This is the eNewsletter of Science ASSIST, the free national online advisory service for school science educators and technicians.

Science ASSIST eNews #1, 2016

What's new on Science ASSIST?

Quick links to technical questions and resources
Over 170 technical questions have been asked by users via the Q&A section of the Science ASSIST website. The ASSIST lab tech advisory team have answered all of these questions.

In order help users search the Q&A more efficiently we have created a document Quick links to technical questions that categorises the answers into broad topics/categories, including as the sub strands of the Science Understanding strand of the Australian Curriculum, chemical labelling and storage and facilities.

Science ASSIST has so far developed 50 technical resources for teachers and school lab techs. These resources have also been categorised for easy referral by users and are available in the Quick links to technical resources (also available on the Science ASSIST home) page.

Both documents will be updated regularly and are available on the Science ASSIST home page.

New questions in 2016
Here is a sample of questions that have been asked so far this year:
Hearing Aids- Van der Graaff generator (safety in physics)
Use of antibiotics (Amoxycil) in experiments  (safety in biology)
Chemicals in schools (safety in chemistry)
Year 10 Genetics assessment (practical assessment)

Australian Curriculum changes
The Australian Curriculum has been enhanced to improve its manageability, simplify its presentation and strengthen the focus on literacy. On 18 September 2015, the Education Council endorsed these changes to the Australian Curriculum and released Version 8, which was then made available on the ACARA website from October 2015.

In response, Science ASSIST has now linked all its resources to Version 8.1 of the Australian Curriculum: Science.

(For a period of time, there will be two versions of the Australian Curriculum on the ACARA website. This will allow teachers and schools to transition to the improved curriculum. This document ‘September 2015, Tracked changes to F –10 Australian Curriculum’ identifies all the changes to the Australian Curriculum and is available with track changes to help teachers and users of the Australian Curriculum identify the improvements and enhancements.)

Connected Learning Experiences
There are now 10 CLEs on the ASSIST website:
Sound and hearing – year 1
The Penguin Project – year 3
Magnetism and electrostatics – year 4
Biodiversity study – year 6 (NEW)
Dark side of the moon – year 7
Egg bungee jump – year 10
Expansion of the universe – year 10
Reaction rates – year 10
Investigating patterns of inheritance – year 10
Back and forth – year 10 (NEW)
The CLEs can now be accessed via the ‘CLEs’ link in the red menu bar at the top of the Science ASSIST home page.

New technical resources
Standard Operating Procedures (SOP):
Demonstrating the reaction of alkali metals lithium and sodium with water
Performing a rat dissection
ASSIST Information sheets (AIS):
Use of stepladders in school science areas
Updated resources
  1. The SOP Handling dry ice has been updated to include activities with dry ice.
  2. School science suppliers list – last updated 6 March 2016.
  3. List of recommended chemicals for science in Australian schools – last updated 29 February 2016.
  4. Customisable Risk Assessments. We had a request from one of our users to provide the Science ASSIST example Risk Assessments (provided with each SOP) as editable documents so a school science department can review for its own situation, adding extra information as needed. We are currently arranging to have the example RAs available as customisable documents.
Science ASSIST is an innovative national online advisory service for school science educators and technicians. Advice is provided by an expert national advisory team with extensive collective experience across all areas of science. Science ASSIST is managed by the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) in consultation with Science Education Technicians Australia (SETA). It is supported by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training through the Mathematics and Science Participation Program.


Science ASSIST presentation, CONSTAT 2016, Hobart 1-2 April.
Science ASSIST Professional Development workshops, NT, April 2016 (TBC)

For more information about Science ASSIST contact Project Manager Delese Brewster on (02) 6282 9377 or