Students reach for the stars

Logan with a photograph he took of stars.

By Casey Neill

Dandenong North primary students are challenging their teachers with complex questions and turning to NASA for answers.
“We did have a little boy who was studying Einstein’s general theory of relativity,” Wooranna Park principal Ray Trotter said.
“The mentors for that project were all from NASA.”
He explained that students took on ‘enigma missions’ in which they explored one of life’s mysteries.
“They can range anywhere from three months to one year to two years,” he said. “They tend to study things that are outside the normal curriculum.”
They present their findings to their peers and “go through a pretty rigorous process of questioning”.
Assistant principal Jennie Vine said they’d even stood up to questioning from physicists.
“They realised these kids were actually serious,” she said. “They actually understood these complex concepts.”

Logan Nicholson’s wonders of the Milky Way.


She said the projects helped students to establish career pathway options from a young age and taught them lifelong research and analytical skills.
Mr Trotter said the school had the youngest CISCO class in the world, with students from Grades 3 to 6 completing the Certificate III course in networking.
Ms Vine said Grade 6 student Logan Nicholson was completing a Year 10 physics course online.
“He’s part of an observatory on a Friday night,” she said.
“He studies the solar system and brings in all his findings.”
Mr Trotter said: “I’ve got no idea what he’s talking about, to be honest.”
Logan, 12, said he’d been interested in space since he was young and had progressed to photographing stars.
“I want to be an aerospace engineer, so a person that makes rocket ships and planes,” he said.
He’s involved with a program known as the Genesis Centre, where students visit the Springvale Harvey Norman store each Wednesday to experience new technology, from robotics to 3D printing and holoportation.