Tony Skinner and Mahlee Anderson (left) put the finishing touches on their stone axe at Macquarie University.
Tony Skinner and Mahlee Anderson (left) put the finishing touches on their stone axe at Macquarie University. Macquarie University

Casino High students test science

SLIME and a stone axe were used to introduce three Northern Rivers school students to university-level science last week.

Mahlee Anderson, Stephanie Dunning and Tony Skinner, who are going into Year 10 at Casino High School, took part in a three-day Science Experience at Macquarie University in Sydney, conducting experiments, attending lectures and even ice-skating.

Stephanie, 14, said the three days had been ‘a great opportunity to check out the university and see what’s available’.

The objective of the Science Experience, which has been held in universities nationwide since 1995, is to help school kids get comfortable within a university environment and encourage them to become engaged with the discipline.

This year, Macquarie extended the workshops beyond the mainstream subjects to include visual perception, which was run by the psychology faculty, and to explore indigenous culture with an axe-building exercise.

Building the axe involved a range of disciplines, said Caroline Taouk, Macquarie’s science and technology liaison officer, including anthropology, chemistry, biology and geology.

It was a highlight for Stephanie, who has ambitions of being a palaeontologist. She also enjoyed a lecture on diamonds, which revealed how microscopic-sized gems are unearthed.

Ms Taouk said there had been six laboratory activities and four guest speakers, some of whom were working in some of the ‘coolest’ branches of science.

Other activities included anatomy in action; a study of chemical reactions involving dramatic colour changes; making nylon thread and slime, and creating an explosive foam reaction.



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