Double Helix

Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) provides a dynamic range of science resources for children. This includes a free newsletter and blog, as well as the Double Helix magazine (with worldwide subscription). A science rhyme by Celia Berrell is included in each Double Helix issue.

Since 2010, Celia contributed 28 poems to the Scientriffic magazine (discontinued in 2015). Below are a few of her favourite poems from past CSIRO publications:


ChemCam Curiosity by Celia Berrell

Mars Rover, Curiosity
is zapping rocks and dirt.
It shoots them with a laser gun
then sniffs the gas they spurt.

Its ChemCam can identify
the chemicals released
and send those findings back to Earth
so scientists are pleased.

At first, this rover’s actions were
remote controlled by us.
But recently (with programs changed)
it’s now autonomous.

This means that Curiosity’s
in charge of what it shoots.
It sneaks up close to rocks it likes,
goes zap, sniff-sniff then scoots!

First published in Double Helix #12 Dec 2016.


Pet Rex by Celia Berrell

Some animals
don’t make good pets.
And one of them
would be T rex.
A dinosaur
so tall and wide
there’s no way
he could live inside.

Tyrannosaurus rex
is large.
His head would fill-up
your garage.
Twelve metre driveways
would be great
to fit his tail
inside the gate.

With stinky breath
from eating meat
you’d want to clean
his big strong teeth.
He’s got bad manners
when he’s fed.
His tiny arms
can’t reach his head!

First published in Scientriffic #77 Jan 2012.  Illustrated by Mike McRae

Body Chemistry by Celia Berrell

Our bodies perform
lots of chemistry tricks
to break-down our food into
useable bits.

We also have microbes
inside us that aid
with eating the chemistry
soups we have made.

Those frothy reactions
will bubble and pass
some carbon dioxide
and nitrogen gas

which tries to get out
from our digestive parts
by causing our bodies
to make lots of farts.

Those microbes make
hydrogen sulphide as well.
A gas we all know
from its terrible smell.

It’s not what we’ve eaten
or what we might drink
but mostly those microbes
that make our farts stink!

First published in Scientriffic #71 Jan 2011

Christmas Party Crasher by Celia Berrell

Fairy-lights twinkle.
A warm Christmas night.
With family, friends
and a feast to delight.

The setting’s outside
where the barbecue sits.
With glasses of laughter
and love being sipped.

But here come the gate-crashers
noisy and brash.
They bump into walls
and then fall with a crash.

They lie on their backs
kicking legs in the air.
While making a buzz
of disgruntled despair.

These large Scarab Beetles
emerge from the ground
each year around Christmas
when parties abound.

A bright Christmas package
with cellophane wings.
They open like boxes
and fly into things!

They’ll dive in the salad
or tangle your hair.
Like amateur pilots
who can’t steer the air.

In rich greens or browns
or a glorious gold.
These live Christmas baubles
are fun to behold.

First published in Scientriffic #70 Nov 2010

Is bald better? by Celia Berrell

Humans aren’t furry like
monkeys or bears. Our
skin’s only covered in
very fine hairs.

We’ve only got patches
of fur here and there
and have to put clothes on
for something to wear.

The monkeys spend ages on
grooming each other.
Removing those fleas that will
itch, bite and bother.

You’ll notice a cat has
to lick clean its coat
and often gets fur-balls
that stick in its throat.

Some people suggest that
by having less fluff
we’ve freed-up our time
to do much better stuff!

First published in Scientriffic #67 May 2010

Let the show go on by Celia Berrell

For you and me
it’s free to see.
The greatest show around.
The cast’s
eleven million of
the life forms that abound.

From big-screen species
like humans; dolphins; whales.
To tiniest of
microbes making
sure our show won’t fail.

The plants provide
the perfect props
and stunning back-drop scenes.
All intertwined
with DNA
and fascinating genes.

The show is so
Full of life’s variety.
Our planet Earth’s
X-factor is …

First published in Scientriffic #65 Jan 2010

Celia Berrell
PO Box 830
Hervey Bay QLD 4655

0408 069 192
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