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Spaceward Bound Expedition: Australia 2011

photo of Paula Mills in Antarctica

Paula Mills
Curriculum Leader: Science-
Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, South Australia

I have been a secondary educator for around 10 years now and currently lead a large team of science teachers at Prince Alfred College in Adelaide, South Australia. The college has undergone many changes in the three years that I have been there and I look forward to driving a few more as a result of my experience on Spaceward Bound.

My interests in Space Science stem from an enthusiastic science teacher during my middle schooling. He regularly encouraged us to question the world we see around us and I strive to emulate him. In senior school I toyed with the idea of becoming an engineer but soon chose to study experimental physics at the University of York in the United Kingdom (UK). My final year project resulted in an offer to complete a DPhil on atmospheric deterioration of medieval stained glass windows and during this time I regularly assisted in the undergraduate labs. This led me to work in the areas of archaeological science and environmental science until in the late 1990’s I trained to teach.

Whilst teaching in the UK I got the opportunity to participate in a twelve month environmental study based at Davis Station, Antarctica. This allowed me to combine a love for research, travel and teaching. The students followed my time there through web conferencing and a weekly diary. My expedition allowed students (and staff) to see first-hand that anything is possible if you set your mind to it and I endeavour to inspire and excite students with stories from this time.

Following my Antarctic adventure I immigrated to Australia and reside now in South Australia where I am now settled with a partner who is passionate about space exploration. Our state has a tremendous space science history through research and development dating back to the 1940’s and the glory days of launching in Woomera throughout the 1960’s.

My partner and I spent three whole days in the National Air & Space Museum in Washington last year and of course we visited Kennedy Space Center.

One area that I would like to develop is a multi-disciplinary fieldwork unit for the year 10 students, this would incorporate the science as an endeavour strand from the new Australian Curriculum and I feel that this expedition will provide essential content and background for areas that I am aiming to develop to support and enhance the curriculum at Prince Alfred College.

I believe that this expedition will be a great way to extend our outstanding reputation for academic performance and endeavours at our college.


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Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated: March 2011
Teachers Contact: Liza Coe