Scientist for a day: the Bio-Lab experience
Monash Tech School is an amazing institute that continually provides students with innovative technologies and resources to expand their learning. In the Year 9 Superhealth program students have the opportunity to do experiments in our on-site Bio-Lab.
As a pre-service teacher, I was able to explore the lab and view all the equipment and experiments students experience throughout the course of the program. Students use an array of biotechnology equipment, ranging from the simplest of pipettes to the more complex thermocycler. Access to this kindÂ equipment allows students to get a better understanding of their functions and applications in research.
Year 9 students have an opportunity to use the facility to develop their laboratory skills and step into the shoes of a scientist. Using the tech provided, students perform polymerase chain reactions (PCR), gel electrophoresis, and analyse bacterial growth on petri dishes. These processes are generally taught during the year 9 and 10 curriculum, but unfortunately, many students are not given the equipment and opportunity to trial the process until university.
Today’s classrooms have a variety of learners, so textbook teaching is no longer applicable to the diverse needs of students. The experiments undertaken in the Bio-Lab allow students to obtain information about the processes from multiple exposures (which is a high impact teaching strategy used to enhance teaching). The practical and hands on work doesn’t just work as a visual representation of the process; it also prompts students to analyse the outcome of the experiments and extend their metacognition.
The Superhealth program encourages students to understand science as a human endeavour through its real-life applications, thereby valuingÂ the content they learn in class. During the program, students are also introduced to a variety of courses and career pathways they could pursue if they enjoyed the experiences in the Bio-Lab. This gives students an insight into the field and potential ideas for their future pathways.
written by Shadiya Illyass