Out of the Classroom

Kristin: The complex interaction of antibodies and antigens provides opportunity to create new drugs, for example, Herceptin is an antibody that acts as a drug to kill cancer cells. Another idea is the use of shark antibodies; mutations from the shark antibodies can improve stickiness to malaria proteins – perhaps we can find ways to save lives and also to make money?

This was presented by Dr Andy Coley of La Trobe University to a group of year 9’s at Ivanhoe Grammar. Part of the year 9 science program involves out of classroom learning activities at La Trobe University. The program starts with lectures which erupts in so many questions!! The students then decide on a research question and the days are their own to do what they like and what they need to do to answer this question. They have choice in topic and choice of how the outcomes of the research are produced – eg movies, animations, websites, blogs, and even MySpace.

The outcomes of the program are exciting. Students talking at this session during STAVCON described how they have realised science is more than just atoms and stuff. They’d been able to learn much more about one topic than the bits and pieces they felt were covered in class. And all students raved about the independence and choice and responsibilty. Most of all, their view of science has expanded and made them curious about the world. Great stuff!

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