Science week set our pulses racing

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Image 1 (from left): Lana Liversidge, Lucy Berrell and Rainy Yang (Year 8).

Image 2: Miranda Rudd Hughes (Year 10) extracting DNA.

The United Nations declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses. The Science Faculty adopted this theme for Science Week 2016, aiming to heighten awareness of the nutritional value of pulses in a world that must seriously consider options for sustainable food production. Food security and nutrition, in the face of growing populations and the pressures of climate change, will be two of our greatest challenges; pulses can offer a high-protein solution to these problems.

Some students regularly consume pulses as part of their diet. Many did not even know what a pulse was. Through discussion and research each Science class discovered that pulses are part of the legume family. Legumes are plants whose fruit is enclosed in a pod. The term 'pulse' refers only to the dried seed. Dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses. 

Classes explored recipes and prepared a feast of pulse dishes to share, including lentil brownies, dahl, hummus, soups, curries and salads. Many were delicious, some quite different. It was enlightening for all. 

Under the guidance of students from the Year 11 Biology classes, Year 9 extracted DNA from green split peas and observed the DNA using microscopes. This was an excellent opportunity for the senior students to experience the challenges of teaching and structuring a practical laboratory session. Year 10 classes also extracted DNA. 

On a more light-hearted note, students donated a gold coin to enter the Mung Bean Growing Competition. Some of our students have very green thumbs, others were confounded by the difficulty of the task. $408 was raised and donated to World Vision’s Forty Hour Famine Appeal. The following students received prizes for their mung beans:

  • Tallest mung beans: Cate Brady (Year 7), Jessica Cheng (Year 8), Amelia Feng (Year 9), Stella Shannon (Year 10) and Sabrina Tam (Year 11)
  • Most creative display: Olivia Antoun (Year 8)
  • Most developed mung beans: Sabrina Tran (Year 7)
  • Best mung beans: Maia Shannon (Year 7)
  • Best staff entry: The Bursar’s Office

 

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