
sciences and resulted in the dramatic
growth of the area of bioinformatics.
Only mathematically based approaches
are able to extract the patterns from the
MATHS: STEM’S CORNERSTONE
PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY, DEAN OF THE FACULTY OF SCIENCE,
THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
vast amounts of data now available.
These patterns are informing our
understanding of evolution and why
different populations have different
susceptibilities to diseases such as Type
2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
In almost every area of science,
technology and engineering some
computational modelling is now used to
test theories and to develop predictions.
Climate modelling is being used to
develop predictions on how the earth
might respond to the vast amounts
of extra energy being trapped in our
Scientists at my university analyse
massive data sets to describe
international trade relationships and
supply chains in previously unattainable
The more we learn about cancers, the
more we realise that computational
models are likely to be the best
chance we have of understanding
how these highly complex systems of
cells function and how to treat them.
This understanding will also inform
personalised medicine, which guides
us in how best to treat an individual’s
We rely on mathematics in many other
aspects of our everyday lives. Most of
us use smartphones to exchange large
amounts of data, some of it confidential.
This depends on mathematics, and
the field of cryptography – which
allows accurate and private sharing of
information – is growing rapidly.
Quantum computing, which we hope
will power future developments in these
areas, will require even higher levels of
mathematics than current systems.
Maths is critical to STEM training and
careers because of the way it develops
our abilities to conceptualise and solve
challenging problems, and the beginning
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