Term 2, Issue 03: Science Department | Siena College
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From the Science Department

Year 11 Chemistry

"A few weeks ago, Year 11 Chemistry students visited the REPLAS recycling headquarters to learn more about polymer chemistry. We ventured through an interactive tunnel which detailed the lifecycle of plastics and their inability to biodegrade. The excursion informed us on the importance of recycling and reusing plastics. It was unbelievable to find out that humans eat a credit card's worth of plastic each week because of the micro plastics in the environment! The process of recycling plastics was also interesting to observe. There are many benefits from creating materials from recycled plastics as it reduces landfill. REPLAS extended our knowledge about plastic recycling and ways we can improve our environmental footprint. It was a great opportunity to discover chemistry in action!" Year 11 student, Melania F

Year 12 Chemistry

The Year 12 students also headed to the University of Melbourne’s Chemistry laboratory to analyse a range of unknown organic compounds to identify what they were. Using instrumentation such as infra-red spectroscopy and proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, they were able to correctly identify the unknowns, deducing their structures. These techniques are used by real chemists in a wide variety of industrial and research settings, as well as in forensics, crime scene analysis, and sports performance-enhancing drug analysis. When chemists are designing new chemicals, they also use these techniques to ‘see’ the molecules they have made to make sure it is the right compound! Students will encounter this sort of data in a range of assessments including their end of year exam, so it was great practice!

In Term 3, we will have our annual STEAM Careers breakfast at Siena College. This event will allow students to have roundtable conversations with professionals in several science and engineering fields of study so that students can be deeply informed leading into subject selection and making choices about possible career directions. The details for the event are included below.

Innovation: Powering Future Industries

This is a chance to examine the range of innovative pathways available to those pursuing STEAM careers. Innovation has links to many things around us in our day to day lives:

  • Responsible innovation: Engage with ethics, impacts and benefit-sharing through the lens of responsible innovation
  • Innovations in agriculture: Explore the science and technology that is enabling smarter agriculture in Australia
  • Innovations in space: Find out about amazing innovations in space, including rockets, rovers and spaceplanes
  • Innovations around us: Discover innovations that have enabled transport, water management and medical technologies throughout history and into the future

Are you curious about a career in a STEAM related field, but have never spoken with a scientist, engineer or someone who works with technology?

Come along and share a light breakfast with our STEAM professionals and find out how they got to where they are, what they do on a normal day and what they like most about their work. There is the opportunity to ask all the questions you might have in roundtable discussions. You will hear from a keynote speaker about pursuing a career in a STEAM related field.

With subject selection happening in Term 3, this is a chance to learn more about STEAM career options and what they are really like.

Click here to register now.

Nicholas Harvey

Head of Science
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