Kyneton & Mooroopna host BioEYES

12 November

As part of veski’s inspiring students (& teachers) program, Kyneton and Mooroopna Secondary Colleges hosted the hands-on BioEYES program, which teaches students about developmental biology, stem cells and regenerative medicine using live zebrafish, at their schools in the weeks commencing 6 and 20 October 2014 respectively.

Seventy-one students in years 9, 10 and 11 from Kyneton Secondary College and 75 students from year 10 at Mooroopna Secondary College took part in the program, and over the course of a week, students watched 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.

With the support from BioEYES' outreach coordinator, Ms Laura Reid, who facilitated the program for both schools three out of the five days, small groups of 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.

“As each group at Kyneton Secondary College collected their embryos and began to observe under the microscope they were clearly blown away by how 'awesome" they are and how they "look so much cooler than Laura's drawings on the board". Even though I do this every week, I never get tired of hearing and seeing the amazing reactions from students once they've looked down that microscope at a new life,” Ms Laura Reid said. 

“I was very impressed with the students at Mooroopna Secondary College as by the third day of the program the students could easily recall the stages of development, and the different processes occurring at each stage. The students were very eager to go straight to the microscopes and have a look at their embryos/larvae. I was even told that a student came to school especially just for the program and to check on their babies,” Ms Reid added.

Science teachers from both schools 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.

Ms Reid said, “One of the fantastic things about this program is that it not only excites students, but it provides them with evidence and data that they have collected themselves. This data was used to teach the genetic component of the program, and thus makes it extremely engaging for students.”

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