ATWEA Hunter unveils new mobile labs for national science week

ATWEA Hunter unveils new mobile labs for national science week

Alesco Senior College, supported by Atwea College, is unveiling their new Mobile Science Benches as part of National Science Week.

The benches were purchased, custom-fitted and shipped from England with a $70,000 grant from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.

The seven Irwin Mobile Science Benches are the only of their kind in Australia and are now being used by students at each of Alesco’s seven Hunter campuses: Cooks Hill, Charlestown, Tuncurry (Coast), Raymond Terrace, Cessnock, Tomaree and Northlakes.

Getting these specialist, self-contained mobile science laboratory benches to Australian shores from halfway around the world during a global pandemic was no small feat and led to some unexpected delays.

Science Teacher, Andrew Beaton said the benches have made an immediate impact following arrival.

“These benches have been an absolute game-changer for our campuses and our students,” Andrew said.

“For several years, we have delivered a science curriculum for years nine to 12 students using very limited science equipment – often having to resort to the kitchen sink.

“These dedicated laboratories give our students a better opportunity to learn and engage with science, which they are truly embracing.”

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Chair, Jennifer Leslie said the labs had a modern fit-out, but their potential applications were timeless.

“Science is an ever-evolving field, but some of the equipment required to conduct experiments hasn’t changed since I was at school,” Jennifer said.

“These desks have all the necessary kit for students to learn by doing, including gas taps for Bunsen burners, retort stands, a water tap and sink, and treated surfaces so they’re acid-proof.

“Set on wheels, they also have the added benefit of being completely mobile, and are equipped with both clean and wastewater tanks, electrical outlets, and a gas tank.

“Best of all, they’re built to last, so they will be a vital part of Alesco’s science curriculum this year, next year and for many years to come.”.

Year 10 student, Finn Richardson said he didn’t really know what the labs were when they arrived, but he had to find out.

“My teacher, Andrew said it was our new Mobile Science Lab and it’s got everything that we need to do all kinds of proper science experiments and demonstrations in class – it’s even got its own gas and water on board,” Finn said.

“Now we can do the same science experiments as other schools.”

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation distributes more than $1.5 million in grants each year to facilitate charitable projects that make a difference to improving local communities throughout the Hunter, Central West, Central Coast, New England, Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers regions of NSW.

National Science Week is taking place from 13 to 21 August this year.


IMAGE | Andrew Beaton, Finn Richardson, and Carly Bush (L-R).

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation

The Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation distributes around $1.5 million in grants each year to facilitate charitable projects to address disadvantage in local communities throughout the Hunter, Central West, Central Coast, New England, Mid North Coast, and Northern Rivers regions of NSW. Since its establishment in 2003, the Foundation has provided more than $25 million to more than 540 community initiatives.

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