• Class Number 3570
  • Term Code 3130
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 12 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Graham Walker
    • Dr Graham Walker
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/02/2021
  • Class End Date 28/05/2021
  • Census Date 31/03/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/03/2021
SELT Survey Results

Students in this course develop their science communication skills while training for and touring with the Science Circus. The course includes experience in the development of science presentations and workshops, the presentation of science shows to audiences of all ages (with an emphasis on school-age audiences), the presentation of teacher development workshops, explaining science and exhibits to members of the public, promotion of a science outreach program, the operation of a traveling science exhibition, and the coordination of activities while on tour.

SCOM8004 must be taken in two consecutive semesters encompassing a single placement.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Explain science and technology concepts to audiences of varied ages and backgrounds, including school students, teachers, general public, remote communities and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders.
  2. Design and deliver science shows, resource materials and workshops on science and technology topics, including considering their relevance and tailoring to diverse audiences based on aspects such as age, geography, context and culture – including Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultures.
  3. Efficiently and effectively function as a team, as well as have an understanding of group dynamics and some experience in small team management.
  4. Operate an outreach education program (including a traveling science exhibition).

Research-Led Teaching

Theory informs practice; practice refines theory – Alongside the ‘practical’ fieldwork/touring component that makes up much of 8004, students will also become familiar with the academic literature and research that underpins science shows, workshops and other formats used on tour. Research on science shows and outreach is sparse, so relevant theory is often drawn from research on formal education, informal science education, science communication, psychology and other disciplines. This theoretical content will be presented both independently and as parts of sessions dealing with more practical aspects of show presentation, etc.

Students are expected to take initiative and do their own literature searches or consult lecturers/other experts to locate relevant research, in addition to that presented during lectures.

By the end of the course, you should not only be able to present an effective science show or workshop, but be able to research and understand the theoretical basis for what makes it effective.

Field Trips

Students in this course develop science communication skills that are applied touring with the Questacon Science Circus. The course includes experience in the development of science presentations and workshops, the presentation of science shows to audiences of all ages (with an emphasis on school-age audiences), the presentation of teacher development workshops, explaining science and exhibits to members of the public, promotion of a science outreach program, the operation of a traveling science exhibition, and the coordination of activities while on tour.


While on tour, there are certain qualities that are important for the Questacon Science Circus to operate effectively. Three key qualities you need to be effective include, but are not limited to:


  • You take initiative, assist, volunteer and actively tackle team problems
  • You cooperate and collaborate with others to produce outcomes that exceed what you could do independently (‘whole is greater than the sum of its parts’)
  • You are effective in your assigned role
  • You adapt to different roles, sometimes at short notice
  • You help and support other teammates in carrying out roles/tasks
  • You exert similarly high effort as teammates towards the team’s objectives
  • You consider the thoughts and feelings of and relationships with teammates
  • You’re part of a homogenous team, avoiding cliques or excluding individuals
  • For an academic perspective, see http://pubsonline.informs.org/doi/pdf/10.1287/orsc.12.4.435.10635.


  • You seek out and actively listen to feedback, discuss it, and apply it
  • You give feedback, provide guidance and make helpful suggestions in a constructive, thoughtful and tactful manner, at a suitable time
  • You are proactive giving relevant information and updates to others
  • You consider the value of information from the perspective of others
  • You actively resolve conflicts and seek guidance with difficulties
  • You don’t let personal issues negatively impact on team or public communication; you seek help when this is difficult.


  • You plan thoroughly, you plan as part of a team, are well-prepared, ready for contingencies, and able to adapt plans as necessary during a task
  • You are punctual; you advise others where things prevent this
  • You are never racist, sexist or otherwise discriminatory
  • You keep a calm exterior when dealing with stressful problems
  • You wear your uniform with pride and are well presented when dealing with the public (but eccentricity done well is fine!)
  • You are a positive ambassador for the partners and sponsors of the program and science more broadly
  • You drive, operate machinery, and conduct manual handling processes safely, and don't make others uncomfortable re safety when collaborating
  • You think about when it is appropriate to use a mobile phone or other devices, particularly for personal matters.


These qualities are particularly important during your roles as Big Brother, Floor Manager and in the Media Team (TBC subject to tour arrangements/logistics). You will receive feedback after each tour and are encouraged to have a continuous dialogue with Coordinators. Note not all feedback will be formally presented, so take note of ad-hoc discussions, etc. you may have on the road.


