Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Year 9 Visits the Stardome

On Friday we took all of Year 9 off to Cornwall Park to visit the Stardome. 

Students got to walk to the top of the volcano and look around. Students weren't looking forward to the big walk up the hill, but there was a sense of achievement and success when they reached the top and were able to look around!   

We then returned to the Stardome for a show on the sky screen and a talk.  My group watched a show called 'Two Pieces of Glass' about the history of the telescope and how far it has developed with todays technology. It also taught us about the discoveries that telescopes have helped with.

This is a beautiful video of the night skies from a mountain in Spain for any students who were amazed by how big our universe is. 

After the show students got to explore the different activities in the foyer of the Stardome. There was a scale that measured their mass and calculated how much they would weigh on different planets and stars (billions of kgs on a neutron star!), real space suits and telescopes, a rolling-ball demonstration of gravity and a sphere that showed what the different planets look as they rotate, among other things. 

We then went and listened to a talk about how much fuel and speed space shuttles need to get up into outer space! One thing I remember is that at the very start of a space shuttle launch, by the time the back of the space ship has reached the point where the front of the space shuttle was (by the time it has travelled its own length) the shuttle is already travelling at 100km an hour! Students in my group were especially amazed to see a video by Chris Hadfield about how astronauts brush their teeth in space!  

We finished the day with some free time at lunch - I think the rugby game that happened on the field involved most of the boys in Year 9!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Year 13 Bio Goes to Liggins

On Friday five Year 13 students went to the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland. The lab was run by a teacher who has previously taught at Tamaki College, so he knew all of our students already. 

Students learned about how important the prenatal environment is - how mothers can best prepare their unborn children for life, and that Liggins is helping to study how the prenatal environment can correlate with some diseases that appear during middle age.

Next students got to practice using pipettes and setting up samples for PCR.  Students then got to set up and run gel electrophoresis to try and work out how many base pairs were in a given sample of DNA.  Then it was time for lunch!

After refilling on Subway sandwiches, students got to meet some real scientists and ask them questions about their research and their time at university. One scientist surprised the students by talking about how her programme had allowed students to work with cadavers - people who had died and donated their body to science.  There were a few questions asked after that!  After the scientists left it was time to look at a photograph of the gel electrophoresis results and see who had run it properly!

As we finished up, the teachers stood to one side chatting about teaching and learning platforms and biology etc etc... the students completely blew us away by spontaneously moving the lab chairs into a circle and chatting to students from Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate! It was so nice to see, and there was  a LOT of laughing. 

Here's a video of the trip:

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

PTt Begins the Web of Life

Evon would like to share her experiences from the beginning of the Web of Life unit:

Know how to make a cup grass thing.
1 part: was to get a cup.
2 part: to get a stocking.
3: fill it with seed and next fill it with soil and after wet all did that we decorate the cup and dress it up.  
Each day one person had to water the grass. 

A few weeks late we wondered and the grass grown and we could cut the hair of the grass, make it it into a boy or a girl.

Day 1: Loa is the water monitor on this day. The grass has started to grow from the grass seeds!

Day 8: Siupeli and Phoenix are surprised how much the grass grew over the weekend.

Day 8: Cameron and Jonive investigate the rest of the critters' growth.

Day 12: Cameron cut his grass critter's hair very professionally!

Day 12: Loa is holding her grass critter with it's new haircut.

Day 12: The critters all look great after their haircuts!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Movies! Migration and Skeleton Teeth...

The Web of Unit life has come to a close, and it finished with students creating, creating, creating! Most of 9PLa decided to work in groups to create three videos (1 on migration, 1 on the teeth of herbivore, and 1 about marine food webs), while 2 boys chose to create a comic strip each. 

Comic strip about pests and native animals coming along...

Students wrote their own scripts, practiced, told me which props they would like, and then off they went to film! Some groups were totally independent while some others did need me to come and film for them. I was really impressed by them as this is the first time some of them have made movies, and definitely the first time I've let them take full control.

Script for the food web video in progress...

Scripts for all the actors and the list of props required...

I did the editing for 2/3 of the videos (we ran out of time - exams are coming next week and my learners need to start revising!) and because I have them on my laptop already, here they are! 

Watch them in order - the middle video is a trailer for the last video...

Tremayne interviews Austin the Migration Expert

A trailer for The Skeleton Mystery..

The movie: The Skeleton Mystery