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Lab sessions improve learning

22 May 2020

Canning College students enrolled in Year 11 and the Certificate IV in University Access Program were recently given a hands-on opportunity to develop a better understanding of particular aspects of biology.

Led by experienced Human Biology Teacher Simon Maddy, the students took part in a practical session in which they closely examined hearts and lungs as part of their studies.

2020_Biology class_1Pictured above: Students engaged in a practical biology activity. Photo: Canning College

With classrooms designed to allow for practical teaching sessions and experiments, Canning College students are regularly exposed to opportunities that might not be possible otherwise.

This week, each student was given the opportunity to dissect the sheep organs, sourced from a local butcher, after an initial demonstration by the teacher.

“If you just learn theory-based anatomical structure it’s very different from the real thing,” Mr Maddy said. “(Conducting the practical) gives students an idea of what the real thing is like, what it feels like to manipulate it, cut it and so on.

“Normally you are showing the students and giving the theory; you’re giving them visually based learning material. But it’s really good for them to have the reality of the actual structures and to be able to work with them.

“It’s good for me as a teacher because they ask more questions. You look at the diagram of the heart and see the blood flow and that’s fine and they ask everything they can but when they see the reality it opens up a whole other area of enquiry and it improves their learning.”

2020_Biology class_2Pictured above: Human Biology teacher Simon gives advice to a student. Photo: Canning College

Canning College offers Human Biology to Year 11 and Year 12 students in the WA Universities’ Foundation Program and those studying the WA Certificate of Education as well as the Certificate IV.

And while many students use their knowledge in related fields at university level, such as Physiotherapy and other Health Sciences, Human Biology also attracts students with other academic goals.

“Students who want to do law will often do human biology just because they like it,” Mr Maddy said. “There is a bit of a cross over now between business and science and sometimes we get economics students in Human Biology classes.

“But the majority of Human Biology students will be looking towards Health Sciences – things like medicine, dentistry and physio.

“At Canning College every science class is held in a purpose-built science laboratory, other schools and institutions may not have the opportunity or facilities to do this.”

Canning also has specialised laboratories for Chemistry, Physics and Environmental Science subjects, which provide students with further practical opportunities.

All organic matter used in the dissections is collected in biohazard bags and disposed of by laboratory technicians.

2020_Biology class_3Pictured above: Students gain significant education advantages from engaging in practical activities. Photo: Canning College