Some students opt to do a work placement in the middle or at the end of the year, however this is not a formal requirement of the course and it is not assessed. It can, however, be extremely helpful for networks and employment opportunities after the course. If you’d like to do a placement, talk to Graham and/or the Coordinators as we may be able to connect you with organisations. ANU can also provide insurance if needed. Students need to cover any costs associated with placements. Keep in mind it is a busy year and this is an optional element, you may instead choose to take some downtime - put your wellbeing first.

Examination Material or equipment

Most equipment you'll use on tour can be found in The Cage at Questacon Parkes, however there is also a trove of treasure in the CPAS storerooms, and Graham has an extensive collection of doo-dads many of which he is happy to loan to prop connoisseurs. Note any non-standard props require a Risk Management Worksheet (RMW) to be prepared and approved by the Coordinators.

Required Resources

There is no single set text for this course, however there are readings.

They are available online through the course Wattle site, mostly as .pdf files. Download and read them electronically or print as you see fit.

ANU Makerspace – At the start of the year you’ll be familiarised with the ANU Makerspace. The Makerspace is a fantastic resource if you need to repair show props or want to create new equipment for use on tour (and for personal making projects!). Some consumables (3d printer filament, screws, electronic components, etc.) are provided free of charge from the Makerspace, however if you need additional materials for props to be used on tour consult with Coordinators re your needs/costs first, gain formal approval and keep receipts (as per the process with purchasing consumables on tour). Graham is happy to assist you with course-related activity in the Makerspace. Contact the extremely helpful team there on makerspace@anu.edu.au.

Students are strongly encouraged to use the ANU Makerspace and make the most of the equipment and staff expertise associated with it.

Recommended (generic) student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment (also available in ANU computer labs and at CPAS)

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Specialist science communication and IT/AV equipment will be provided.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 CURRENT STUDENTS: PLEASE CONSULT THE GOOGLE CALENDAR FOR DETAILS This summary provides a general information for a student enrolling in SCOM8004 for first time. It is necessary students enrol in this course twice over consecutive semesters (12 units each semester) to a total of 24 units in the full-year. This course is available to students enrolled in the Masters of Science Communication Outreach and students in the Master of Science Communication.
2 Show instruction, development and safety training Introduction to scicomm/show research and literature including Deep Dives February - March
3 ACT Tour March
4 Cross-cultural science communication, cultural intelligence, Indigenous cultural awareness training April-May
5 Digital tour 1 incl. training April-May
6 Queensland tour May-June
7 Digital tour 2 incl. training August
8 Bespoke workshop development and workshop tour September-October
9 Tasmania tour November

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Show Analysis and Development paper - Part 1: Analysis (introduction, literature/practice review, provisional method) 20 % 21/04/2021 1,2,4
Show Analysis and Development - Part 2: Development (method, results, discussion, conclusion) 20 % 25/06/2021 1,2,4
Creating New Props and Demos - Concept Note 0 % 19/07/2021 1,2,4
Creating New Props and Demos 15 % 12/11/2021 1,2,4
Science Show Videos (1 of 2) 10 % 21/06/2021 1,2
Science Show Videos (2 of 2) 10 % 16/11/2021 1,2
Inclusive science communication - 1. Journal Club 0 % * 1,2,3,4
Inclusive science communication - 2. Round Table Presentation 10 % * 1,2,3,4
Inclusive science communication - 3. Bespoke Workshop Plan and Rationale 15 % 13/10/2021 1,2,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Participation is required in all relevant Questacon Science Circus activities.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 21/04/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Show Analysis and Development paper - Part 1: Analysis (introduction, literature/practice review, provisional method)

Details of task: The ability to critique your own science communication practice, in this case science shows, and use your analysis to improve your programs is a critical skill. Your shows should be continually changing and improving through the year – they should ‘evolve’. This evolution will happen formally through structured thinking such as this assessment and informally such as making tweaks, improvements or 'happy accidents' while on tour. Many past students tell us at the end of the year they wish they had more chance to develop and personalise their show - this assignment is a perfect opportunity! This two-part assessment asks you to do a Show Analysis (part 1) and then use that to inform the Show Development (part 2). The assessment is formatted in a similar way to an academic paper, providing an introduction to research.

