Kyneton Secondary College hosts BioEYES Program

27 April

As part of veski’s inspiring students (& teachers) program, Kyneton Secondary College hosted the hands-on BioEYES program, which teaches students about developmental biology, stem cells and regenerative medicine using live zebrafish, at their school in the week commencing 27 April 2015.

80 year 8 students 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 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.

“BioEYES went really well with our year 8’s. Thank you again for giving our kids the opportunity to participate in such a powerful program. The teacher feedback has been great.” – Caroline Sharpe, Science Coordinator at Kyneton Secondary College.

Report from Laura Reid, Outreach Education Coordinator from Monash University:

Monday at Kyneton saw the students begin the program by learning a little bit about the use of zebrafish in biomedical research, followed by setting-up their own matings between male and female zebrafish. This year we had all year 8 students partake in the program, with two large classes of about 40 in each session. This worked out well, meaning that students had more freedom to choose their working groups, but also meant that we would have more class data at the end of the program to share with everyone.

Within each session there was a range of interest in science throughout the students. Some were already immensely passionate about science, and some preferred other subjects to science. However as the Monday lesson progressed, I saw that even the disengaged students became amazed about the science associated with zebrafish. Consequently, it wasn't long before all students were engaged with the program and asking a lot of questions.

At the beginning of the Tuesday lesson all students were very keen to see their zebrafish and if they had any embryos at the bottom of their mating tank. Once the students had collected their embryos and took that first look under the microscope, they were all so amazed at to what they saw. Viewing a real life embryo really opened the eyes of a lot of students in how life begins at the cellular level. This is something that a lot of students wouldn't normally experience until university level.

By the time Friday came around, all students had that sense of ownership over their embryos (or babies as some students called them). They had created an inspirational connection with the program, and I could see the progress that all students had achieved in just a couple of days. Their scientific literacy and inquiry skills had greatly improved, even within one lesson. I also saw their motivation to want to learn more and more, as even the dis-engaged students from the beginning of the program were asking and answering questions.    

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