Science extension success at Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts
Four students from the Science Extension class at Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts participated in a poster presentation to the teaching staff as part of their first assessment task for the new course.
While all four students have found the course to be quite challenging, each of them have told of how the freedom and self-directed learning have kept them focused and engaged in lessons. Enthusiastic student and school vice-captain Kosta Spanoudakis, whose project is investigating the mutations associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a form of motor neurone disease, said “this course allows to be hands-on into something that you really, really love”.
To be enrolled into Science Extension for Year 12, students must have one of, or a combination of, Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science, Investigating Science or Physics in Year 12. The students and their teacher, Michelle Kirchmajer, agreed that having students engaged in multiple science courses alongside Science Extension has certainly helped them to attain a higher level of understanding and success in the course.
Kosta's interest in biology and chemistry has inspired his choice of project into the disruption of electrochemical pathways in nerve cells. Bronte Jolly, a keen Earth and Environmental Science student, gained inspiration from previous learning about the impacts of algal blooms in local waterways to investigate how climate change may be playing a role in incidences of “algal rafting”. The class is looking forward to the completion of their major project work and are aiming at furthering their love of science by continuing study at university.
Stages 4 and 5
The Science curriculum at Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts is designed to develop student's skills, knowledge, understanding, values and attitudes. Each student is expected to develop at each stage, from Year 7 to Year 10. The needs, interests and abilities of the students drive content.
Courses offered in Stage 6 include Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science, Investigating Science, Physics and, for dedicated and gifted students Science Extension (Year 12 only). These academic courses allow students to become actively involved in the learning of a discipline through courses that encourage maximum student participation. WHSPA also offers Marine Studies as an alternative course of study for those students who are not intending to further their education at university level and prefer a more technical approach to their studies.
The Science Faculty has strong links with the University of Wollongong and participates in activities such as Year 11 Enrichment days, the Science Fair the Science Centre. All students are encouraged to enter various Science competitions, and attend excursions and field trips as they arise which enhance learning in the school setting.