For an example of an academic paper that roughly follows this format see Walker, G. J., Stocklmayer, S. M., & Grant, W. J. (2013). Science theatre: Changing South African students’ intended behaviour toward HIV AIDS. International Journal of Science Education, Part B, 3(2), 101–120. NOTE this paper was produced as part of a PhD project so is more in-depth and research-oriented than what is expected from this assessment piece, however it should be helpful to illustrate the general approach of first understanding the context and theory that underpins your practice, then using that to understand its impacts and make improvements. Your paper, however, will be structured somewhat differently.


Structure and key sections: The format is flexible and you can adapt sections, subheadings to suit your needs, however should include:

1.  Show Analysis - this provides the theoretical and contextual foundation for your paper. It should:

  • briefly introduce the wider context for your show
  • construct an argument that reviews associated literature and your practice (shows) re the focus of your analysis and development - this should:
  • start by broadly analysing your show by discussing your practice (e.g. reflections tour performances, lecture and training content, etc.) and how it fits together with the theory (i.e. the academic literature). This may cover aspects of content (e.g. the science, demos, etc.) and/or performance (e.g. voice/body, dramatic aspects, etc.) and where they intersect - see below for some ideas.
  • use this broad analysis to focus in on one or more key aspects to explore in more depth, including digging deeper and synthesising the literature - NOTE this will form the basis for what you will develop in part 2 of the assignment, so put some thought into your priorities.
  • based on deeper analysis of these key aspects, identify priorities for development.
  • it can help to think of the argument structure as a 'funnel' - you start by broadly looking at your show (top of the funnel), then use that broad analysis to identify/argue the key aspects you think need developing (funnel narrows), then from there your specific development priorities flow out (bottom of the funnel).
  • outline a provisional method for implementing your development priorities - exactly what are they, how might you develop/improve the selected aspects, how will you measure the impact or know your improvements worked, etc.?

You may identify several key aspects/development priorities, however it is best to focus on a few (e.g. 1-3) deeply, rather than many superficially.

As everyone will have different key aspects, you'll need to do independent research to identify relevant academic papers in addition to those covered in lectures. The Wattle folder is a great place to start and Graham is happy to share/discuss more on your specific areas (and he's keen to learn through new things you find too!).

IMPORTANT NOTE - when discussing your shows/practice in the Analysis, you should take into account both training/development experiences AND shows on tour. You will only have one week of tour in term 1, so make sure you are reflecting on your practice and MAKING NOTES during the training sessions at Questacon.

2.  Show Development – this is the more experimental part of the paper where, based on your analysis, you take an evidence-based approach to improving your show - this should:

  • outline a refined method for your development priorities - identify specific aspects to develop/improve, recap briefly the rationale for why you prioritised them, create a plan for improvement, and identify standard and creative indicators or ways to measure to your progress (i.e. data). Improvements may involve but are not limited to adding demos, developing performance techniques, sourcing or creating new demos/equipment, refining (not completely changing) the theme/focus of your show, etc.
  • report results - summarise your experience trialling the improvements and provide associated qualitative and/or quantitative data (these may include teacher surveys, peer/coordinator feedback, self-assessment, audience observations, audience feedback, and personal notes/reflections).
  • discussion - drawing on literature you used in the Analysis and new literature as relevant to your findings, discuss your findings. This could cover what worked, what didn't, why (in your opinion and with reference to the literature), etc. If you have findings that speak back to the theory, e.g. confirm/refute/develop ideas in the literature or place them in new contexts, this is the place to close the theory-practice loop.
  • conclusion - what does all this mean for your practice/shows and those of others; what are the specific things we should note or do going forward?


PLAN AHEAD! The structure of this assignment means you need to work on it over a period of time to produce a quality outcome. It is recommended you begin drafting, researching and ESPECIALLY TAKING NOTES during training, lectures and Tour 1 even though the Show Development is not due until after Tour 2.


Below are just some key aspects of content and performance to think about and improve, but you may feel others are relevant too. The focus/weighting will depend a lot on your particular show:

  • Enthusiasm, immediacy, humour and audience ‘connection’
  • Emotional engagement and the role of different emotions (e.g. surprise)
  • Relevance to the audience
  • Use of clear, accurate explanations with appropriate scientific concepts, explanations, language and performance for the particular audience
  • Show structure/storyline and connections between different segments
  • Use of props and execution of demonstrations
  • Audience interaction (questions, call and response, volunteers, etc.)
  • Use of voice (clarity, projection, tone, volume, modulation, etc.), facial expressions, body language and movement on stage
  • Your personal touches; what makes the show unique.

It is strongly recommended you make preliminary notes during tour while show experiences are fresh in your mind. Notes taken directly after shows will be priceless.

