The Teachers' Guide to Bright Sparcs

The Teachers' Guide to Bright Sparcs - Level 8

'Working Scientifically' Strand, Using Science

Present examples from history
that show how scientific theories
have changed world views

The Bright Sparcs online exhibition which covers the life and work of botanist
Amalie Dietrich provides a great place to start discovering how the scientific theories have changed world views. The theory of evolution once believed that Aboriginals were the 'missing link' between humans and animals. This theory affected the way that scientists, collectors and even the Australian colonists, treated Aboriginal Australians. (Further resources are available in the Amalie Dietrich history teaching unit.)

Another paper on this topic, 'Ancestors, not Specimens: reflections on the controversy over the remains of Aboriginal people in European scientific collections' by Paul Turnbull, is published in the Electronic Journal of Australian and New Zealand History. The second section of this paper, 'Rare and curious specimens', covers the scientific views of Aboriginals in the past.

Discuss ways governments, industry
and people in the community
can influence the development
and uses of science

Bright Sparcs contains the records of a number of politicians and business people who used to be scientists and those politicians who were involved with science in Australia.

The work of the Optical Munitions Panel in Australia during the Second World War is a prime example of government (and war) influencing the development and application of science in Australia. The Bright Sparcs online exhibition on the Optical Munitions Panel is a wonderful resource (also available in text only versions to download). The history work unit on the development of optical munitions in Australia during the Second World War is a useful classroom tool for further study in this area.

'Working Scientifically' Strand, Acting Responsibly

Analyse an example of conflicting
'scientific opinion' being an
important part of the debate

The nuclear age has brought about worldwide scientific and political debate. Bright Sparcs has many resources to offer in this controversial field, and a few are listed below.

If you have any suggestions on Australian scientists that we can feature in this section,
please email us at:

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Published by the Australian Science Archives Project on ASAPWeb, 7 March 1997
Comments or corrections to: Bright Sparcs (
Prepared by: Denise Sutherland and Elissa Tenkate
Updated by: Elissa Tenkate
Date modified: 19 February 1998

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