Holiday Encore Programs

Wednesday 30 September
Thursday 1 October
Years 1 and 2
Binary Bits and Bytes  with Diana Thanos
Years 1 and 2: Maths

Discover the secrets that lie within your computer! Computers are amazing and we all love them, but how do they communicate? Discover the ancient code that revolutionised our modern world, binary code.  All computer language is based in the binary system of logic. A system with no words, just the numbers 1 and 0! How could this possibly be true? Come along and explore the world of binary numbers and unravel the mystery behind every computer program. Join us as we explore bits and bytes and binary numbers, send secret binary messages and maybe even bleep like a computer! 1, 2 Let’s go!

Diana is an experienced primary school teacher, specialising in Gifted and Talented Education. Her fast paced, fun and engaging approach has led her to the G.A.T.EWAYS team, where she focuses on teaching like-minded individuals in an exciting, hands-on environment. Diana has a love of learning that is both contagious and inspiring!

The Mystery of the Disappearing Dalmatians with Michelle Emsley
Years 1 and 2: Maths

Oh no! A delightful new litter of Dalmatian pups has disappeared and Vince the vet, the owner of the Precious Animal Refuge Centre (P.A.R.C.) is distraught. He’s just about to call the would-be adoptive families of the pups to break the bad news, when he discovers messages left by some of the other doggy residents. There’s the Caesar cryptographs left by the Cavoodles, the Vigenère code left by the Vizsla, and the frequency analysis codes left by the French Bulldogs.  Vince is in a muddle and can’t make out the meaning of the messages - but luckily, Nicola the nurse is an expert in doggy code and she thinks she may be able to solve the mystery with your help. After a quick scout around the other enclosures, she warns you to watch out for the number squares from the Norfolk Terrier, who may not be as loyal as he looks! Can you help Nicola and Vince crack the codes and use your newly acquired knowledge of grid referencing to track down the location of the pups and save the day?


Michelle worked as a local reporter for a newspaper and a radio producer before studying primary teaching. She loves nothing more than tackling a challenging problem. Michelle is thrilled to be putting this passion to good use, inspiring the problem-solvers and mathematicians of the future. She developed a passion for working with gifted and talented students while in the mainstream classroom and has presented for G.A.T.EWAYS on a number of occasions.
Trouble in Tessellation Town with Pete Wolstenholme
Years 1 and 2: Maths

Tessellation Town is the sort of town where everything just fits… literally! The houses, the streets, the flowers, even the pets all work together to create a picture-perfect world that repeats and repeats and then repeats again! But it seems that mysterious someone in Tessellation Town wants to rebel. They keep leaving behind objects that don’t fit in and are causing all sorts of problems by disrupting the patterns. Maybe they think that all this repetition and uniformity is limiting their individuality and self-expression? Or maybe they have a bigger plan? One thing is for sure – they are creating a mosaic of problems for Mayor Square and now he desperately needs your help!

Pete has a passion for finding new and exciting ways of engaging students which has led him to his current role with RethinkPD. He loves finding hidden order and patterns in seemingly chaotic mathematical situations and believes these skills are particularly important for our digital literacy skills. Creating and recognizing patterns in fields like AR, VR and Robotics has the potential to completely revolutionise how we apply Maths. Having benefitted from a gifted program when he was at school, Peter is keen to ‘pay it forward’ and provide a new generation with enriching and challenging learning experiences.
Write Me To Life! with Dimity Powell
Years 1 and 2: Language/ Literature

Once upon a time a small mouse slipped on a pair of trousers and set off upriver on a steamboat, a teapot and a teacup became friends with a lonely visitor to their castle, and a feisty pussycat picked up a sword and pulled on a pair of shiny boots, ready for adventure. Wow! What incredible sounding tales.  With the help of her plucky little pigeon pal, Pippa, children’s author Dimity Powell will take you on an adventure through the use of anthropomorphism in writing stories, exploring why it is such a powerful way to relay emotion, to instruct and to entertain. Not only will she also practise pronouncing this humongous word with you until it rolls effortlessly off your tongue, she’ll also explain how to use it to add more impact to your writing even if every single one of your characters is an animal, or bird, or a clock, or a train…! Conjure up your own literary magic and get ready to bring the inanimate to life!

Dimity loves filling every spare moment with words. She’s the Managing Editor for Kids' Book Review and writes and reviews exclusively for children with over 30 published stories including This is My Dad (2022), Oswald (2021), Pippa (2019), critically acclaimed, The Fix-It Man (2018) and At The End of Holyrood Lane, winner of the 2019 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award.

Dimity has strong aversions to headstands and popping candy (how are things exploding in your mouth fun!) but loves eating cake with ice cream, sailing on the beam and writing in her diary although combining all three makes her nauseous. Dimity lives around the corner from Bat Man on the Gold Coast, although they rarely hang out.  Such are the lives of authors and superheroes.  

Bridge The Gap with Kerrie Parry
Years 1 and 2: Science

Bridges can take all kinds of wonderful and interesting forms; some are long, some are wide, some are tall, but they all do the same job! This workshop will inspire budding engineers as they learn all about the design and construction of bridges. Join Chief Engineer Kerrie on a trip around the globe to discover the oldest datable bridges in the world. Look closely at these bridges, and the materials used to build them and explore why these incredible structures have lasted so long. How were they created and who was behind these creations? Junior engineers will then explore some more modern bridges and investigate the use of supports, shapes and other strategies that structural engineers have used. Filled with all this knowledge about bridges, our junior engineers will then create their own bridges using a simple piece of paper, test them to see how strong they are, and discover ways they could be improved to hold more load!

Kerrie has a keen interest in gifted and talented education and is an experienced primary school teacher who has worked in Australia and abroad. She has worked for G.A.T.E.WAYS for over 5 years with a variety of age groups. She has a passion for creating exciting, fast paced, learning for gifted children. Kerrie has completed mini COGE and COGE at GERRIC, UNSW and is currently completing a Masters in Gifted Education.
Toppling Tumbling Tales with Yvonne Mes
Years 1 and 2: Language/Literature 

Once upon a time, a kite got stuck in a tree, a mysterious plant would not budge from the ground, and a boat sank under strange circumstances. In this workshop, we will look at some of these toppling, tumbling tales (also known as cumulative stories), where the silliness gets bigger or louder or crazier each time you turn the page until it all tumbles down into one great big disastrous end! Do you remember what happened to the gingerbread man who ran away, or that lady who swallowed a fly? We’ll look at how some of the best-known cumulative stories use repetition and increasing tension with often hilarious results (and why we find them so funny), then try our hand at writing them ourselves. What will come tumbling down in your story?

Yvonne is both book creator and book devourer. She writes and illustrates picture books. Her short stories are published in magazines and have been animated on Brisbane City Hall. She also has an insatiable appetite for reviewing books.

Yvonne has over 20 years of experience working with children of all ages, abilities and cultures. She has a Bachelor of Children's Services and qualifications in Professional Children's Writing and Visual Arts.
Years 3 and 4
Dodge Ball in Zero Gravity with Sanjin Dedic
Years 3 and 4: Technology: Game Design

The year is 2058 and now that the moon has been colonised, the Global Sporting Federation has decided to host an inaugural Space Olympics! Dodge Ball is now a very popular Olympic sport and you have been tasked with training the Australian Space Dodge Ball Team… here on Earth! You know that playing Dodge Ball on Earth is going to be VASTLY different to playing Dodge Ball in space. It is a big problem, but you think you have the solution. Design a Zero Gravity Dodge Ball Simulator using Scratch programming… and quickly! You know your training time is limited and the hopes and aspirations of the team, and the nation, rest on your shoulders!

Sanjin is a robotics engineer and an experienced educator in the field of Digital Technologies. Throughout his teaching career Sanjin has been at the forefront of the latest educational technologies, in 2013 he was already bringing Arduino, 3D printing and the Maker Movement ethos into the classroom. He has since authored Python curriculum used by dozens of Victorian schools and has co-authored a book on the BBC micro:bit.
CSI: Hogwarts with Simon Matheson
Years 3 and 4: Science

Blimey! A terrible crime has been committed at Hogwarts – Mrs. Norris has been kidnapped! The cat, belonging to the Hogwarts caretaker Argus Filch, was last seen near the Owlery, which sits atop the castle’s West Tower. A ransom note, delivered to Filch by owl, has demanded the lifting of a curfew on all students in order to obtain the cat’s release. Unfortunately, all magical attempts to solve the mystery have failed. Given that an anti-magic spell has been used to block all attempts to find those responsible, a crack team of Muggle forensic experts have been called in to examine the few meagre clues left by the criminal, or criminals, responsible. As members of the Muggle team, you will examine the forensic evidence to find both the missing cat and those behind this nefarious deed. Do you have what it takes to crack the case?

Simon is a physicist who has been involved in education one way or another for most of his life; first as a student, then as a secondary science and maths teacher, and as a developer and presenter of science outreach programs with CSIRO Education. Simon’s enthusiasm for science education is grounded in the belief that all citizens of the modern world need a firm grasp of the principles upon which science (and, by extension, the world around us) are built.
That's (Not) Nonsense! with Layla Sacker
Years 3 and 4: Language/ Literature

Jabberwocky is perhaps one of the most famous poems in all of English literature. At first, it may appear to be  'nonsense', but actually it makes perfect sense, if you know the secret of how to read it! English has some incredible words that you may have never heard before. I’ll bet you think that there are no such words as macaronic, taradiddle or bugaboo – think again! Not only will we be discovering new “real words” like these but we will also be making up our own – words that seem to be perfectly legit and sound as though they belong in the Oxford dictionary. After decoding Lewis Carroll’s classic poem Jabberwocky, you will be using all your creativity and language dissection talents to write your own short narrative poem that could pass as nonsense (except with those of us who know better!). Can you then use these skills to help when the speakers are bugs with an entirely new language? We will be translating Carson Ellis’ delightful book ‘Du Iz Tak’ where he invites readers to imagine the dramatic possibilities to be found in a garden, where insects talk their own mysterious language - we might soon find ourselves speaking fluent “Bug”! 

Layla teaches English Literature to both primary and secondary school students.  She  is passionate about the need for writers to have the time to develop their writing skills by exploring a wide range of written and spoken texts from the past and present. She exhibits her own paintings and applies her training in the Arts  to enable her writers to use art as a further source of inspiration. She has a firm belief in the capacity of children to think outside the box and her creative writing students from primary school to university have done just that. She delights in using technology and multimedia as texts as well as drawing on traditional literature.

Br-AI-ns of the Future with Jess Buchanan
Years 3 and 4: Technology

Are you smarter than Siri? Can you outwit Alexa? Would you take a nap while your Tesla drives you to school? Just how clever is Artificial Intelligence? If you’re itching for the day when you could have your own R2D2 as a bestie, then join us as we explore exactly what AI is and how it works. Learn how computers can see, hear, learn and make decisions and even write novels, compose music and create art! We’ll look at how AI is transforming lives and then we’ll have a go at creating our very own chatty robot using Scratch.

Jess is a technology educator and instructional designer with a passion for STEAM education and the Maker movement. She has over fifteen years’ experience designing and teaching technology programs catering to all areas of the community including kids, teens, teachers, parents and seniors. Since becoming a parent, she has become increasingly passionate about preparing our kids for a STEAM enhanced future. As Founder and Lead Educator at Flying Start Kids she enjoys designing education programs reaching out to schools, parents and communities, helping to ensure all kids have access to the tools they need to be confident and creative with technology.
A Twist In Time - A Heroic Legend with Sharon Leibowitz
Years 3 and 4: Language/ Literature

‘…Odysseus felt something in the cave with him. He looked up and saw a gigantic man wearing a tunic of goatskins and holding a full-sized tree trunk in one hand blocking the entrance to the cave. But, my goodness, the most alarming thing about this giant was that he was looking at him through one single eye in the centre of his forehead. Odysseus realized that he and his men were trapped in the cave by a colossal Cyclops…!’
Timothy loved stories about ancient Greece. This night, as he was reading, he fell asleep before he could find out how Odysseus and his men escaped the clutches of the Cyclops. The next day, he found a letter addressed to him in the mailbox and, ripping it open and scanning the contents, he let out a yell of excitement - he had won a competition to travel back in time to ancient Greece! Join Tim as he meets the storyteller Homer who relates the story of Odysseus and the Cyclops. This thrilling tale raises deceptively simple but fascinating philosophical questions, so to round out your trip you and Tim will delve deeply into these concepts and follow in the footsteps of philosophy greats such as Socrates, Aristotle and Plato!

Sharon is an experienced teacher who enjoys developing creative and critical thinking skills through a challenging program of Socratic questioning and communities of enquiry.  She loves participating in discussions around ideas and using thinking treasure such as art and children’s literature to enhance her programs.  Designing engaging philosophical discussions for students is a particular passion of hers and she always marvels at the quality of discussion that even students as early as five years old can engage in.
Survive the Rising Ocean! with Kate Parker
Years 3 and 4: Science

The year is 2100 and climate change has left much of the earth’s land masses underwater. You are an esteemed climatologist working for the Thunberg Institute in the Pacific Ocean. A colleague has made a remarkable discovery - land! 10,000 square metres of beautiful, pristine forest and beaches that, until now, had been undiscovered. Your job is to help design this island sustainably, so it can provide a home for 100,000 displaced people, whose homes are now underwater. You’ll need to investigate carbon footprints, sustainable food and agriculture policy, power supply options and efficient temperature controls. And, if possible, find a unique way to decarbonise your atmosphere further with offsets. Good luck - future generations are depending on you!

Kate is a science communicator and writer who aspires to challenge and engage kids in interesting scientific concepts. With a background in teaching ethics to children and over a decade spent in the health and fitness industry, Kate is passionate about critical thought and the nexus between inquiry and education. Between Einstein and Asimov, the scientific truth is actually far more interesting than fiction!
Are You An Agent Of S.M.A.R.T.I.E with Pete Wolstenholme
Years 3 and 4: Maths

You are an agent of S.M.A.R.T.I.E. – Secret Mission Agents Ready To Investigate Equations. One of your fellow agents (Pronumeral Agent X) arrived at headquarters with a locked box (containing another locked box in another locked box) and a coded message from the evil organisation D.U.M.M.M.B.O. – Deceptive Underground Mission Making Maths Boring Organisation. Through investigating the equations and learning the history of our numeric system, can you crack the D.U.M.M.M.B.O. codes and open the boxes? Can you discover what they are trying to hide?

Pete has a passion for finding new and exciting ways of engaging students which has led him to his current role with RethinkPD and teaching with G.A.T.E.WAYS. He loves finding hidden order and patterns in seemingly chaotic mathematical situations and believes these skills are particularly important for our increasingly online world. Having benefitted from a gifted program when he was at school, Peter is keen to ‘pay it forward’ and provide a new generation with enriching and challenging learning experiences.
Years 5 and 6
Green Globs with Jacob Pini
Year 5 and 6: Maths 

Mathematicians, we need your help! Green globs are invading, and we need to discover the most efficient way of destroying them… and quickly! Green globs have begun to appear at random on our computer screens and the only way we can destroy them is by creating lines (straight or curved) that will strike them and destroy those pesky green targets. The lines are generated by equations and so the better you are at understanding graphing equations the better your chance of winning! We will be using straight lines in an attempt to destroy the globs and then tackle more challenging curves like parabolas. Are you up to the Green Glob challenge?

Jacob has completed a Bachelor of Aviation and a Masters of Teaching at the University of Melbourne. He has a strong passion for mathematics and digital technologies and believes firmly in firing imagination and interest in STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) with hands-on learning. Jacob considers himself an amateur yogi, an avid cyclist and a keen gamer and he is looking forward to sharing his experience and creating exciting new learning opportunities for your budding mathematician.
Micro Mastery with Jess Buchanan
Year 5 and 6 : Technology

Ever wondered how remote controllers work? Maybe you have some ‘smart lights’ in your house that you can activate with your voice? How do these small everyday items know how to follow your instructions? You can thank the power of micro-controllers, tiny computers embedded in hundreds of everyday objects! They may be mini but they are packed with powerful sensors and and processing power. In this session we’ll explore micro controllers using the popular MicroBit to understand why they are used so extensively in modern electronics. We’ll find out what sensors the MicroBit has and explore all the amazing ways the MicroBit can use its sensors to provide data about its environment. We’ll learn how to store this data through the power of Variables and use it to make our own light and motion activated inventions.

Then we’ll explore Conditions and how we use them so Microbit can make decisions automatically. We’ll create inventions that perform multiple operations depending on a variety of circumstances. We’ll experiment with making the MicroBit display a variety of words, graphics and even animations depending on the weather. We’ll finish by practicing our coding skills to solve a few challenges and code our own digital pet. We’ll constantly be practicing our debugging skills and applying our computational thinking to make sure our code is as streamlined and efficient as possible.

Jess is a technology educator and instructional designer with a passion for STEAM education and the Maker movement. She has over fifteen years experience designing and teaching technology programs catering to all areas of the community including kids, teens, teachers, parents and seniors. She has worked as a technology integrator in numerous Sydney schools, and produced two Maker Expos at Double Bay Library, a festival of technology and innovation. Since becoming a parent, she has become increasingly passionate about preparing our kids for a STEAM enhanced future. As Founder and Lead Educator at Flying Start Kids she enjoys designing education programs reaching out to schools, parents and communities, helping to ensure all kids have access to the tools they need to be confident and creative with technology.

It's Chemicool! with Robyne Bowering
Year 5 and 6: Science

Have you ever wondered what makes certain foods spicy and hot, while others are as cool as a cucumber? Or considered why freshly cut grass or popcorn smell so good, while wet dogs and poo do not? Did you know that the aroma of oranges and lemons are produced by chemically identical molecules that are simply mirror images of each other? So, is an orange just a left-handed lemon? Would you be concerned if your doctor prescribed tarantula poison as a pain killer? All these questions and more will be explored as we delve into the very cool world of molecular chemistry to discover how patterns in the composition and shapes of molecules can tell us a lot about their smell, colour, toxicity or taste and to look at what science ‘says’ is the best way to cool a burning mouth if you eat a hot chilli.

Robyne is a passionate and enthusiastic educator with over twenty-five years of experience teaching primary, secondary and tertiary students. Robyne is particularly keen on providing bright students with multiple opportunities to creatively explore their ideas and thinking through a range of hands-on, minds-on activities.

Star Stories and Mysteries with Dimitri Douchin
Year 5 and 6: Science

In this workshop, students will get a taste of a fascinating emerging science: archaeo-astronomy. For eons, humans have been fascinated by the night sky and its mysteries. And it shows! If we look into archaeological remains of older civilisations like Ancient Egypt or the Xth Century Mayas, we find that they were just as much into understanding the planets and stars as we are! In fact, back then, astronomy (understanding the movement of things in the sky) played an important role in their daily life. Our astro-explorers will travel in time and space through four different civilisations to understand how they saw the stars and planets, and through these examples they will discover celestial mechanics currently used in modern astronomy. How did the Ancient Mayas use calendar? Are the Egyptian pyramids really aligned with Orion? Why? Do Australian Aboriginals see constellations like we do? So many questions in these and other mysteries, and the answers all lie in the stars above us!

Dimitri studied physics in France and then travelled to Australia where he graduated with a PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics. He has shared his passion for the wonders of space and the universe as an educator at the Sydney Observatory, and for the wonders of nature as an Ecology guide in the Blue Mountains. Dimitri, an insatiable polymath, has a passion for sharing his knowledge and aims to inspire talented children and adults all over the world.

Amazing Archetypes for Aspiring Authors with Andrea Blake
Year 5 and 6: Language/Literature

Searching for the secret to super successful, sophisticated story-telling? In this workshop we dive into some epic movies and all-time-classic literature where exquisite evidence can be found to lead us right to it!  Once you recognise some curiously common characters, and harness their awesome archetype potential, you’ll be able to transform your own tales from tolerable to terrific. The ‘usual suspects’ are actually far from it if they are well written! Even though we expect to meet them (the hero, villain, mentor, and trickster) in most plots, artful authors can create and place them in original ways to keep readers rivetted. After this workshop, by taking their lead you’ll learn to sidestep stereotypes and develop more complex, compelling characters through challenging writing activities. You’ll also be able to wow friends with your powers of prediction about who will populate novels and films. Most importantly, you’ll hold the secret key to story-writing success – an army of adaptable archetypes!

Andrea believes in the power of curiosity and loves finding out where it can take imaginative thinkers and creative writers! An experienced teacher and specialist in Gifted Education, Andrea relishes presenting workshops using novel, fascinating subject matter which is explored in depth.

Logarithia Shaking! with Katrina Sims
Year 5 and 6: Maths

In the centre of the beautiful island of Logarithia is an active volcano which frequently creates earthquakes of differing magnitudes. As a seismologist, you have been given the task of graphing and comparing the magnitudes of these earthquakes using the Richter scale, developed from Napier’s logarithm tables. All new buildings must be constructed to withstand the constant tremors so it’s up to you to get these figures right! Exponential numbers, graphs and algebra will all be utilised to calculate the enormous numbers needed by the architects and engineers! What are you waiting for? Grab your scientific calculator and lend a helping hand!

Katrina has a Master’s Degree in Gifted Education. She has taught enrichment mathematics classes for gifted students in the primary system as well as mathematics to students in Years 7 to 10. She is a member of the Australian Mathematics Trust Challenge Problem Solving committee and has a keen passion for problem solving in mathematics. Katrina is the recipient of a National Excellence in Teaching Award and a BH Neumann Award for her contributions to Enrichment of Mathematics for Australian Students. She has presented teacher workshops at National and international Gifted and Talented and Mathematical Conferences. 
Schools of Thought: A Writing Fantasy with Kim Edwards
Year 5 and 6: Language/Literature

Pop quiz – would you rather be learning wizardry at Hogwarts with Harry Potter, practising demigod powers at Camp Halfblood with Percy Jackson, fighting aliens at Battle School playing Ender's Game, discovering your mutant abilities at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters with the X-Men… or inventing your own fantasy school of your dreams…?!
The correct answer for avid readers and aspiring writers is, of course, all of the above! In a whirlwind visit through these famous fictional schools, we’ll pore over schematics and mysterious maps, meet magical teachers and warrior students, and sign up for class schedules and extraordinary extra-curricular activities to examine how they’ve all been crafted by some of our best known authors. We’ll finish up by writing ourselves into our own remarkable locations of legendary learning. Come prepared to explore the marvellous and mind-blowing possibilities of an education that's literally out of this world!

Kim teaches English literature and creative writing to university and high school students, and drama and theatre skills to both adults and kids all over Melbourne. She has run book clubs and cabarets, performed Shakespeare and written sonnets, dabbled in Dickens and is best buddies with the Brontës, and while she loves a ripping good yarn, she is still convinced everything we get to read and write in our lives is always a thrilling new adventure!