Enrichment allows students to broaden their understandings and develop skills which they can then apply across all areas of their learning.
The College offers students an actual academic study called Enrichment. It is offered at Year 8 and 9 and allows for greater flexibility and individual skill development across a range of content areas, often simultaneously.
Students are provided with the opportunity to work individually as well as with others. Sharing ideas, developing ‘thinking skills’, analysing information and actively participating in informed discussion are all integral components of the course.
In addition to the Cross-Curricular Enrichment subject, students are also offered the opportunity to engage with Mathematics Enrichment. This enables students to engage with sophisticated problem-solving activities within the Mathematics domain, heightening engagement and capacity in numeracy.
CSIRO Scientist in Schools Program
Year 7 Scientist in Schools Program
With Dr Elizabeth Thomas
Women’s Mental Health Team Manager
Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc)
Dr. Elizabeth Thomas completed a Bachelor of Biomedical Science (First Class Honours)/Bachelor of Science double degree at Monash University. Following that, she completed her PhD in September 2019 and has since taken up the role of Women’s Mental Health Team Manager at the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre (MAPrc). She has published numerous papers looking at genetic markers that affect cognition across the schizophrenia spectrum.
On top of her research, Elizabeth has been involved in many community engagements. In particular, she is involved in the CSIRO STEM Professionals in Schools Program, which partnered her with SJRC. The program is a national volunteer program that facilitates partnerships between schools and industry to bring real STEM into the classroom. Teachers and STEM professionals work together to apply real industry skills to STEM subjects through a range of activities. Here at SJRC, Elizabeth taught students about different factors that influence cognitive abilities such as memory and attention in a five week program.
Class 1: Baseline
Brief introduction into cognition, the brain etc.
Students get into pairs and complete the cognitive tasks. This will be their baseline. The aim over the term is to figure out ways on how to improve their cognition, so that when they do these tests again in the last class, they can improve their own scores.
Class 2: Factors that cannot be changed
This week, the group will test how certain factors can affect cognition. These are factors that cannot be changed. For example, gender and personality type has been shown to affect cognition. As a class, we design an experiment together on how to test these. Our results will impact experiments in later classes. For example, if we find that gender does affect it, then whatever test we do later needs to have equal amounts of males and females in each group. At the end, I give a brief talk on what research actually shows.
Class 3: Physical exercise and mindfulness
Again, as a group we design a test to see if exercise and mindfulness improve cognition. Students test each other in pairs. At the end, I give a brief talk on what research actually shows.
Class 4: Exercising your brain
Research shows that doing activities such as reading fiction, doing puzzles, play board and card games and participating in other brain stimulating activities helps improve memory. Again, as a group we design a test to see if these improve cognition. Students test each other in pairs. At the end, I give a brief talk on what research actually shows.
Class 5: Improving their own cognition
Students reflect on how they did each week and which techniques helped them specifically. They then have some time to do anything they want to help improve their cognition. For example, if they did well when we tested exercise in class 3, they might just do exercise for 15 minutes. If several things improved their cognition, they could do a mix. We then repeat the tests done in week 1 and students can compare whether they did better. The techniques that were successful can be used whenever they have exams or assignments coming up.
ON TRACK Music Program
The ON TRACK program from the Mushroom Group and the Department of Education collaborated with St John’s Regional College. One of the groups involved were offered the chance to record their song in a recording studio with the On Track Hip Hop Mentor’s/Producer. Check out the students record below.