Scientist for a day

The program integrates Stage 4 Science, Sustainability Education and Information and Communication Technology. The program involves teams of five Stage 4 students, with their class teacher, undertaking a scientific investigation of the estuary of the Georges River to celebrate Science Week 2014

The ‘Scientist for a Day‘ program is based on quality teaching principles and promotes student investigations into the local environment and environment management issues. The focus is on syllabus outcomes 4.8 Features of living things, and 4.10 Factors effecting survival of organisms. Content in the areas of classification, adaptations, uni cellular and multi cellular organisms and ecosystems will be covered. The integration of Information and Communication Technologies and the Environmental Education Policy for Schools are also key features of the program.

The project involves a scientific investigation of the Georges River estuary at Botany Bay. Students will be engaged in investigations that simulate the work of scientists including biologists, water quality chemists, environmental scientists, microbiologists and ecologists.              

Students will be engaged in a series of ‘hands-on’ fieldwork activities including:

  • taking part in an orientation cruise to study the land uses and human impact along the Georges River/ Botany Bay waterway.
  • viewing and recording plankton from under a microscope
  • testing water quality
  • classifying species commonly found in estuaries and studying their adaptations
  • participating in a citizen scientist project to survey and analyse coastal litter.

Program details:

When? Tuesday 19th August
Time? 8.45 am till 2.40 pm
Where? St George Sailing Club, Riverside Drive Sans Souci
Who can apply? Stage 4 Science teachers with teams of 5 students

Cost? $15 per student non-refundable and payable in advance (please do not send cheques until confirmed)
How to apply? An ‘Expression of Interest‘ will be sent prior to the program. You may also download the Expression of Interest form and forward to Observatory Hill EEC
More information? Observatory Hill EEC Ph: 9247 7321

Program format:

Grime Scene Investigation involves students in:

1 Completing a planned set of pre-visit tasks on a website called Grime Scene Investigation (GSI)
2 Fieldwork around the St George Sailing Club
3 Preparing follow up presentations/reports about their fieldwork/research

1 Pre-visit activities:

a. View a  Pre Excursion Presentation to familiarise students with the program

b. Complete the Pre Excursion Webquest called Grime Scene Investigation on the TaLe website at

Teachers should allow time for students to complete the Webquest and for general excursion planning.

c. View additional resources on the estuarine environment of Georges River/Botany Bay is found at Underwater Sydney.

2 Fieldwork activities

The scientific team/s will be engaged in a series of hands-on activities on the fieldwork day including:

  • undertaking a cruise on the Georges River to observe and map land uses and associated environmental issues/impacts
  • viewing plankton samples (collected en route and prepared by teachers) using a microscope projection and identifying types of plankton
  • testing water quality
  • studying adaptations and classifying estuarine species commonly found in estuaries
  • conducting a transect of marine debris

3 Follow Up Activities:

Teams will complete their reports/presentations for the (fictitious) Bay City Council.

Further follow up resources are available in the Teachers Notes which will be sent on booking.

Teacher Preparation

Download a copy of the ‘Scientist for a Day’ Safety and welfare information for your Risk Assessment documentation.

Images of Students in the field

Scientific role of the scientist Photos

Students will identify types of plankton and appreciate their importance to healthy marine ecosystems


Students will classify a species typical of a mangrove ecosystem

Water Quality Chemist

Students will perform a water quality test to determine, and report on, the health of the quality of water in the waterway


Students will explore the adaptations of local estuarine plants and animals eg prawn, flounder, octopus and crab

Environmental Scientist

Students will identify the environmental issues affecting the health of the waterway


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