Year 12 Biology – University of Sydney Excursion

On Tuesday 19 July, the two Year 12 Biology classes attended HSC sessions on Communication and Search for Better Health at the University of Sydney. In the morning we participated in the Communication sessions.  Upon our arrival we split up into four groups and were allocated a bench in the Biology laboratory.  Each group was lead by a university student that specializes in one of the four topics. The first station I participated in was the dissection of the eye, which involved us examining the different parts of the eye and relating the parts of the eye to their function. At the second station, we examined the human ear and the effects that different loudness levels and pitches have on our hearing.  Following this station my group and I observed and compared the “invisible ears” (internal ears) and how lizards and snakes can “hear”.  Interesting fact :  a snake doesn’t have “ears”; it can sense vibrations from movements made by moving objects such as humans within the snake’s vicinity. Our last station for the Communication topic, was a brain dissection.  We identified the parts of the brain, along with describing the functions of each part of the brain, for example the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain, controls all the secretions of all the hormones, a pretty powerful organ that can control many hormonal processes in the whole human body! These stations really allowed us to piece together all the different types of humans and animals communication such as the eye, brain and ear, and how they allow external stimuli to be transformed into electrochemical messages.  This allows our body to understand the messages and respond with the appropriate action e.g. the kinetic energy from sound is transformed into electrochemical energy, which allows humans to hear sounds and understand the sounds we hear.

 After lunch we attended our final session which was a revision session on the second HSC Biology topic, Blueprint of Life. The first activity (my group and I completed) involved us working out the possible eye colours of fruit fly offspring after we calculated the possibility of the two alleles (red or white) for the gene for eye colour.  This type of inheritance is called sex-linked inheritance or X-linked inheritance. Following this station, my group and I continued to examine inheritance by investigating blood types; this type of inheritance is called co-dominance. At the final two stations we examined fossil (Pentadactyl limb) and embryonic evidence, which indicates to us the origins of evolution within the vertebrate population (mammals, amphibians, birds and reptiles). The university also allowed us to observe their museum, which allowed us to investigate more evolutionary examples for our upcoming exams.

On behalf of the two Year 12 Biology classes I would like to thank Dr Trent and Mrs Janev for planning these thoroughly enjoyable and enriching learning experiences, which will undoubtedly be a great help to our upcoming exams !

Isabella Aleksovska (Year 12 Biology student)