Marking Criteria


  • Fully integrate academic literature throughout (not just a token reference or generic paragraph at the end), consultation with peers/experts and other relevant sources to support the analysis and development – make links between theory and practice.
  • Be neatly formatted, written in clear and concise language, have excellent spelling, punctuation and grammar, clear structuring and signposting, and include pictures/photos, diagrams and figures that enhance communication.
  • Synthesise, bring together and triangulate evidence (use multiple sources of evidence to support a common conclusion) to create strong, structured, logical arguments.
  • Show evidence of independent literature research, expert consultation and other efforts to create a broad evidence base and make sense of your findings.
  • Use specific examples from the shows to support statements and illustrate ideas.

1. Show Analysis

To be eligible for a pass on this assignment your Analysis must:

  • Be 1500 words long, excluding your final reference list (note for all assessments, word limits have 10% wiggle room and you may include background/supplementary information - but never key info - as appendices that don't count towards the word limit).

Overall, your Analysis should ideally:

  • Address the structure and key sections points listed above – including insights from theory/literature.
  • Consider a range of show content and performance aspects, but craft an argument that focuses in on those most relevant to your show/development.
  • Create a well structured, easy to follow argument that starts broad, focuses in, and ends with your development priorities - these should flow smoothly and logically from your reflections and literature review.

Word limit: 1500

Value: 20%

Due: 21 April

Estimated return date: approximately two weeks later

Submission: via Wattle

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 25/06/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Show Analysis and Development - Part 2: Development (method, results, discussion, conclusion)

Marking Criteria

2. Show Development

To be eligible for a pass on this assignment your piece must:

  • Be 1500 words long, excluding your final reference list.

Overall, your assignment should ideally:

  • Address the structure and key sections points listed above – including insights from theory/literature.
  • Clearly and specifically identify: one to three (depending on scope/size) development priorities; how you'll implement them; and standard and creative indicators to assess/measure results.
  • Implement the improvements, describe the process and outcomes, including how your indicators demonstrate progress (or not).
  • Report your findings/data in a clear, easy to follow manner using tables, diagrams, photos or other figures to enhance communication.
  • Think deeply on the meaning of your results to produce a creative, novel and well structured/argued discussion.
  • Provide both obvious and profound conclusions and recommendations useful for you and - critically - your peers, the Circus and science communication more broadly.

See also common criteria for both the Analysis and Development above.

Word limit: 1500

Value: 20%

Due: 25 June

Estimated return date: approximately two weeks later

Submission: via Wattle

Assessment Task 3

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 19/07/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Creating New Props and Demos - Concept Note

Please refer to Assessment Task 4 below for full details.

Concept Note (hurdle requirement for Assessment Task 4) - Submit a one A4 page concept note outline 1-3 ideas, including a provisional idea of design, construction and materials (diagrams welcome), the science, how it might be presented, and where it might fit into tour or other outputs (i.e. during show X, workshop Y, as a busk, etc.). This is not formally graded but is a requirement and opportunity for feedback (it aims to get you thinking early).

Word limit: 1 A4 page

Value: NA

Due: 19 July

Estimated return date: approximately two weeks later

Submission: via Wattle

Assessment Task 4

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 12/11/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Creating New Props and Demos

Details of task: In this assessment piece a team of three need to conceive, make and use a piece (or set) of novel equipment/prop. The equipment must be used in one or more of:

  • your shows
  • as a busk in school shows
  • digital workshops, especially your bespoke workshop - this option can be excellent for efficiency
  • at Pop-ups (TBC based on tour arrangements), e.g. as a small group activity at the Lab bench or similar
  • other settings such as teacher workshops (TBC based on tour arrangements) - please check with Graham and the Coordinators first
  • in non-tour contexts, e.g. if you are active on social media (note if you're hoping Questacon will pay for materials, choose a tour context!)

Select something practical (both theme and logistics) for use on the setting(s) you are planning on. Note the busk option is there so you can, if you choose, make something outside the themes of your current shows and give flexibility for all team members. You will submit a brief concept note (not graded but required) early on, a risk management worksheet (RMW) prior to the time you plan to use it (not graded but required), followed by a written report and video.

This assignment is to be completed as a trio (if this is problematic please contact Graham and we'll adjust things). Please discuss your ideas, inspirations, etc. with the wider team and identify people suitable for fruitful collaboration. Please lock in your teammates ASAP so you can think about ideas (note this is up to you to arrange, but talk with Graham if any difficulties).


