Taking Science Learning to the Next Level

Year 8 students managed to squeeze in one more excursion at the end of an already jam-packed 2018. This was the culmination of their Science learning about Energy, Rock Formation and Body Systems. And so, the year concluded with an exciting excursion to the Murdoch University Anatomy Museum, Algae Research Centre and Mineral Processing Laboratory with real engaging hands-on activities that not only have enriched the students’ educational experience beyond the classroom but also wonderfully connected their classroom knowledge to its real-world relevance.

Our first stop was at the Murdoch Algae Research Centre where we were greeted by friendly student ambassadors and research scientists who walked us through various outdoor facilitates and indoor laboratories used to culture and harvest algae. Meanwhile, they patiently explained to us how they turn these algae into eco-friendly fuels, pharmaceutical supplements and sewage treatment agents. We were amazed by the innovative and wide-range use of such a seemingly insignificant substance.

Afterwards, we took a great tea break at the Murdoch Student Zone where nice food and drinks were served in a comfortable and modern setting. Our students had a good foretaste of the University lifestyle there. We enjoyed the Chatime, ice coffee, snacks and a good fellowship around the table.

We then headed to the Mineral Science Hydrometallurgy Laboratory where students were asked to put on lab coats, gloves and safety goggles for some serious business—copper leaching and electroplating! As they poured acid solution through a ground rock sample, a nice blue solution of copper was leached out into the container. They then passed strong electric current through the solution and observed reddish brown copper sheets forming on the electrodes. The students then gathered at the Pyrometallurgy Laboratory next door to watch smelting and reactive metallurgy demonstrations with explosive sparks.  Our students not only had real first-hand experience with the mineral processing methods, but also observed how the scientific method learned in the classroom was applied in improving the product yield in the industrial practice.

After lunch, we adjourned to the Anatomy Museum which thoroughly impressed us with the comprehensive range of real animal organ systems on displayed around the room. Through these specimens, our students were able to observe the real structures of the body systems that normally could be only be shown in pictures in the classroom. Some specimens could even be held and touched, giving our students a feel of the texture of the organs. In the subsequent interactive session, our students investigated a number of skull bones placed on the table and learned how to identify distinctive features to determine the diet of the animals.

Overall, it had been a memorable day in Murdoch University. Returning back to the college, we reflected upon the day and thanked God for making the day possible despite encountering various obstacles in the months of preparation. We also considered the sacrificial love of the Murdoch ambassadors and volunteers who invested substantial amount of time preparing the amazing activities and even risking their lives performing the dangerous demonstrations for us. Their left us with wonderful models and reminders of Christian service that we ought to render  to our community. We pray that our year 8 students will indeed continue to grow in grace and mature to be grateful Christians who learn to love others in the same way as they have been loved.

Student Reflections

“The Murdoch excursion was both informative and fun. The staff were friendly, energetic and willing to answer any questions we had. I was able to learn alot about the topics that were covered during the excursion. It was a great day, and I really enjoyed going there”

Daniel Wilkinson

“I enjoyed learning about the different ways of preserving animals and parts of the body, like plastination and dehydration. I found it interesting to see the dehydrated lungs, the plastinated heart and the trachea/bronchioles/alveoli that were made from pouring melted plastic down a real lung’s trachea. I also enjoyed watching the men making tin and iron, and I found out that tin could be made of anything that has a large source of carbon. Overall, it was good, except for the algae place, which I found wasn’t interactive enough”

Emily Hobday

“Murdoch was the first university that I’ve visited and it was interesting how we found out that they had a furnace which was pretty cool. I would like to go there again.”

Jonathan Karyahastana

“I really liked the excursion. It was really informative and it was also a really fun way to learn about anatomy and minerals.”

Ankitha Prakas

“The Monday excursion was fun. We saw a lot of the things that we learnt and we got to see how it worked and we got to touch he bones and skulls of some animals and saw the heart and the systems that we learnt. We went to the minerals lab and made copper and that was cool.”

Julia Youn

“I thought going to Murdoch was really interesting. Seeing science explained from a non-Christian view was really interesting. My favourite thing was when the guy made the tin using the coffee grounds. It was a cool way to use recycled materials.”

Maggie Goiran

“The algae place where we started was hot and a bit boring but it was interesting and I enjoyed the CO2 room. The anatomy museum was cool as we could see the insides of many animals. The rocks and minerals lab was fun as we made steel pink and poured tin.”

Natalia Kappert

“I thought it was a very good excursion that informed me a lot about the subjects addressed, and it also informed me a lot about university life, and what a science based career would look like. The one downside was the gay flags and evolutionary talk, but that was uncontrollable on our part. my favorite bit was the smelting stuff and thermite reaction.”

Nathaniel Lobaugh

“The excursion to Murdoch University was interesting and overall, I enjoyed it. The excursion started of with the algae lab and even though it was hot, we still was able it look and learn about the algae research. Later on in the day we saw the displays of preserved animal organs which were fascinating to look at and I learnt alot about how the body works in different types of animals. The mineral lab was great and everyone loved seeing the melted minerals react and leaching copper. During the breaks, we spent the time in the cafeteria enjoying the gourmet food and comfortable seating.”

Sally Mutton

“I enjoyed the excursion very much. Although it was hot it did provide some very fascinating pieces of information for us to take on board and help us grow our knowledge. Huge thanks to Mr Yu and Vanessa from Murdoch who helped organise this trip.”

Tamika Klomp

“On the whole, the excursion provided a relevant and interactive approach to learning. I especially enjoyed the Vet and Anatomy Museum; real (and once-living!) anatomical structures are hard to come by, so I found great appreciation for that segment of the excursion.”

Victor Komaiya

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