Science and Engineering Challenge
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.
Some comments from the students:
"The activities within the competition were fun, hard and exciting. I had to think hard and work with my other team members to problem solve. The most enjoyable part of the trip for me, however, was getting the chance to get to know the other girls I had never really spent time with before."
"Our activity for the day was to build a bridge that would hold as much weight as possible, but it also had to be as light as possible. We did very well at this and constructed the bridge that held the most weight, although ours was not the lightest."
"The ecohabitech activity was very hard. We had to build an efficient house in just under three hours then have 1 litre of water, three wind settings and a weight test by which time our house had become inverted. Our house still did remarkably well in the water collection and wind test.
Our group completed the 'Flight' task and also the 'Electracity'. These were lots of fun, especially the Flight task, as we ended up doing very well in it, getting the furthest distance with our Styrofoam plane even after we had some complications. Electracity was quite challenging but we still enjoyed the experience."
"In our first activity, the Puff Puff Golf, we came first. The activity was very entertaining and it was interesting to see other groups’ ideas of what would work. Our second activity was less successful, however, just as fun. We met lots of great, like-minded people and the trip gave us the opportunity to bond with less familiar people from our classes."
"I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Townsville, I had so much fun with my friends. My group and I did the catapult activity which meant that we had to build a catapult from long wooden poles, string and masking tape and then fling a tennis ball at a target from 15 and 25 meters. Our catapult was a success and after the first round we were winning. However, at the end of the day we ended up placing 2nd in our activity, which we were very proud of."
"It's harder than it looks, building a tower out of straws and paper, especially when you have limited materials. To be honest, we didn't have much faith in our tower, because the prototype was leaning slightly to the side. But our final tower worked and survived the earthquake simulator. That was an achievement. I think our real achievement though was to almost completely rebuild our car in ‘Puff Puff Golf’ in the 3-minute time limit because our balloon had a hole in it. Despite the challenges, we had a lot of fun."
"My group was given the challenge of ‘Mission to Mars’. We had to make a car that would be pulled across a bumpy track whilst carrying a block that had to remain upright. If the block fell over we would have to start again. This activity was at first difficult, with many conflicting ideas of what to do. We each made our own car to see whose idea was the best, and we found that one car had the better wheels and another car had better security for the block. We combined the two and then found that one of us was the better puller of the car, as the car needed to be pulled carefully over the bumps so that the block would not fall. We successfully transported the blocks across the track. I really enjoyed this activity and it was a great experience to improve my teamwork."
The Queensland University of Technology Medical Engineering Research Facility (MERF)
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.
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