The final part of the A-level biology course covers experimental methods that require equipment beyond the scope of the school. The course covers aspects of DNA technology such as forensic analysis of specimens left at crime scenes and paternity testing amongst other applications. The year 13 biology students had an extremely informative excursion to the Hanoi Medical University where they had a hands on experience using university equipment to conduct a number of these procedures. There were also various mini lectures during which the BIS students asked some probing questions which were well fielded by the experts from the university. The excursion provided not only an opportunity for the BIS students to use the university equipment and ask questions beyond the content of the syllabus, but was also a chance to get a flavor of the job of a research scientist. Whether our students see themselves working in a career wearing a white coat or not, the experience was extremely useful and when I quizzed them on what they had learnt on our return journey to BIS, it was clear that our collective knowledge of genetics had benefited hugely from the excursion.
Edward Westropp, Science Teacher