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School’s Out for ECU LabRats!

Wednesday, 03 October 2018

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More than 200 high school students gave up a day of their spring school holiday to take part in the ECU LabRats Schools Out science program.

Over three days, students in Years 9,10 and 11, from multiple schools across Perth, arrived at the ECU Joondalup campus to experience a typical day in the life of a university science student.  The day commenced with a welcome onto campus by current ECU student ambassadors, the School of Science engagement team and a delicious muffin.  Students were then divided into smaller groups, and led by an ECU student ambassador, invited to participate in an interactive campus tour, which acculturated them to the beautiful campus and the facilities available to prospective ECU students.

Once familiar with their surroundings and their group, student ambassadors lead them to one of three interactive and hands-on science labs/workshops.  From the natural and physicals sciences, students experienced; chemistry forensics, a blood spatter analysis math challenge, seagrass and plastic pollution looking at marine and environment management, from marine and freshwater science, students investigating the health of live Yabby’s and our special guest of the day ‘Rex” a Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo, alongside our friends at the Kaarakin Black Cockatoo conversation centre, gave an insightful presentation on the work being undertaken to preserve these endangered species. Students also experienced the fascinating and emerging technologies of cyber security and intelligence, phishing and computer programming and coding. Finally, students were welcomed into the medical and health, and sports and exercise science labs, where they heard about current science techniques in the areas of nutrition, eccentric exercise and how the heart works.

As part of the day, students were given time to purchase lunch at one of our many restaurants and cafes on campus, including Italian, Asian and modern Australian (Chips and Gravy!) cuisine, whilst getting to know and relaxing with their new friends.

The day was wrapped up with a presentation on pathways and courses available at ECU from our enthused future student team, along with prizes and farewells.

Student feedback was very positive, “It was cool and different – I had fun and made good friends.”, “It was really engaging, fun and a great way to meet new people.  I liked all the activities, it showed me what I could do if I study science”, “My experience at ECU’s LabRats is positive.  I enjoyed the day and would recommend it to others.”

For further information on the LabRats program and forthcoming science engagement programs, please contact Michelle Austin sscievents@ecu.edu.au.

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