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The Karri class had an absolutely awesome time in Gingin at the Gravity Discovery Centre last week! Our day started with Work Cycle and a Dance lesson with Jaimie, we then ate an early lunch and loaded up the bus with all our luggage, sleeping bags, and mattresses, ready to stay the night at the Observatory.

After a fairly long bus ride, we were all anticipating our arrival and became very excited when we drove past the ‘Welcome to Gingin’ sign and could see the Discovery Centre’s infamous ‘leaning tower of Gingin’ in the distance (which we would later climb to the top of, in order to test the laws of gravity and drop water balloons from the 45m height!).

On arrival, we carried our luggage into the theatre room which would be our accommodation for the night and we were introduced to Mitch the Astronomer. He showed us around the centre and explained how the various displays work. We took turns going inside a pretend space shuttle which simulated g-force. Astronauts use this for preparing to go into space. Mitch then asked for a volunteer to stand in front of a copper plate and a big metal pole. He swung the pole back and it flew towards Niamh, but to her relief it was stopped just in time by the electro-magnetic field being created by the electrons in the copper plate.

After stopping for a quick afternoon tea, we were off to the tower. At the bottom we filled our water balloons, some were bigger and others much smaller. Some of us predicted that they would land at the same time and others predicted that the bigger balloon would fall faster than the smaller. We climbed the stairs to the top of the tower to test our theories! From the top, we found that the water balloons did drop at different times apart from when Mitch dropped both at exactly the same time. Therefore, the difference was due to human error and scientifically both balloons should land at the exact same time. This proves Galileo’s theory that time of descent is independent of mass, meaning objects will fall at the same acceleration.

After a lot of fun and scientific revelations, we went to have a look at the telescopes which we would be using later in the evening once it was dark enough. We then had some free time in the centre to explore the exhibits further. After a delicious dinner, a hot Milo, and a quick presentation about light pollution and our Solar System, it was time to put on our warm clothes and head outside to use the telescopes. We were lucky enough to have a lovely clear night so we could clearly see lots of celestial bodies, including; the Jewel Box cluster, and the Proxima Centauri star through the different telescopes. We also got to see a close-up of the moon which was amazingly bright!

After cleaning our teeth, we were eager to get into our warm sleeping bags and call it a night. In the early morning, we witnessed Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn aligning across the pre-dawn sky, which Mitch showed us with his laser. We also got to explore some parts of the centre while still in our pyjamas! After packing our gear and stopping at the gift shop to buy a souvenir coin for the class, we were back on the bus and back to school. What an adventure!

Katie Simpson and the Karri Students