Shane McMaster participated in an immersive hands-on research experience with Dr Simone Osborne in the agriculture and food laboratories at St Lucia, QLD

Shane has a passion for science and loves to pass that onto his students. He has often found it is easier for students to connect with the content when it has a real-life context. Shane found the experience fun and a good way to reinvigorate himself and further his lab experience that he could then use with his classes.

man working in laboratory using pipette in chemical fume hood

Shane McMaster, Secondary Teacher 2018 TRiPP participant

The project: Digestibility of milk from different species

Shane was placed on a small research project “Digestibility of milk from different species” working with CSIRO’s Agriculture and Food team. Shane’s hands-on experience involved the digestibility of milk with respect to release of peptides in the gastric and intestinal phase of digestion. Shane’s experience allowed him to see a functional research lab at work and extend his laboratory skills.

The impact

Having been a little while since study and working in a laboratory Shane hoped to gain a peek into the work of a current-day scientist.

He felt that many of his past experiences in the laboratory were dated. Wanting to gain knowledge to help answer the questions his students often asked him like; what exactly does a scientist do all day? Do they use the scientific method in the same way we do, or is it more inherent?

Shane has taken the experience back to the classroom, with students conducting a weeklong investigation into the digestibility of milk. The experience has had a huge impact on how Shane runs investigations with his classes and his own laboratory techniques and skills. It has made him a more thoughtful in-class scientist.

It has given him more to think about when he plans experiments, and help his students extend their investigations. It has enabled him to be more thoughtful about making the time in the lab more of an investigation and less of an experiment for the students. Shane has more confidence in guiding his students through their investigations and adding a real-world context to his lessons.

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