SASTA will be looking to add ideas, tips and resource articles to this blog for all teachers involved in The Oliphant Science Awards!

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Tips, ideas and resources

Photography from a judge's perspective

Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 15/04/2021

by Elizabeth Anderson, Mitcham Girls High School

Over the years of involvement with the Photography section of the Oliphant Science Awards I have been lucky enough to have judged work from Years 2 through 12 and to have supported our own students produce some outstanding work.  It’s amazing the quality of photos that students take now because they almost all have a camera with them all the time. 

Encourage students to take lots of photos, they will then have lots to choose from for their final product. Make sure each student does something different as when 5 or so students from the same school enter similar photos it becomes too hard to judge as the projects are hard to differentiate.

The photos all have to follow the same theme and be related to the topic or title of the entry, and the captions should be concise and relevant, as these will distract from the project if they draw attention away from the photos. You always have to remember that this is a photography competition so the photos have to be the hero. The science content is also really important, as we wouldn’t have this competition if it wasn’t for the science!

I am always blown away by the creative entries submitted each year, it is so exciting to find that the science content could qualify students for a sponsors prize and there are many sponsors that will reward students over a variety of areas, such as engineering, sustainability, and research.

Before you register your entries, please check the rules. If there are too many entries in the category the judges may have to shortlist entries based on them not meeting the requirements for the competition. The things to look out for are:

  • the size and number of the photos,
  • the details of the camera used,
  • too many students working on the one project,
  • and the captions not linking to the title.

Photography is a popular choice for our girls at Mitcham Girls High School. Our students look through all of the photos that they have taken on the topic, and select their photos carefully. We encourage them to choose coloured card that will make the photos “pop”. We don’t always agree with the student’s choice but it is their decision and sometimes they surprise us with contrasting borders and lettering. We get our students to lay out their poster card with photo and caption sized shapes to get an idea of what their finished product will look like with each part (photos, captions and lettering) carefully positioned. Our students are so keen they are often in the labs at lunch time checking things with the science team and seeking different opinions.

The photography section of Oliphant Science Awards allows the students to get creative while still engaging in Science class, the titles can be interpreted in different ways and students sharing ideas creates a unique learning environment

We have an Oliphant Science Award display in our science corridor where all of our winning and outstanding entries are on show for the school to see. These act as an incentive to produce a beautiful final product when we start prepping the girls for the new competition each year. 

Elizabeth Anderson has been a judge of the Photography category of the Oliphant Science Awards for many years.

You can view all the 2020 Photography winning entries here.

1995 Oliphant Science Awards Trophy Winner - Kyra Reznikov

Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 05/04/2021

by Kyra Reznikov BE(Chem)(1st class Hons) LLB(with Hons) I have always liked solving puzzles and been curious about the world around me. I think that’s why I enjoy science, and it’s certainly why I love my job so much. Today I’m an environmental lawyer, and I wouldn’t be where I...

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How to win in the Games category from a Judge's perspective

Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 25/03/2021

by Dagmar Preusker The Oliphant Science Awards attract a very high standard of entries as well as a large number from right across South Australia, this means that unfortunately there isn’t the time to play every game and check them all for scientific content so a process of shortlisting occurs...

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The Australian Biochemist Magazine

Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 23/03/2021

The magazine of the ASBMB, the Australian Biochemist, keeps members up-to-date with relevant scientific and personal news in Australia and abroad. Each magazine has a dedicated Education Feature that discusses new ideas and methods for teaching and assessment. The ASBMB even has a Biochemical Educators special interest group; just register...

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Memories from the Oliphant Science Awards

Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 12/03/2021

Short stories from years gone by...   Dr Matthew Sorell Senior Lecturer, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, The University of Adelaide I built a speech synthesiser in 1985 (possibly 1986) which won in whichever category it was in. Back then, speech synthesis was quite primitive and I was using a...

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Programming, Apps & Robotics from a Judge's perspective

Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 11/03/2021

by Glen Hutson Do you know what makes the Programming, Apps & Robotics category different to all the rest? It’s the interview! Most years I meet with students as they demonstrate and explain their creations. The Oliphant rules ask that you come and show us how it works and often...

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How to get started with your Science Writing or Multimedia project

Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 04/03/2021

by Asira & Anita Suetrong Are you thinking about entering the Oliphant Science Awards but you're not sure where to start? Asira & Anita have put together a video (below) that gives you an insight into their past winning entries and how they got started! Asira's past two Multimedia entries...

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1981 Oliphant Science Awards winner - David Tilley

Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 02/03/2021

by Dr David Tilley BSc (Hons) PhD Winning the inaugural Oliphant Science Awards in 1981 was a defining moment in my life. It led to many opportunities that I could only dream of. I undertook my entry into the Oliphant Science Awards while in Year 12 at the Mount Gambier...

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Science Writing from a Judge's perspective

Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 25/02/2021

by Glen Hutson Every year I sit for several weeks in August, reading the Science Writing entries for the Oliphant Science Awards. I’m judging. I’m assessing your submissions. But why? Why is Science Writing even a thing? Is it even a thing and what is it that we judges are...

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Jackson's journey through Programming, Apps & Robotics

Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 18/02/2021

by Jackson Burford Jackson is 9 years old and has entered the Programming, Apps & Robotics category of the Oliphant Science Awards for the last three years. He has been a finalist each year and came first in his age group in 2020.  The Oliphant Science Awards gives me a...

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