GTAC Incursion

On Monday February 17, educators from the Gene Technology Access Centre (GTAC), a specialist education centre based in Melbourne, facilitated education programs with Year 10 students studying Genetics and Evolution and Year 12 students studying Biology. The Year 10 students investigated the genetics of sickle cell disease, while the Year 12 students investigated mitochondrial disease. Both groups were able to participate in a restriction enzyme digest of DNA to produce strands of different lengths which were then separated by gel electrophoresis.

Primary school students from Rochester, Elmore, Lockington and Nanneella also participated in a session about applying biomimicry to design thinking. This included looking at pollen grains of different types of flowers under powerful stereo microscopes.

All sessions were at no cost and enabled students to be tutored by specialist educators and use equipment they would not normally have access to.

Investigative Science

John Atley visited the school and spoke to students about his background and the progression of his career within the police force. He is a former student of Rochester Secondary College.

He also spoke about the many careers in the police, both as sworn officers and unsworn personnel, before showing students the sort of equipment he uses, explaining investigative techniques and demonstrating how finger printing was done. There was also an opportunity for students to look inside the crime scene van to see the great diversity of equipment inside.

Cows Create Careers

Phil Candy who works at Fonterra in Stanhope is the industry advocate for the Cows Create Careers project this year. Recently he spoke to Year 10 students studying Investigative Science about his qualifications and what his role at Fonterra involves, the many careers in the dairy industry and how to properly care for the calves.

Flu Attack workshop

On Wednesday, May 8, students studying Units 3 Biology travelled to La Trobe University in Bendigo to engage in a hands-on activity and use equipment not normally seen school. During the activity students gained an understanding of infectious diseases, influenza in particular. They used microscopy to identify cells of the immune system and learnt about ELISA, a routine technique used for diagnosis in pathology labs. Students also had an opportunity  to understand some of the wider applications of scientific research.

The school gratefully acknowledges the generosity of La Trobe University for providing this program free of charge for our students.

GTAC incursion

Specialist educators from the Gene Technology Access Centre presented three interesting and engaging activities for students on Wednesday, May 1st. Government funding enabled these sessions to be provided at no cost to students.

Grade 5 and 6 students from Rochester Primary School engaged with a real world problem and applied problem solving thinking strategies to create a digital solution. Students collaborated with peers and scientist mentors to explore the application of robotics in the expanding field of medical technologies.

Year 10 students investigated the cellular mechanism and inheritance of a genetically inherited disease, achondroplasia, through a case study of a family. They set up a restriction digest and used E-gels to perform a gel electrophoresis. They analysed the results to determine the genetic status of each family member.

Year 12 Biology students were immersed in an investigation of respiration as they explored a mitochondrial disease. They used a model they constructed to develop a theory as to how a faulty gene might disrupt respiration. They performed an experiment to test their hypothesis.

Feedback left by students rated the sessions very highly.


Last Thursday, Year 10 students who participated in the Cows Create Careers program travelled to Shepparton for the annual presentation day. After lots of fun and games, the Rochester SC group, ‘Big Red’s Cows’ were awarded first prize in the senior section for our area. Brad, Kyle, Jessica and Stephanie are pictured, each holding their participation certificate and a $50 iTunes voucher. Luke also won a $50 iTunes voucher in a prize draw for students who went to the Murray Goulburn Trading store and answered some questions.

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Art under the Microscope

Well it had better be a good excursion if you are driving out of town at 5.30 in the morning. And it was!
Six students went to Melbourne last Friday. The morning was spent at the Gene Technology Access Centre (GTAC) using a variety of microscopes. The students took photos of what they saw and entered at least one photo into the ‘Under the Microscope’ photography competition. After lunch, the students toured the Melbourne University anatomical museum. This place is not open to the general public and is where students studying anatomy have access to real human tissue that has been dissected and preserved. No photos were taken out of respect to the donors and their families, but what was seen in there will not be quickly forgotten.

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‘Teach the Teacher’

Fronting up at the end of a school day to do anything can be a big ask; everyone’s a bit tired, motivation can be low. Now imagine that you are staying after school to run a class – and your students are all the teachers!

That’s what our sensational group of ‘Teach the Teacher’ SRC reps did yesterday afternoon, and it was a big success. Jacob Baker was the session facilitator and was agreeably surprised by the excellent behavior of his class. This could also have had something to do with afternoon tea being served at the start of the session.

‘Nothing seems to be going wrong,’ he was heard to whisper as the five groups of teachers worked their way through an ideas-sharing task on Being Positive, Staying on Topic, Being Organised, Showing Respect and Improving Understanding. These topics were chosen by the students at the workshop held last term, as five important ways we could improve the ‘classroom culture’ here at RSC.

The ideas were collected on google docs, and will be publicised so that staff can make use of all the suggestions made on the day. Feedback so far has been very positive, from both ‘students’ and ‘teachers’. As this is the first time that our College has run ‘Teach the Teacher’, this was a really impressive start.

The team on the day was: Jacob Baker, Olivia Clarke, Madesyn Honey, Jessica Horkings, Bryce Gordon, Sarah Trewick, Amber Apthorpe, Riley Howard, Matt Blow, Mel McNair, Jake Rorke, Steph Moon and Charlee Roulston.

They are to be congratulated on their efforts – well done, team!

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