PLAN AHEAD! The structure of this assignment means your team needs to work on it over a period of time to produce a quality outcome. Doing initial testing as early as possible on tour is STRONGLY recommended as any surprise problems come final tour will leave little time. It will be a busy period – don’t leave it to the last minute.


ALERT ALERT ALERT re DUE DATE: as ANU requires all marks to be submitted in mid November, the final assignment is due during the final tour. It is unequivocally recommended you have a final draft or completed write up before final tour and, unless you are using footage from tour delivery, you are also at a similar stage with the video.


Your duo may (1) create something completely novel, (2) find a design and significantly refine it, or (3) substantially innovate on some existing equipment. If basing your project on options 2 or 3, and you’re at all unsure, talk to Graham to confirm there is enough creativity and innovation in your plan. It is fine to improve an existing idea, but we want to see evidence of individual creativity and design thinking – not just finding some designs on the web and making exactly that. Examples of significantly refine or substantially innovate could include but are not limited to:

  • Taking a store-bought prop like a science toy and coming up with a very clever way to make it from cheap everyday items so people could relate better to it and make their own
  • Taking two demos and adapting the equipment so they can be fused into one new and creative piece of equipment and associated demo, e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWckjEHAc9g
  • Seeing a Youtube clip of a demo, then making the equipment based on your own design and adding/refining features that make it better for communicating the science or engaging the audience.
  • Creatively adapting small-scale equipment that is typically used as a hands-on workshop activity into something large scale that will work with a show audience, or vice-versa.


Where do we start? You’ve all played with existing props, seen examples of new ones, and the internet is full of weird inspiration. Perhaps you have a problem or opportunity that could be solved? The analysis and development assignment may also highlight areas a new prop could be effective. SCOM6007 will also introduce you to Design Thinking, which is a great structure for designing anything. Props communicating contemporary research are also encouraged.


How complex should it be? Some of the best props are simple, but for the purposes of this assignment it would be wise to attempt something a bit more complex to show off your creativity, making and design skills.


Where will I make it? You are encouraged to make use of the ANU Makerspace and its expert staff and (selected) free consumables for this assignment. Both CPAS and Questacon have lots of materials you can borrow. Graham is also available to help and advise as you go through the process, and can steer you to other experts.


Safety! If in any doubt at all, consult Graham and the Coordinators regarding safety beforehand, especially if your equipment involves hazards such as fire, high pressure, liquid nitrogen, lasers, etc. As with any new demo, you will need to create an RMW, get it signed off by the Coordinators before you trial it on tour. Submit your RMW to the Coordinators via email (CC Graham) two weeks prior to when you want to use it with the public/schools. If your prop involves significant risks, consider including a very basic video of the prop in action or physically showing the Coordinators, even if it is still to be refined. You may negotiate with the Coordinators to vary these timelines.


What are the constraints? Your creativity may be unbounded, but like all Science Circus props there are practicalities:

  • Size and portability – it needs to fit in the car on tour, including on days where you may have several different show kits and your luggage, and fit on-screen for digital workshops. Ignore this if you’re using it in different contexts.
  • Cost – it should be cheap – a maximum of $50 – and wherever possible make use of existing resources (recycled items, stuff in the Cage, CPAS storeroom resources, etc.). If it requires consumables, these should also be low cost, and ideally reusable/recyclable/sustainable. Innovation in this area will be factored into assessment. Costs for materials can be reimbursed as per the petty cash procedure on tour – but must be approved by the Coordinators first.
  • Set up time – it should be easily setup (along with everything else) in the time you usually have to prepare.
  • Robustness and reliability – it should work consistently without breaking (but note it may not the first time… this is part of the design process!).
  • Safety and messiness – it MUST be safe for you and the audience, including during the making process, and not create more mess or other negative effects than a standard demo/activity.


Marking Criteria

To be eligible for a pass on this assignment, as a team you must:

  • Submit the 1-A4 Concept Note (hurdle requirement) (Assessment Task 3).
  • Submit a risk management worksheet (RMW). DUE 2 weeks before public use or by negotiation with Coordinators.
  • Use the equipment as specified above.
  • Submit a Creating New Props and Demos Report including:
  • A 3-7 minute video. The video should include presentation of the equipment as a demo/activity for a general audience, as suiting your target audience, with equal contributions by team members. You may use footage from an actual show/activity/video (this can be very powerful), or film a piece to camera. You may also include some rationale, background on the making, or other information.
  • A write up of the demo in the same style, format and length (~300 words) as those in your show scripts, using the headings “Demo Name, Science concept, Equipment required, Procedure and Explanation”.
  • The design rationale, how/why it developed, and notes on the making process.
  • Evidence it was used on tour, online or elsewhere (dates, context, pictures, descriptions, etc.).
  • Reflection/analysis/informal evaluation of how it was received by the audience.
  • Refer to the criteria below for guidance as to what you may want to highlight.


