Intent to learn: experiencing the University of Sydney

9 October 2012

Thank you to the student authors and their teacher, Ms Long, for this article.

On the 5th of September, our school, Sir Joseph Banks High School, accompanied by many other high schools in the South Western Sydney region, visited the University of Sydney. A large number of students were chosen from each school to go and experience what university is like. This exciting program was run by the Compass program and student ambassadors and many fun and interesting activities were organised for the students to participate in.

The students chose from a range of different workshops that covered interesting and fun topic areas such as sport, science, insects, health and music. The activities were done in two different groups with one workshop in the morning and one workshop in the afternoon.

Sam and Tayfun started off the day with the Law and Business workshop and Justin began with the Astronomer's Toolkit workshop. Sam and Tayfun had a really nice time learning about how businesses sell goods and services within the limits of the law. "The university gave us a book about how to work with law and business as well as a calculator which came with a pen. We thought the lecture was very interesting and we also learnt a lot about business that we would have not learnt anywhere else."

Justin really enjoyed the Astronomer's Toolkit workshop as he explored the principle of parallax. Parallax is the formula that measures the distance between objects in outer space. He constructed a special protractor that had a ruler that measured the degrees of an object that is far away from you. He measured distances around the large room and had fun working with the formula. It was a very interesting workshop and engaging for Justin and the other students.

The afternoon session brought the three boys together in the Spying on History workshop. They walked up the stairs that looked like they were Hogwarts stairs from the movie 'Harry Potter'. They received a booklet containing information on a case from 1929 about a writer whose nickname was 'Inky'. Inky was publishing inappropriate poetry books and selling them to the average working class citizens. The three boys delved into the trial and discovered many intriguing things about life in 1929. The boys were commended on their intent to learn and involvement in the conversations and activities.

"All of the workshops covered a new topic that was completely different to what we had been studying in class at school. We all enjoyed the day and had a great time investigating our chosen areas. We would all like to do it again."

See the photographs and video from the day on our website.