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International Knowledge Sharing

The academic respect was flowing when our Year 12 Extension Science students exchanged their research with peers in Japan.

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HSC Extension Science culminates in a 3,000-word Scientific Report for which students pose a self-designed research question, formulate a hypothesis and develop an evidence-based response.

The fascinating work of our 2022 cohort includes an investigation into whether conventional drug delivery or nanotechnology is safer and more effective than chemotherapy in treating brain cancer; a comparison of the effect of sports drinks and water on electrolyte balance after vigorous exercise; and the potential of tea tree oil in the treatment of fly strike in sheep.

A moment of levity during the Scientific Report process came when the Wenona students got to share their findings with fellow science fans at Yashiro High School in Nagano, Japan via Zoom.

In turn, they became engrossed in the Japanese students' own research into real-world solutions, such as new ways to keep broccoli fresh during long stays on supermarket shelves.

"It was really beneficial just to be able to hear about their projects and get ideas for our own future research", Annelise (Year 12) said. "Even though our topics were unrelated, we learned a lot by listening to their approach, methodology, and the ways they developed their research questions".

The Japanese exchange came about through a professional partnership between Wenona’s Director of STEM, Dr Alisha Thompson and Mr Koki Nagayama, a Biology Teacher at Yashiro High School. The pair met online via a mutual Science acquaintance and have been enlivening their students' learning through science-based Zoom chats ever since.

In addition to sharing their research, the Wenona and Yashiro High School students asked each other questions about their respective schools, comparing traditions, rules and facilities such as swimming pools on either side of the world.

Hillston boarder Matilda (Year 12), is researching the effectiveness of tea tree oil as a natural treatment for fly strike. Her methodology was to put tea tree oil and the traditional farm chemical Extinosad on two separate ‘sheep-like surfaces’ (she used meat covered in wool rather than live sheep for ethical reasons) and film them to record the number of flies that landed.

“It was really enjoyable seeing the Japanese students over Zoom and learning about their research and lives”, she said.

The Wenona Scientific Reports are due next Friday and will be submitted for to NESA on 14 September, 2022.