Overall, your equipment and demo should ideally:

  • Be highly creative and novel
  • Show evidence all team members have contributed equally
  • Establish clear goals for the science being communicated and have that reflected in the design
  • Incorporate deliberate, thought-out design features that make it more engaging, for example design features that contribute to clearer display of the science, or that make it more emotionally engaging (think back to the emotions Deep Dive)
  • Make innovative use of everyday items, recycled/repurposed items and/or digital manufacturing (3D printing, etc.) in ways that enhance the motivational and science communication potential of the equipment.
  • Be aware of practical and logistical constraints and limitations (e.g. size, cost, set up time, portability, robustness, messiness, need for consumables, reliability, and especially safety) and reflect that in the design.
  • Show evidence that you have tested and refined the prop and associated demonstration.
  • Integrate academic literature, consultation with peers/experts and other relevant sources in the design, making and understanding of the audience response.
  • (Document) Be neatly formatted, written in clear and concise language, have excellent spelling, punctuation and grammar, and include diagrams and figures that enhance communication.
  • (Video) Have quality production with well-lit or deliberately used lighting, clear sound and minimal background noise (leeway given for 'live' footage).


Length: 1000 words, excluding your final reference list / 3-7 minute video

Value: 15%

Due: November 12 (NOTE this is during final tour, as ANU marks need to be submitted later that week there is no flexibility unless incredible circumstances)

Estimated return date: approximately two weeks later

Submission: video: upload video (google drive, unlisted youtube, etc. - file transfer as suits) and include link in document / document: via Wattle

Assessment Task 5

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 21/06/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Science Show Videos (1 of 2)

Details of task: Performance of science shows plays a major part in your fieldwork delivering the Questacon Science Circus. This assignment will assess your ability to perform a high quality show. You will film and submit two recorded shows:

  1. School show performed during first semester
  2. Pop-up show during final tour (or school show if not possible - pending tour arrangements)


Marking criteria

To be eligible for a pass on this assignment your must:

  • Submit two science show videos


Ideally your show should demonstrate:

Science content, explanation and communication:

  • Suitable level and explanation for the audience, with science integrated into performance rather than tacked on after each demo
  • Accurate scientific explanations enhanced using creative analogies, physical actions, and/or other creative methods
  • Performance of demonstrations with safety, creativity, ease and confidence
  • Use of key communication messages
  • Logical structure with smooth flow, effective conceptual and narrative sequencing, and smooth links/segues

Performance and audience engagement:

  • Good pace with plenty of demonstrations - action-packed but not rushed
  • Well managed audience interaction, questioning, and use of volunteers in different ways (single, multiple, whole audience)
  • Enthusiasm, immediacy and audience ‘connection’
  • ‘Strategic’ use of performance techniques (where they enhance the communication of science or other key objectives) including appropriate audience interaction, humour, drama and/or other skills (e.g. music or dance)
  • Use of suitable style, tone and language for the particular audience

Presentation skills:

  • Clear voice, projected strongly and clearly
  • Variation in pitch, volume and pace of voice which enhances engagement and communication of the science (strategic use)
  • Good eye contact and strategic use of facial gestures and body movement
  • Clear sight-lines and visuals for the audience, particularly the visibility of demonstrations
  • Use of presentation techniques to control the audience

Relevance, creativity, personalisation and show development:

  • Use of everyday examples of the science concepts, especially where these connect/appeal to the particular audience
  • Innovation and creativity refining the show from the original show notes
  • New content and demonstrations that fits in the show theme
  • Personal touches such as referencing background expertise, unique anecdotes, etc. which enhance content in the show
  • Evidence of application of feedback.

This assignment will only assess your own show and not any joint introductions and conclusions or busks. Only the show should be submitted in the video file.


Value: 20% - 10% Video 1, 10% Video 2

Video requirements: Ideally you should edit/record such that the file is only your show performance. In the event editing is difficult, you may highlight IN THE FILE NAME the start time of your show. The video should be in one file and in a common video format, e.g. mpeg, avi, etc. Please do your best to ensure good audio quality. A front-on view works best.

