Mad science at Menai High School as experiments run wild

Young researchers: Menai High School science extension students with their completed projects that they have worked on all year as part of a new HSC science extension course. Picture: Chris Lane
Young researchers: Menai High School science extension students with their completed projects that they have worked on all year as part of a new HSC science extension course. Picture: Chris Lane

It has been a year of testing times for a group of science students at Menai High School.

A talented bunch of teens, and perhaps future researchers, who have been part of the new science extension HSC course, have finished their research projects in preparation for marking.

The school is among those in NSW that will have its first online HSC exam this year. The course gives top NSW science students the opportunity to be challenged at high levels, and is intended to foster future scientists.

Students learn through hands-on practice, rather than from a textbook. The subject aims to link school science to tertiary studies. It also encourages more students to take on STEM fields. It is run before and after school.

Amy Allsop-Guest, who is planning on studying forensic science at university next year, extracted human DNA from her own cheek cells and hair follicles for her project.

Matthew Chandler used spiders to study how a possible enzyme and amino acid can combine as a treatment for acute alcohol intoxication.

Isabella Wells looked at epilepsy in fruit flies with a particular gene mutation, investigating a possible treatment for symptoms.

Chelsea Tasker investigated DNA repair following UV exposure, as a potential treatment for damage caused by the sun.

William Daley conducted an investigation into the use of oyster mushrooms to clean up oil spills. he grew his own mushrooms and discovered they can be effective in spill remediation.

Jessica Cheung modelled the effects of taking breaks in antibiotic treatment on the emergence of antibiotic resistance. Phoebe Pang examined oyster filtration.

"It's an incredible achievement from students at a comprehensive high school," head teacher of science, Ann Hanna said.

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