Friday, 10 March, 2023

The world’s first 3D printed rocket ready for takeoff; Ukraine’s flowers of war; Australia’s first scientists; and furniture for the future.  


Kids + Media Survey:

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Today’s Quick Links: 

Flexible classrooms:
1950s classroom:

The WA study:
Viktor Mikhalev’s flowers of war: 

Relativity Space launch livestream:
Relativity Space homepage: 

Aboriginal bush medicines: 

International bagpipe gallery: 


Dig Deeper:

Flexible furniture – the full report ​​

Veritasium YouTube video on Relativity’s rocket: 

Australian Museum on indigenous science: 

CSIRO and Indigenous Science: 


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A three-year-long study of year 2 and year 4 students in WA has found direct links between the type of furniture available in classrooms, and student learning, and teaching style.


If you’re in one of the 25% of schools in Australia that have flexible furniture, you might not be surprised to hear that. 


By flexible furniture, I don’t mean chairs that are made of bendy rubber. These classrooms give kids choice about where they sit to learn. They may have big fit balls … wobble stools … tall desks that you can stand at … circular desks to collaborate at … low, coffee-table-style desks so you can sit on the floor … office chairs with wheels … and, of course, traditional school chairs and individual desks. 


Researchers working with WA’s Vasse Primary School found that a whopping 97% of students said that when they had access to flexible furniture, they learned better, were able to concentrate and focus more, and collaborated better with other students. 


Teachers, for their part, said that when the flexible furniture was in their rooms, they didn’t have to work as hard on managing student behaviour, and could focus instead on student learning. They also said they were able to connect with students better, because they weren’t stuck at the front of the room in front of 30 jam-packed desks. 


I’ll pop some pictures in your episode notes of traditional and flexible furniture classrooms, as well as the link to the full study. The Vasse students’ favourite things were ottomans and soft seating; office chairs with wheels; and circular tables. I wonder what you’d like best? As the saying goes, to each their own. 




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops, and today we’ve landed in Ukraine, where sadly, a barrage of Russian missiles landed yesterday. But here’s perhaps a silver lining to a bad news story: a Ukrainian blacksmith is turning the ugly weapons of war into objects of great beauty. A blacksmith is a metalworker who makes and repairs objects by hand. A couple of hundred years ago, everyone knew and used a smithy… it’s where the last name Smith comes from! And in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, which has been illegally occupied by Russia for over a year, Viktor Mikhalev is using his blacksmith’s tools to create what he calls “flowers of war.” People bring Viktor busted machine guns from the front line, and he forges them into flowers. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I’ll put photos in your episode notes so you can appreciate the transformation yourselves. 





This weekend, if all goes well, the world’s first 3D printed rocket will launch into space. The 35-metre long metal rocket, called Terran 1, is a smaller, test vehicle for a 66-metre tall, fully reusable rocket that’s supposed to launch next year, and be capable of going to Mars. Built in California by a company called Relativity Space, the history-making Terran 1 is set to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 4am on Sunday, Australian time. 


So… why create the world’s biggest 3D printer to make an aluminium-alloy rocket? Well, a traditional rocket has more than 1,000 parts, and takes 9 months to build. The Terran rocket has one part, takes two weeks to build, AND costs ten times less. 


And because all scientists know that if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again… having a product ready every two weeks to test, make changes, and rebuild… that’s a real winner. I’ll put a ton of links in your episode notes, as well as the launch live feed, for you to learn more. 




Do you love kahoots? Well, Squiz Kids’ very own teacher Christie has made an awesome one as part of today’s Classroom Companion… and there’s one question on this story! Check your episode notes for the link – don’t forget, it’s free for parents and teachers to join Squiz Kids Classroom, and start using the news to learn the Australian curriculum. 





Who do you think were Australia’s first scientists? I hope you’re not picturing a man dressed in the English fashion of the late 1700s… because for tens of thousands of years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been doing science here. They’ve been engineers, designing effective weapons, they’ve been astronomers, knowing that tides are linked to the phases of the moon, long before European scientists figured it out. 

As botanists, they figured out that tea tree oil could prevent infections… and in Central Australia, that a spinifex grass five times stronger than stainless steel made excellent spear tips. 

In fact, the Indjalandji-Dhidhanu people have set up a company to investigate how else that spinifex grass can be used – and it’s now in the final stages of creating medicine to treat joint pain. The Australian government says that it wants to see much more collaboration between indigenous and non-indigenous scientists – they’ve announced a review of our country’s science priorities, and called for First Nations science to become a key priority. As the old saying goes: “Whoever walks with the wise will become wise.”

I’ve put a list of some Aboriginal bush medicines in your episode notes – there are treatments for headaches, burns, and even stonefish stings.



This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. How long does it take to 3D print a metal rocket? 
  2. A Ukranian blacksmith is calling his machine gun roses flowers of what? 
  3. And a hard one, for the last day of the school week: Which Aboriginal bush medicine prevents infections?  





March 10 – International Bagpipe Day! You’d be forgiven for thinking that the bagpipe is a Scottish instrument, but actually, people have played the pipes for centuries all over Europe, North Africa, Western Asia, and South Asia. I’ll put some links in your episode notes.  


It’s also a Friday – oh boy you know what that means .. lots of birthday shout outs for today and the coming weekend … which means we need to get our reggae on … hit it … 


It’s a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today… Hughie from Gilgandra, River from Newcastle, Zoe from West Albury, Owen from Cannon Hill, Chloe from Bassendeen, Patrick from Charlestown, Harvey and Alissa from Sydney, Abbie from Brisbane, Tanay from Craigieburn, Amelia from Tuggeranong, Eva from Portland North, Sophie from Mosman, Sophie from Deniliquin, Mary-Flo from Broken Hill, Lucy from Ruse, Jamal, George and Justin from Narrandera and Zac from North Rocks. 


And belated shout outs go to… Eli from Albany Hills, Liam from North Ainslie, Charlotte from Eleebana and Wilson from Sydney.  


Not forgetting all the Squiz Kids who are celebrating a birthday over the coming weekend… Louis from Roseberry, Nikki from Newrybar, Archie from Surat, Noelephrey from Helensvale, Nicolas from Brighton-Le-Sands, Riley from Cleveland, Lachlan from Padstow, Owen from Capalaba, Adi and Mitchell from Springfield, Aanya and Aadhya from Oak Park, Preston from Yass, Isabel from Wynnum, Joshua from West Pennant Hills, Christopher from Tabulam, Mia from Portland North and Hywel from Perth.


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Two weeks
  2. War
  3. Tea tree oil