Due dates:

  • Video 1 (school) due 21 June
  • Video 2 (pop-up) due 16 November (NOTE this is during tour - if you can supply it earlier that would be most helpful for Graham)

Estimated return date: one month after

Submission: Give the coordinators your video for collation onto a single USB/drive.

Assessment Task 6

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 16/11/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Science Show Videos (2 of 2)

See detail in Assessment Task 5 above

Assessment Task 7

Value: 0 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Inclusive science communication - 1. Journal Club

Background: During the year you will explore cross-cultural science communication and equity and inclusion as it relates to science communication, with a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander peoples. This will include lectures, discussions and in-depth Australian Indigenous cultural awareness sessions early in the year, followed by three opportunities (two digital workshops and one in-person workshop) to engage with the same school, supported by ongoing dialogue with teachers. Questacon will train you to present the first two workshops, while the third you will create your own bespoke workshop. You will also have lectures and tour experiences on effective workshop design and facilitation - a context that somewhat different to you school shows, but with some big picture commonalities. All tour activities and assessments will be completed as a team.

There are three assessment items spread over the year:

  1. Journal club online discussion - a chance to consolidate what you learn early in the year and engage with literature early on, giving you an evidence base for presenting and creating your workshops (digital and in-person). This isn't graded, but you must meaningfully participate to be eligible to pass.
  2. Round table presentation - a more formal academic presentation outlining what you've learned so far, your high-level approach/principles to designing your bespoke workshop, and how that relates to the academic literature and other expertise.
  3. Bespoke workshop development - design, documentation and delivery of a novel workshop.

Details of task: Journal club - In this assessment, your team will choose some academic papers and/or other in-depth expert sources (reports, websites, etc.), read them, discuss them amongst your team, then post a summary of the key points and your take on them in an online discussion forum. Other teams will then respond, comment, ask questions, etc. The aim is for you to explore a wide range of literature/evidence and discuss it with your peers, giving you a foundation for tour activities.

The primary focus of the papers/sources you choose should relate to inclusion, equity, cross-cultural science communication and Indigenous audiences, however you may also choose to discuss the rich literature related to workshops and facilitation (see Wattle for some leads). Discussion bringing together these aspects is particularly encouraged, e.g. are there aspects of facilitation or workshop design that are particularly relevant for creating inclusive programs for Indigenous students?

Marking Criteria

The piece is not formally graded, however to be eligible for a pass on this assignment your team must:

  • Choose at least two papers or other in-depth expert sources - at least one must be from the academic literature. If some of your sources are fairly brief, you may like to choose an extra one(s).
  • As a team, make a 150-300 word post to the online forum regarding each of your sources, designed to share the key points and promote discussion.
  • As an individual, post at least one response (no word-count, don't need an essay, but must have substance) to other teams initial post - but feel free to add more as the discussion evolves.

Length: as above

Value: NA

Due: initial post by 17 May (earlier better), response posts and discussion ongoing until 18 June.

Estimated return date: NA

Submission: link for Wattle online discussion forum will be supplied

Assessment Task 8

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Inclusive science communication - 2. Round Table Presentation

Details of task: Part 2 of this assignment asks your team to present a formal academic presentation for your peers so you can all learn from each other's research and experiences, consolidate them, and use them as a foundation for designing your bespoke workshop. It should also build on and incorporate learnings and literature from the journal club assessment earlier in the year. Each team will present including Q&A, then we'll have combined discussion. Using actual activities, props and other workshop-like content to give context and communicate ideas, particularly with reference to the literature, is warmly welcomed.

To ensure you have considered the literature in detail and can share that with peers, a reference list is a base requirement for this assessment - this could be part of a PowerPoint used in the presentation, or a written document. Using a PowerPoint is not mandatory.

Marking Criteria

To be eligible for a pass on this assignment your duo must:

  • Present for 6-9 minutes (group of 2) / 9-12 minutes (group of 3) - not including Q&A
  • Include a reference list (e.g. in a PowerPoint used in the presentation, or a document).
  • Include equitable contributions by team members.
  • Participate in the discussion/questions.

