The Queensland University of Technology Medical Engineering Research Facility (MERF)is a state-of-the-art research centre that provides medical professionals and medical industries with a fully functional operating theatre environment to trial new surgical techniques and specialised procedures. The centre also provides anatomy and physiology tutorial experiences for high school students to enhance their school-based anatomy education. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students to complement their classroom learning with real-world experience and each year the excursions is offered as part of the curriculum to St Hilda’s Year 12 Biology students.
The excursion incorporates the following experiences:
Cadaveric Anatomy Experience: This unit consists of a discussion of the systems of the body using a whole cadaver that has been partially dissected to illustrate structural details of each system. In addition, endoscopic cameras are used to provide a unique view of the human body, from the trachea into the lungs and the aorta into the heart.
Surgical Skills and Physiology Workshop: This is an exciting opportunity for students to learn more about surgical skills and physiology with an interactive, hands-on set of work stations designed to give the students opportunities to use equipment such as endoscopes, surgical instrumentation, ECG machines, Lung function machines, and sphygmomanometers
I have spoken to some of my peers who were at the Biology Excursion to the Anatomy Lab in QUT today, and we believe it is important to show our appreciation of this extraordinary opportunity that you have given us:
In some aspects, it is almost difficult to put into words the depth of knowledge that this experience has provided us with and the extent of the remarkable elements of life that it has opened our eyes to see. To sum it up, the only way possible in which to entirely grasp and understand what we were lucky enough to explore, is to see it with one’s own eyes. And that is precisely what you have allowed us to do.
On behalf of all the girls who came today, we would like to thank you very much for allowing us to spend the day at the QUT Anatomy Lab and giving us the chance to have a hands-on experience of much of the theory covered in our Biology classes, and a great deal more. Personally, I considered it better than anything I’ve ever done before in relation to biology and the human body. I could say ‘I’ve watched animations’ and ‘watched animal dissections on video’ and ‘dissected a mammalian heart in class’, but that is nothing compared to what was experienced by the 46 girls who were fortunate enough to be able to physically dissect a human specimen today. Even an anatomy atlas of the human body does not contain some of what we learnt and were able to get out of today’s experience. I know that for some it may have initially been a little confronting, but by the end we were all so enthralled by the adventure and discovery that took place in that lab, we left smarter and with a wider understanding than when we arrived. We now have increased knowledge of the amazing network that is our body and with the knowledge that we gained today, we can maximize our lives, knowing what can happen with just a small error.
We all took so much out of those few hours and not solely the dissection (although it was a major part and probably the highlight) but also the fun activities we took part in either before or after the life-changing lab adventure. Trying the different goggles to get a feel of alcohol concentration, attempting to do a simulated version of an endoscopic surgery on a synthetic model, taking blood rates and testing our breathing, were all activities that were not only educational but also enjoyable for us all. We were able to gain a greater insight and gain a vast understanding of something that is very worthwhile to us, whilst having fun at the same time. You gave us the chance to open our eyes, minds and hearts, to appreciate the lives we were given and the extraordinary world beneath the skin that hides it.
What we have experienced today is something that I know many of us will never forget and something that may possibly take some of us a long way in the future. Thank you so much for giving up your time and your classes, and for making yourselves available to allow us to have such an amazing opportunity. Without you, our wonderful teachers, we would not have had this extraordinary experience and opportunity to enhance our learning, so we are very grateful to you.
From all 46 of us, who were lucky enough to come today, who study Biology and who are so very fortunate to have such amazing teachers, we sincerely thank you.
Here are some of our thoughts that we would like to share with you:
‘I got so much out of the experience, it’s so worthwhile to go on the excursion’ – Anastasiia Kuzovin
‘I thought it was an incredible experience, one that you simply can’t simulate in a classroom’ – Samantha Pearce
‘ It was an opportunity which shouldn’t be missed out on. Very worthwhile’ – Emma Coad
'It was an amazing experience that does not compare to any textbook or animation. To have had the chance to see the complex network and structures of the human body live, for real, was a unique opportunity, and a life-changing adventure' - Sophia Slancar
In the Middle School, extended experimental investigations (compulsory in the three Senior Sciences) was implemented in Years 7 to 9. A new assessment instrument, Response to Stimulus, was trialled in Years 7 to 9 and its success will be evaluated at the end of the year. A Response to Stimulus instrument consists of one or more pages of scientific data presented as tables, graphs, pictures (relating to a specific topic) to students for their analysis and response.
In the Senior School, the Queensland Science curriculum has been extended to Year 10, thus providing a logical, sequential progression of content and skill development across the four strands of Earth and Beyond, Energy and Change, Life and Living and Natural and Processed Materials from Years 7 to 10.
The Physics work program, based on the 2007 syllabus, was introduced in Year 11 as it was being written for accreditation. The Chemistry work program, accredited in 2008, was taught for the first time in Year 12 in 2009. In Biology, the compulsory field excursion was updated to include the study of a marine ecosystem.
Dr Ed Stolarchuk
Head of Science Faculty
St Hilda’s School team was victorious in the Griffith University Science and Engineering Challenge.