Pupils get sampler of university life

Pupil Lara Harjes (16), of Palmerston North, turns a flame green by blowing copper salt on to it....
Pupil Lara Harjes (16), of Palmerston North, turns a flame green by blowing copper salt on to it. PHOTOS: JESSICA WILSON
Secondary school pupils have been getting a taste of university life.

Pupil Lachlan Cronin (17) pours saturated sodium acetate on to sodium acetate crystals, which...
Pupil Lachlan Cronin (17) pours saturated sodium acetate on to sodium acetate crystals, which instantly crystallise.

The University of Otago’s Hands-On at Otago programme ran last week, giving about 400 pupils from around New Zealand an insight into studying at the university.

During a chemistry session last Thursday, pupils took part in a range of experiments, including changing the colour of a flame by blowing different substances at it.

Spending the week as a university student was helpful for Palmerston North pupil Lara Harjes.

"I thought it would be a really good chance to look at the different stuff we can do at university and learn more about what I want to do," Lara said.

"It was a good chance to hang out with new people."

She spent the week learning more about chemistry, science communication, psychology and biochemistry.

She planned to study physics, chemistry or engineering in the future.

Pupil Lachlan Cronin, of Tapanui, studied chemistry, physics, food science and Maori.

University of Otago chemistry master’s student Sam McIntyre (23) dips a balloon of helium into...
University of Otago chemistry master’s student Sam McIntyre (23) dips a balloon of helium into liquid nitrogen.

He enjoyed spending time at the university and meeting new people.

During the week, each day was split into three activities: their main research programme, smaller "snack" activities, and social/recreational events.

To get the full university experience, the pupils stayed in halls of residence.

The programme is designed to show pupils what researchers do, why they do these things and to encourage pupils to consider further study.

 

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