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What have the Scientists been up to so far this year?

Year 7

Year 7's have been spending some time being introduced to the Lab. This covers safety, working collaboratively in a safe manner, and equipment in the Lab. When they get back from camp we will be working on them gaining their Bunsen Burner licences and learning how to make observations like a scientist.

Year 8

The year has started with a topic on Communities where we have been looking at adaptations in relation to different animals. Students have designed their own animals and explained why they have given them the adaptations they have! We have found out that the adaptations organisms have are important for the environment they live in. In the next few weeks we will be looking at the community that lives in the Waihi River and making a representation of it on our walls in labs.

Year 9

Plants and photosynthesis has been the theme so far this year. We have done a “Trees in Bags” experiment and we have looked at how water moves up through celery using water with food colouring - transpiration. We have learnt new practical skills around microscopes so we can have a close look at the structures that allow water to “leave the leaves” and to have a look at plant cells! Next on the adventure is finding out what factors affect photosynthesis.

Year 10

Year 10 have started the year with some Biology. We have been looking at animal cells (comparing and contrasting to the plant cells we learnt about in Year 9.) We have looked at mitosis and how certain plants, bacteria and animals can use mitosis to reproduce asexually or to regenerate themselves. We have learnt new skills in terms of inoculating agar plates with bacteria. We are looking at rongoa (traditional Maori medicine - native plants) and how it can stop bacteria reproducing asexually. So far it seems that Five Finger is having some impact on the bacteria.

Level 1 Science

These students have been working hard in preparation for their first Science internal assessment which is currently on. This is a physics-based assessment where they carry out a practical and write up an investigatory report on it. If they go on further in Physics, this investigation will be the basis for Level 2 where they then use the equations they have learnt to prove a Physics theory.

Level 2 Biologists

The biologists have been looking at the diversity of gas exchange adaptations of animals, and how these adaptations aid survival in their habitat, or how they interact with each other. The students have done 3 dissections and are currently researching and writing a report on the animals they have chosen.

Level 3 Biologists

This team have just finished their first internal assessment on homeostasis by the time you read this. They now have a good understanding about how their amazing bodies manage to keep their glucose levels and temperature constant. This has raised a new appreciation for our bodies and how we need to look after them. Next stop is animals and plants - understanding their responses to the external and internal environment. This will be assessed by an exam at the end of the year.

Level 2 Chemistry

The Chemists are currently investigating identification of ions and looking at why certain chemicals precipitate. This internal is tying together practical chemistry with theory where students are gaining more of an understanding of why they are observing colour and solid precipitates. They also will investigate the impact of these ions and how they interact with humans and the environment.

Level 3 Chemistry

The Chemists have started investigating organic chemistry. Looking at the elements that make up the building blocks of life and how they bond together to form different compounds.

Level 1 Agriculture

The Level one students have been preparing for and setting up their first achievement standard. They have been practising planning experiments and identifying key variables, dealing with data and making valid conclusions. Last week they set up their experiments looking into how the time left fermenting affects various attributes of Silage.

Level 2 Agriculture

During this term the students have been preparing for their first achievement standard looking into the techniques farmers use to enhance the reproductive success of their animals. They have learned about Artificial Insemination, Embryo collection, and transfer and the use of CIDR (artificial hormone application). They are currently completing their assessment.

Level 3 Agriculture

The level 3 students are currently half way through their first achievement standard. They are investigating an aspect of a New Zealand primary product. This year they are looking at apple attributes. They have completed sensory tests with a Year 11 Art class and are now beginning to investigate experimentally attributes such as sweetness, juiciness and texture.

Level 3 Physics

Mr Moulton took his class to Kennedy Park for a practical session to see if they could use the rope swing to calculate gravity based on experimental data only. Well done to Koan Brown for calculating 11.2 ms-2. They then went to the Rock to Push to see if they could explain how the slingshot technique works. Students are still discussing this.

Level 2 Physics

Students have been working on a practice investigation for their first internal and developing their skills in analysing circular motion in preparation for their first report in the portfolio.