Sunday, 26 October 2014

Our Trip


As you all know, Catherine (Katie) Taylor, Emma Carnuccio, Natalie Teh, Hayley Ng, Jingtong (Averlie) Wang, Isabelle (Izzy) Hooton and Madeleine (Maddy) Maloof recently attended the 10th International Student Science Conference at Nankai High School in Tianjin, China, and also Nankai's 110th anniversary celebrations.

First, we traveled to Beijing, where we visited Tiananmen Square and walked through the Forbidden City. Afterwards, we experienced a rickshaw ride in a preserved cultural area in Beijing and looked inside a traditional Chinese home. Then made our way to catch the bullet train to Tianjin.

We had a wonderful stay at Nankai; sleeping the dormitories, eating in the cafeteria, going shopping, getting to know the other students attending the conference and visiting some amazing places including the Tianjin Boeing Composites, the Tianjin Natural History Museum, the Ancient Cultural Street, the Haihe River, the National Wetlands Park and of course, the school itself. But most importantly, we were delegates at the science conference.

On the second day of this event, Emma Carnuccio presented her SRP on the effects of Xenical on the inhibition of lipase, Natalie Teh and Hayley Ng presented Nicole Sung's SRP on grey water, and Katie Taylor and Averlie Wang presented the SMART Tree Project. The conference was outstanding. It was an immensely beneficial experience academically, intellectually, socially and in terms of developing life skills such as public speaking. The standard of the other students' science projects was of a very high standard and we were inspired to push the limits of our own science at PLC Sydney. Some of our favourite presentations include the solar cell batteries from Taiwan and Mexico, the project on BCI (brain computer interfacing) from India, the ecologically sustainable brick from Mexico, stem cell research from Hong Kong, research on the harmful effects of wifi radiation, from Hong Kong, 'The fall of a bullet' from another Australian school Tasmania, 'Tides of the D'entrecasteaux Channel' also from Tasmania, 'The effects of halophilic bacteria on salt-stressed plants' from England, and research into PM 2.5 (particle matter) conducted by Nankai High School which looks at air pollution. All presentations were very impressive.

At the celebration of Nankai's 110th birthday, Cailin Pascoe, our Scottish highland dancer performed a beautiful dance, and our bagpipers Izzy Hooton, Maddy Maloof and Emma Carnuccio performed some lovely Australian and Scottish tunes led by Mr Wishart. We all gave them a standing ovation and we are very proud of them. The Nankai students also performed, showcasing their traditional Chinese dances, instruments, singing and the culture and values of their school. They performed very well and we were all highly entertained (after the one hour and fifteen minutes of speeches in Chinese had finished).

On our way back, we stopped over at Beijing again and climbed the Great Wall of China! The scenery was spectacular and it was an excellent opportunity to move our legs again after sitting through so many speeches and presentations. At Beijing, we also had another opportunity to do a little bit of shopping and eat dinner at a traditional Chinese restaurant. Sadly, our stay couldn't be longer.

Going to China was a fantastic and rewarding experience that none of us will ever forget. We thank our principal Dr Burgis, Mrs Hendriks and Mr Wishart for leading and accompanying us, and the PLC Sydney Foundation for supporting us. Now, we all have amazing friends from overseas and fabulous memories of our time together.

Thank you,
The 2014 PLC team.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

China Presentations

It is the fifth day of the holidays, and we are currently finalising the last few details on our presentations that we deliver in China to suggest various ideas for further research. We are also updating the blog at school. In three weeks, we will be heading off to the findings of all our high level scientific experiments. The presentations we have prepared include information about the Smart Tree Program, the effect of a fat loss drug on lipase as well as the effect of greywater on mung bean sprouts. Personally, it will be my second time in China, and knowing the overcrowding, hopefully, no-one will be lost in the masses of people in the busy streets. This blog will be following our travels and activities, and there will be plenty of photos.
That’s all for now! Keep following us for more posts.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Our Presentations

Hi everybody.

Today we are back at school during our Spring holidays! We've come in to finalise the presentations which we will be be using in Tianjin. We have three presentations which we would like to share with the delegates of the 10th International Student Science Conference.

Our first presentation will be about the SMART Tree Project, which you are already familiar with from following this blog. What is sap? What is sap flow? Why is it important? What is the research? We hope that the other schools will take an interest in this area of science and enjoy it as much as we have.

