College Students visit School of Medicine

September 03, 2014 at 9:01 AM

This week, the Year 12 IB Biology students visited the School of Medicine at the University of Auckland to attend a lecture on the respiratory system and carry out a laboratory in physiology similar to that taken at undergraduate level. Both the theoretical component and the practical work contributed to a greater understanding of applied biology as it relates to humans, whilst simultaneously introducing students to the tertiary environment in which many will study in the future.

The first session took place in the School of Medicine’s pathology theatre where an outline of the respiratory system was presented, detailing many of the structures which allow for efficient gas exchange and some of the problems which may arise from smoking, atmospheric pollution and asthma.

The students were also allowed time to inspect the many and varied pathological samples showing healthy, unhealthy and physically damaged organs from bodies donated to medical science. These remains impressed upon the students the stark fact that medical science has gained its knowledge from the study of how life sometimes goes awry as much as from how it works.

The second session took place in a laboratory normally reserved for the teaching of undergraduate courses in Physiology. The students used spirometers to measure tidal volume and vital capacity of their own lungs to calculate the residual volume of air within the respiratory tract. These volumes vary considerably as a function of an individual’s size and fitness, as each needs to maintain a homeostatic oxygen balance within the body for overall function. This laboratory work took one and a half hours to complete, but represents only one small component of what is required at that higher level.

The opportunity to visit the School of Medicine proved to be both insightful and stimulating to Biology students who may now consider the further opportunities that can come from their continuing education.

With thanks to Head of Biology, Mr Simon Walker

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