Budding junior scientists to improve their German while in the research laboratory

15 Aug 2011

The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute’s SPARQ-ed has joined forces with Kenmore State High School to offer a unique German Immersion Research Science Day.

On Monday the 15th of August, SPARQ-ed will conduct a biomedical science workshop for two Year 8 German language immersion classes from Kenmore State High School. The workshop will cover microscopy in the laboratory and will be conducted by German speaking researchers from UQDI, providing an authentic learning and language experience.

The Students Performing Advanced Research Queensland (SPARQ-ed) program is an initiative of the UQDI and Queensland’s Department of Education and Training, bringing together quality researchers to engage with keen science students and their teachers throughout Queensland.

The collaboration between Education Queensland and scientists from UQDI is the first of its kind and offers students the unique opportunity to become highly proficient in German whilst simultaneously studying science. The genuine laboratory-based scientific experience for Kenmore State High School students and teachers will allow participants to become involved in the cutting-edge biomedical research undertaken at the UQDI, and work alongside world renowned research leaders.

Dr Peter Darben, SPARQ-ed Co-ordinator from the UQDI, says the program provides an exciting and advantageous opportunity for the Year 8 students to exercise their German while learning science.

“The microscope workshop is one of the staple programs that SPARQ-ed has offered Queensland school students over the last two and a half years. This is the first time we have drawn on the diverse background of UQDI researchers to provide a unique learning experience.”

The school students will be guided by leading cancer and immunology researchers from the UQDI, speaking only in German.

The German Immersion program involves teaching a number of subjects using German as the main language. The immersion course is aimed at challenging and motivating students whom have in interest in another language other than English and gives students the opportunity to develop fluency in German by the end of Year 10.

The concept of teaching languages to children by immersion began in Canada in 1965 where English-speaking students were taught in French. The German Immersion Program at Kenmore State High School commenced in 1992 and has grown substantially in that time.

The program is a three year commitment by the students, and upon successful completion, they are awarded a bonus of two tertiary entrance points to many universities.