Overall, your contribution should ideally:

  • Synthesise what you've learned through the (1) cultural awareness training, (2) journal club, and (3) your tour experiences when taken together (i.e. what new ideas are revealed looking at it overall) to bring a deeper perspective on facilitation, workshops, Indigenous audiences, inclusion and/or cross-cultural science communication.
  • Discuss how this synthesis will inform, guide and provide foundational principles your workshop design and delivery
  • Incorporate the literature on (1) Indigenous audiences, inclusion and/or cross-cultural science communication and (2) facilitation/workshop design.
  • Use actual activities, props and other workshop-like content to give context and communicate ideas (noting this is a formal academic talk, not a 'show').
  • Use specific examples from workshops you facilitated.
  • Consider what would be most relevant to your peers to make them more effective workshop designers and facilitators, especially in cross-cultural contexts.

Length: Present for 6-9 minutes (group of 2) / 9-12 minutes (group of 3) - not including Q&A

Value: 10%

Due: date TBC in late August/early September

Estimated return date: two weeks following

Assessment Task 9

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 13/10/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Inclusive science communication - 3. Bespoke Workshop Plan and Rationale

Details of task: Workshop plan. The culmination of your Indigenous engagement is designing a novel workshop. The workshop is an opportunity to get highly creative and evidence based by bringing together:

  • your practical experience delivering workshops - both their design and how you facilitated them
  • the theory/literature related to Indigenous audiences, inclusion, workshops and facilitation
  • your knowledge, experiences and relationship with your school

The outputs of this will be captured through a Workshop Plan and Rationale, which should include:

Workshop plan

  • A running sheet showing including goals, set up, tech, tips, schedule, any key logistical/technical/WHS issues, etc. - Questacon will provide a template for this (see Wattle).
  • A Risk Management Worksheet for the workshop using the same template as you use for show demos, but with a different row for each workshop activity.
  • A materials list separated into:
  • equipment reused in each workshop (e.g. scissors, marbles, etc.)
  • consumables (e.g. vinegar, cornflour, etc.) per session based on a group size of 30 students. For consumables such as a roll of sticky tape which will last for multiple workshops, note that in brackets with an estimate of how many workshops it will cover, e.g. 1 ream of paper (enough for 5 workshops). You will need to estimate quantities; be generous in your estimations so you won’t run out, but not excessive.
  • your materials list should be highly specific especially as to quantities, e.g. 5 x scissors, 4 litres white vinegar, 500g baking soda, and where specific details are needed for functionality, e.g. 5 x 1.25 litre soft drink (not still water) bottles including lids.

Be careful to be precise, clear and unambiguous in these documents so they are a useful planning and logistics tool to run the workshop. They should be written in such a way that someone else with Science Circus/outreach experience could use them to run your workshop (alongside practical training) but don’t need to contain every step in every activity – just key/summary details.

Workshop Rationale

The rationale should include:

  • An evidence-based rationale of why the facilitation methods and content/activities your team are using should be effective, including support from the literature.
  • A statement discussing how your team have considered and incorporated principles around inclusion, Indigenous culture and Indigenous/diverse audiences.

This section should be justified using all team members’ cumulative experiences (cultural awareness training, running workshops, reflections on theory/literature, etc.), along with the academic literature. Independent research is encouraged.

Marking Criteria

To be eligible for a pass on this assignment your team’s plan and justification must:

  • Include a plan, RMW and materials list (no fixed page limit)
  • Include a rationale of between 750-1000 words.

Overall, your team’s assignment should ideally:

  • Use clear and efficient formatting, and have precise, detailed and clear content/language in the plan, RMW and materials list so it is a useful document for workshop planning and management.
  • Include a compelling argument that (1) justifies the workshop design and facilitation techniques AND (2) shows thoughtful consideration of aspects related inclusion, Indigenous culture and Indigenous/diverse audiences - especially where these two overlap.
  • Uses a range of evidence in that rationale including the academic literature, consultation with peers/experts and your own experiences.
  • Be neatly formatted, written in clear and concise language, have excellent spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  • Include tables, diagrams, charts and/or figures that enhance communication of key ideas.

Content limit: plan (no fixed length, but not verbose), justification 750-1000 words, not including your reference list.

Value: 15%

Due: 13 October

Estimated return date: approximately two weeks later

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations. Late submission is not accepted for the Round Table Presentation, Show 2 or Creating New Props and Demos final report/video.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be returned via Wattle/Turnitin and/or by email. Feedback and grading is typically via comments in the documents and a feedback summary and grade.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Graham Walker

Research Interests

Science communication, science shows, informal learning environments, emotion and motivation in science communication, capacity building and international development, making and makerspaces

Dr Graham Walker

Dr Graham Walker

Research Interests

Dr Graham Walker

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions