Outreach @TMOS: A Story of Our School Workshop Program

What is Outreach @TMOS and why is it important?

Ever wondered what Outreach was? Think of it as a sort of partnership between schools, other educational systems and TMOS as an organisation. By making these connections, it helps us to bring our resources and knowledge to the classroom and help students better engage with the content by forming connections between the material and real-life examples.

Why do we care? Not only does it fulfil initiatives for us as a Centre, it helps us to grow as science communicators and educators. This is also an amazing opportunity to share our knowledge of optical physics and meta-optics with the non-scientific community and the next generation. Here at TMOS, we want to be known as the go-to for meta-optics.

The current National Curriculum doesn’t include meta-optics or the future of physics; by bringing our knowledge and expertise to the classroom, we can show the next generation how wonderful and exciting science (and physics!) can be.

What have we done so far?

The Outreach Committee started off the year with a 3-day training session at Questacon, where we honed our science communications skills. On the 3rd day, we were lucky enough to get amongst it all and help out with some of the cool demonstrations at Questacon.

In 2022, the Outreach Committee also worked hard to develop a series of 3 school workshops: The Story of Light, How-to Holograms and Discovering Diffraction. Each workshop has its own presentation and a set of customizable hands-on demonstrations linking the theory to something tangible. With this, our workshop series debuted in Shepparton for the International Day of Light featuring The Story of Light workshop. What a way to kick things off! We had an amazing turn out of almost 100 people, from young kids all the way to seniors. It was brilliant to see so many people learning about the past, present and future of light, from antiquity to the future of meta-optics.

Our workshops have been designed to address key content descriptors for years 5 & 6, and the best part is, they’ve been made so that anyone within the Centre can ‘pick them up’ and deliver them. It is important to us that we make Outreach fun and accessible to everyone.

A bit later in the year, we had our nodes visit some local primary schools where we presented our other workshops too. ANU visited Turner Primary, UTS went to Earlwood Public, UoM visited Fitzroy Primary and UWA presented to Rosalie Primary. We then finished the year off strong, with a cross-node Outreach visit to Rose Park Primary in Adelaide where we had a full day of presenting to 5 classes of students!

What are the steps involved?

Never participated in an Outreach activity before and not sure how to get started? It’s not as daunting as it may seem… The Outreach Committee is here to support you all the way through planning to implementation of your Outreach event.

Step 1: Is there an event coming up? Want to make your next lesson more exciting?

Schools, libraries and community centres all make excellent venues for Outreach activities.

Step 2: Contact the Outreach Team

Each node has a workshop ‘box’ with all the materials needed for demonstrations. This means that we have Outreach teams available in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Western Australia ready to go.

Outside of these areas? Keep in touch to see how we may be able to contribute remotely. We are currently looking to expand our Outreach opportunities and programs – your city or town may be the next one we visit.

Step 3: We come to you

Once we know who, where and when – leave the rest to us. We will bring a team of scientists with real-world experience to introduce you to the exciting world of optical physics and meta-optics. Our Outreach team is passionate about sharing their love and enthusiasm for science and has experience in science communication – we love sharing our science with the world!

Want to get involved?

If you are a TMOS member and would like to become a part of the Outreach Committee, please register your interest by emailing

If you are a teacher, educator, would like to organise an Outreach activity or know more, please send your enquiry to:

About the author/s

Samara Thorn

As the Engagement Manager at TMOS, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems, my role is to help researchers communicate their science and help businesses understand how the new field of meta-optics will transform their industry and where future opportunities for growth li ... more

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Category/s: News, Outreach