All BioEYES on Neerim District

29 August

Neerim District Secondary College was the first of the three schools involved in veski's inspiring students (& teachers) program to host the week-long Monash University's BioEYES program in their laboratories from 20 August 2014.

More than 60 students from Years 8-10 participated in the innovative, hands-on program which teaches students about developmental biology, stem cells and regenerative medicine using live zebrafish.

Over the course of a week, students watch the transparent eggs of zebrafish change from a single celled zygote to a larval fish. The program gives all students the opportunity to learn life science through a hands-on, student-centred approach. Students learn about scientific topics such as habitat, genetics, stem cells, regenerative biology and ethics in an exciting experiential approach that fosters enthusiasm for science education.

BioEYES' outreach coordinator Ms Laura Reid facilitated the program for three out of the five days and veski's programs and events coordinator Ms Alexis Andrew also engaged in the program which aims to inspire and excite students about science.

In small groups the students mated their zebrafish, collected their embryos and watched them transform and develop while making observations and learning about the environmental factors and genetics of zebrafish.

There was a lot of hype about the program from the very first day and Ms Reid said: "We got a lot of exciting reactions from the kids when looking under the microscope".

Science teachers from Neerim District Secondary College attended a professional development day in July to provide them with the knowledge and confidence to host the program at their respective schools, which added to the success of the program.

"It was extremely evident to me that the professional development workshop helped dramatically as the teachers were able to engage with the students better as they knew what they were looking for and what the students had to focus on," Ms Reid said.

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