Ruth worked alongside microbial ecologist Dr David Midgley at the energy laboratories at North Ryde, NSW
Ruth was hoping to refresh her skills by spending time working with a scientist in an area that was new to her and hoped to establish links to the classroom.
The project: Which microbes eat what?
Ruth participated on a project investigating microbes and what they eat. The project involved microbes from the deep subsurface that interact with fuels to understand how they alter fuel properties (e.g. making more methane from coal, or reducing H2S production).
Ruth has a renewed appreciation for science and the many facets of laboratory tasks and the need to remain life-long learners. The experience has provided meaningful content currently being researched by scientists, enabling a fresh approach to her delivery of science content to high school students. Ruth has refreshed her teaching practice in being more of an instrument of information awakening in students to inspire and help direct their interests rather than just delivering syllabus content all the time.
Ruth has taken the experience and developed resources and an inquiry where students will research microbes (fungi) and generate their own questions. Students will learn about micro-organisms and the role they can play in solving real world problems, such as enhancing coal seam methane.
From the experience Ruth furthered her skills in the laboratory and has been able to put real context in what the students are learning. With a refreshed knowledge of laboratory practices, Ruth has been able to develop the skills of her students in the scientific process conducting their own investigations.