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

The Science of Weather and Bushfires

Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 22/07/2021

by Chris Sedunary and Belinda Dunbar, CFS

The science of weather is called meteorology. At the Country Fire Service, during bushfire season we have a staff member from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) with us throughout the season. Meteorologists study the weather and try to forecast it. Forecasting the weather involves many scientific factors and variables and it is not always easy. BOM Meteorologist Jonathan Fischer shares…

“Weather is critical to understand the risk of bushfires. This is why BOM works closely with fire agencies like the CFS, to forecast Fire Danger Ratings and keep us informed of weather conditions when a bushfire does start.

The main weather elements to determine the Fire Danger Rating are wind speed, temperature and humidity. How dry the vegetation or 'fuel' is and how thick these fuels are, is also important. Together, this will tell you how dangerous a fire will be if one was to start.

To help forecast the weather, Meteorologists at BOM monitor the weather charts for patterns that increase fire danger. One of these patterns you too can look out for, is a hot and windy day ahead of an approaching cold front. These are the days when the Fire Danger Rating can reach Severe, Extreme or even Catastrophic, the highest rating and most dangerous conditions.

Once you know the forecast Fire Danger Rating, you can make plans and take early action to make sure you stay safe, well before a bushfire starts”.

Weather conditions influence the size, intensity, speed and predictability of fires and how dangerous these can be to the community. Lightning caused by storms can start bushfires and bushfires themselves can create their own weather systems called pyro cumulonimbus, which create more erratic, unpredictable and dangerous bushfire behaviour.

By understanding the science involved in bushfire weather we can help increase our own safety and that of the community. You can learn more about fire weather from the Bureau of Meteorology at Fire Weather (

We are proud to have The SA Country Fire Service and Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience as our Poster Category sponsor this year!

You can view all the 2020 Poster winning entries here.

Priyanka’s five tips for a successful Science Inquiry!

Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 08/07/2021

by Priyanka Thavarajah  The first step to a successful Science Inquiry is the experiment itself. I have found that, especially in the higher years, doing an experiment around a current topic gives it purpose. Be creative with the set up to try and make the conditions as real as possible....

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A short guide to Science Writing

Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 01/07/2021

by Anita Suetrong Not sure where to start on your Science Writing entry? Check out Anita's tips for creating your entry in the video below! While you have to choose one of the 2021 Science Writing titles for your project, you have the freedom to write in any genre you...

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1993/1994 Oliphant Science Awards Trophy Winner – Mark Hodson

Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 29/06/2021

by Mark Hodson I was the first two-time winner of the Oliphant Science Awards, entering on both occasions in the computer category. The recognition and the opportunities that came with the award helped cement my love of systematic problem solving and computer programming, leading to an engineering career with international...

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Regan's inspiring journey through OSA

Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 24/06/2021

video by Regan Nelson Regan was first encouraged to enter the Oliphant Science Awards by his Reception teacher in 2011. He has entered a project every year since with a number of winning entries over the years! Regan always hated writing and when he was in Year 2 he was...

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Bushfire Safety Tips for your Poster entry

Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 11/06/2021

by Chris Sedunary and Belinda Dunbar, CFS Chris and Belinda from the CFS have put together some helpful hints for students making a 2021 poster entry about bushfire safety. You and your family's safety and survival during a bushfire can depend on how prepared you are, and the decisions you...

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A Short Guide on how to Create a Scientific Inquiry Project

Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 04/06/2021

by Raihanah Pranggono, 2020 Oliphant Trophy Winner Based on my own experience, the following steps might help you in the development of your very own Scientific Inquiry! Choose a research domain that is appealing to you: To do this, you can derive some bright ideas from a pastime that you...

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2004 Oliphant Science Awards Trophy Winner - Alyssa Fitzpatrick

Posted by Oliphant Science Awards

on 11/05/2021

by Alyssa Fitzpatrick The five test tubes sat in the corner of the lab benches, each containing different brightly coloured liquids. As the Year 10 students rushed into class, chattering amongst themselves after lunch, they were directed to each of the test tubes, and asked to smell them. Which was...

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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...

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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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