For our second presentation, Hayley and Natalie will be analyzing the use of grey-water for domestic and agricultural purposes, for example, growing mung beans. We applaud them for hand-washing their own clothes to create their grey-water. This project was inspired by the research of one of our classmates, Nicole Sung, who came up with the idea.

In our third presentation, Emma will be talking about 'whether the concentration of Xenical affects the inhibition of lipase.' Her project concerns the increasingly growing problem of obesity by looking this diet pill. This is from her own original work from her SRP (Student/Science Research Project) conducted earlier this year.

We have heard that there will be students from many different parts of the world such as Canada! Katie and I (Averlie) are super excited to meet international students and make friends, and we're sure the rest of us are as well. What languages will they speak? We have also heard that we are likely to be the youngest delegates to present at the conference because the other delegates are likely to be in the equivalents of Year 12. However, that just makes everything more exciting because it gives us an opportunity to get a taste of higher levels of scientific work.

It is a privilege to be able to go to China on a tour such as this one and we hope that our audience at Tianjin will enjoy our presentations as much as we have enjoyed putting them together.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Our upcoming tour to Nankai High School, Tianjin is fast approaching and I am both excited to widen my global perspectives and cultural awareness but also nervous for our presentation at the International Science Conference.  

Myself along with four other Year 10 PLC Science Students have been tirelessly working on our investigations and presentations. But regardless of the time and effort that we have put into our works, our preparations have been enjoyable with our fearless leader Ms Hendriks, baking brownies and meringues for us for our weekly meetings. (I think it is the food that keeps us motivated!)

Keep in touch

How to follow us in China!


Did you know that you can follow us through RSS (real simple syndicator), which is the equivalent of subscribing to our blog. This will be very exciting when we go to China. We are all greatly excited to catch the bullet train, climb the Great Wall of China, visit the wetlands, stay at Nankai High School and being involved so many more interesting and scientific activities during our trip.

To receive email alerts about our adventures, proceed to 'feedly Pro'. This is a website which uses RSS linked to your email to let you know when there is a new post on any blog that you wish to follow. Simply link your email address to feedly and then add our blog by searching the URL.


Our blog:

We all look forward to keeping you up to date during the International Student Science Conference of 2014!

The model tree is looking great in the PLC library. Hanging from the ceiling are oxygen molecules and leaves.
Books with plant stories and information are on the floor under the tree.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Our model - Science, Creativity, Life


We are excited to announce that we have completed our model of the lemon-scented gum tree. Our school enjoyed this project so much that we chose to extend it beyond Science Week and add more to it. This scientific activity has also been very good for incorporating the theme of this year's International Science Conference, which is 'Science, Creativity, Life'. In the creation of this tree, we have demonstrated all three aspects.


We asked some students around the school, "What did you learn from making the tree?" The  range of answers were wide and varied, covering everything from, "I didn't know that sap flow was triggered by heat and light," to, "I learnt how to create composite graphs on excel." Our favourite response was perhaps, "I didn't know there were mushrooms under the tree." Well, there aren't any because red-spotted mushrooms are not native plants, but the mushrooms that a wonderful Year 5 class made were too cute to go to waste so we included them anyway. It was fun to gain more scientific knowledge and learn more about trees as a part of our SMART Tree Project.

Included in our model, there are native Australian birds singing in the branches, long roots extending into the junior school reading pit, a representation of the solar panel, boxes of leaf litter samples, and much much more. Putting together our tree model involved a lot of artistic effort. The roots used up a great supply of masking tape and the root hairs made use of pipe cleaners. The solar panel is a music stand covered in aluminium foil. The posters surrounding the tree are both decorative and educational. This was a good opportunity for everyone to express their creativity.

Examples of life can be found everywhere: the birds and possums in the tree, the organisms and worms below the tree, and of course, the tree itself. It is also good to keep in mind that our academic work is part of the 'cutting edge research (which) could well find its way into government policy and scientific papers as the world wrestles with such issues as climate change, drought policy and natural resource management,' showing an impact on our lives.

Here are some photos of our final product!

An overview.

Scientific graphs.

Rainbow Lorikeet sitting on a branch.

The solar panel.

The roots.

Educational books and root hairs.

Leaves, oxygen and carbon dioxide molecules, and bug life.