At UMCA we like to supplement our classes with as many hands on learning opportunities as possible. It has been shown through studies conducted with students of a variety of ages that field trips provide a differentiated learning approach, and the information covered during field trips is what tends to stick with students throughout their academic lives. In our science classes we like to learn outside of the classroom as much as possible in order to expand our experiences and be able to work with professionals in their field for optimal education.
Very recently we went to Ryerson University where students worked with chromatography and spectrophotometry in order to analyze a variety of different samples and seek conclusions to a forensic chemistry case. Not only did students work with state of the art lab equipment, they were also able to experience the University life style.
We also visited the Ontario Science Center in which students performed an Environmental Water Filtration lab. This trip was targeted to our grade 11 and 12 biology and chemistry students as it focused on pH scale identification, spectrophotometry application, turbidity in relation to microbiology, and overall skills and knowledge of lab testing and documentation. Students were then pitted against each other in an engineering battle in order to properly create a device in a timed event to collect water from a well at a distance, without any actual physical contact with the well itself. Overall students showed a great initiative and leadership in the events, and were able to work together constructively in teams in order to achieve a like goal.
Upcoming trips will include another visit to the Ontario Science Center where students will be working with Gel Electrophoresis and DNA barcoding. Students will be collecting a personal sample of DNA from a cheek swab and will be analyzing their genotypic ratios, after which they will be comparing their results to the general public. This lab not only focuses on genetics and proper gel apparatus procedures, but also allows students to practice micro-pipetting into wells, and staining genetic material.
Other future trips will also be happening to Ryerson University. On Monday March 7th physics students will be conducting a lab at the university, after which they will be taken to St. Michael’s hospital in order to learn about biophysics and how it is used in medical approaches. At the hospital students will be taking a look at MRI function and construction. They will be speaking with a biophysics professor who will discuss the importance of physics in the field of medicine, and how it can be used to create helpful tools like the MRI, along with many others.