Ever since Breaking Bad debuted on television in 2008, the one question people always ask Science teachers is “Are you like Walter White”? The answer is always no but the fictionalised Hollywood image was put under the microscope when Dr Jess Murdoch from the ChemSpace Centre presented the annual Bayliss Chemistry Youth Lecture earlier this month.
Twenty Warwick students from Year 10 to 12 attended the lecture that detailed the forensic chemistry work that occurs when a clandestine drug laboratory is discovered in Perth. Discussed were the many and varied roles required by forensic chemists, from the identification of the drug, the ingredients used in manufacture, and includes preparing reports for use in prosecution.
The Hollywood image of a clandestine laboratory is far removed from the improvised materials and equipment that have been discovered in home labs. Science HoLA Graham Johnson said “opportunities to see the real life application of the chemistry students learn at school, helps them gain a better understanding of the relevance of the subject”.
Warwick students have been attending the Bayliss Youth Lecture for a number of years now as part of the school’s extension and enrichment priority in Science.
Tapping in to the first scientists
When young people think of scientists they think of Newton, Einstein and Hawking. What many don’t think of are our first peoples. Aboriginals were the first scientists; the first physicists, biologists, chemists and the first environmentalists. Some of our Year 8 students are being exposed to this knowledge whilst participating in Edith Cowan University’s Old Ways, New Ways program.
The award winning program, attended by our Aboriginal students who selected a friend to accompany them, is designed to engage students in the cultural science of the Noongar people. This includes the chemistry of Balga tree glue, the physics of boomerang flight and food from the land. Students were then given the opportunity to explore the new science faculty at ECU’s Joondalup campus.
AIEO mentor, Mrs Muli states “the program is a springboard from traditional ways to new ways giving students the opportunity to aspire to advance in their education”. The Old Ways, New Ways program is part of Warwick SHS commitment to success for all students.
Yours in Science
Mr Graham Johnson
Students enjoying the Old Ways, News Ways program at the Edith Cowan Joondalup campus.