Samoa is a dream holiday destination for many, but 20 members of our Sancta Maria community are lucky enough to be spending 10 days in the beautiful country. The 2019 Sancta Maria Samoa Outreach Tour left Auckland this Wednesday morning, and will be returning on July 13. The 17 students and 3 teachers have all been busily preparing for months for this exciting opportunity.

Read more: Heading to Samoa

Imagine a world where you could only eat small grasshoppers or black beetles? Well this is the vision for Dutch-New Zealand naturalist and entomologist, Ruud Kleinpaste.

Read more: The Bug Man

Last week, Year 13 biology students had the opportunity to visit the laboratories at Massey University in Albany. This allowed students to use a proper university lab as well as some of the lab equipment including pipettes, electrophoresis equipment and water baths.

Last week, Year 13 biology students had the opportunity to visit the laboratories at Massey University in Albany. This allowed students to use a proper university lab as well as some of the lab equipment including pipettes, electrophoresis equipment and water baths.

The day started with an introduction to the lab, which included learning the correct and incorrect use of pipettes as most students had never used these before. Students then got the chance to practice their pipetting skills by digesting a plasmid using restriction enzymes. This involved pipetting between 2 and 20µL of liquids into microcentrifuge tubes. After incubating these tubes in a water bath, we then added a dye to the tubes and practised pipetting 20µL of liquids into wells in a gel. When confident with pipetting, students then got the opportunity to load their digested plasmid samples into a gel for gel electrophoresis to separate the samples by size.

When the long-awaited lunch break was announced, students were excited to get a taste of university food including surprisingly cheap pizza, ice cream and chips. Students also got the opportunity to visit the iconic golden chicken wing of the Massey Albany campus.

In the afternoon we received model answers of our results from the morning's lab procedure. We then learned how to read the results from the gel electrophoresis and use these results to identify where the restriction sites are on the plasmid we used.

Overall the day was a valuable experience. While students had learnt about many of the techniques in class, we had not had the opportunity to use any of the equipment. Actually using the lab equipment helped students to better understand the techniques, such as gel electrophoresis and prepared students for using labs and lab equipment should they choose to study science at university next year.

Sophia Bebelman

Yesterday, two Year 10 business classes participated in organizing a Market Day for the rest of the school to enjoy. There was music, games, exciting products and many more creative business ideas that the Year 10s produced to gain an insight to the world of economics. They had been preparing to sell items to customers with the goal to earn as much money as possible – which they were able to keep for themselves.

Read more: Y10 Market Day