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

Premier's Reading Challenge

Posted by SASTA

on 03/05/2021

SASTA and the Oliphant Science Awards are proud to be partnering with Inspiring SA and the Premiers Reading Challenge (PRC) to support this year’s STEM Reading and Design Challenge.

The challenge encourages students to read about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) in the lead up to Science Week. The Premier's Reading Challenge booklist contains excellent STEM books and to enter the STEM Reading and Design Challenge, students need to read at least one book from the Premier’s Reading Challenge booklist from any of the following categories: STEM, Science, Science Fiction or Nature.

Using the text as inspiration, they then either Create, Invent, Design or Review according to their age category.

There are great prizes to be won in 4 age categories.

Links to OSA

There are many opportunities for students to combine their OSA project work with the STEM Reading and Design Challenge. 

We have created STEM booklists for each age category from the PRC booklist. You can access the STEM Booklists here: R-2, 3-5, 6-9, Mature.

Students can select books from these booklists that will support them with their OSA project.

Teachers can use these lists as a resource to engage students in Science and STEM learning.


  • An R-2 student may be working on a Poster for OSA around the theme of Sustainable Food Production. They could source inspiration for their OSA Poster from one of the books listed in our STEM booklist (e.g., I Spy Food: with Penny Pear and Friends by Sue Hill and Fiona Bowden).  They could then also complete the STEM Reading and Design Challenge task for entry to that competition.
  • A Year 3-5 student can use a STEM booklist book (e.g., How to be the Best by Charlotte Barkla) to inspire their OSA invention or model and then submit a copy of their invention plan/description to the STEM Reading and Design Challenge.

Age Categories

Premiers Reading Challenge Task

Possible OSA category link



Draw a picture in response to the PRC book you have read.




Plan an invention (description, drawing) inspired by your PRC reading.

Models and Inventions



Design a STEM poster, related to your PRC reading, to inspire interest in science-related fields.




Write a review of one or more PRC books to inspire reader interest.

Science Writing


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...

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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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