In February 2020, students of all abilities in Years 7 to 11 were invited to take part in a weekly afternoon co-curricular activity involving science.
Joeys Science Hub has quickly become a weekly highlight for a number of Joe Boys, who have an interest in science and an inquisitive mind. Currently the club runs a two hour session, one afternoon each week and we are looking to expand to accommodate the growing interest amongst the students.
Science teachers, Mrs May Henderson and Mr Aaron Kingsley, coordinate the club. They are skilfully assisted by laboratory technician, Andrew Martins. The students investigate and engage with various aspects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Some of the activities are initiated by the staff to guide the students through the enquiry process, including data collection and analyses.
Most of the students currently involved in the club are exploring, planning and undertaking long-term passion projects. The projects include the setup, maintenance and future breeding of tetra fish in a tropical aquarium. There is also a stick insect habitation where students examine the behaviour of the insects, exploration of best Eucalyptus plants on campus suited as a food source, and exploring the conditions for egg hatching.
A recent and exciting addition to the hub experience includes the use of an electroencephalogram (EEG). This device traces and records electrical activity in the brain and the students have been very eager to show off their skills in manoeuvring a virtual object using only the power of their mind. There are plans to extend this to controlling real-world objects, such as prosthetic limbs. An astronomy team has also been developed using the digitally-controlled telescope available at the college. An adaptor has also been sourced so that the boys can take pictures of planetary objects from the school grounds at night.
A working model wind tunnel has been built, plants have been propagated and salt crystals have been grown. Some of the boys have also been active in the local community, investigating the reintroduction of oysters at Tarban Creek and measuring the impact these oysters have on the water quality.
Some of the boys are currently planning for other projects that will commence next term, including the construction of a mini Tesla coil, psychological/behavioural studies, and building scientific models.
Students have also taken the lead in promotion and development of Science Hub iLearn, Instagram and junior competitions. Others in Year 11 were involved in a peer mentoring program, assisting students with their Science projects, helping with assessment tasks and Science homework.
Students and staff involved in the club are very excited to see what the future holds. The enthusiasm and commitment from the boys has been inspirational, and they are very much looking forward to continuing to expand their scientific endeavours.