By Rachel Ella
Templestowe College is a long-term supporter of the In2science program and offers our mentors amazing experiences. This semester one of our mentors was part of the year 8/9 Zoology class. The students in this class work with the animals they have living on campus… yes, that’s right… ‘lions and tigers and bears, oh my!’ Well, not quite – but lizards, snakes, fish, birds, and so much more! On a recent site visit, I was lucky enough to have a tour of the reptile program. These animals are housed in the classroom where the students have their lessons, how cool is that! I also got taken to the fish and eel enclosures where some of the students introduced me to their eel, Comet, and they showed me how they had trained Comet to swim through a hoop and touch his nose on a ball!
Comet’s training program was summarised by one of his student trainers: “In Zoology once a week we get to pay a visit to the fish program’s eel, Comet, to train him. When we train him, we use positive reinforcement to encourage him to swim through the ring like we’re currently doing. He’s come a long way since we first started training him – from simply bumping a bright ping-pong ball on the nose, to swimming through a ring effortlessly. Training Comet usually takes only two, sometimes three people – one holds the ring with the ping-pong ball behind it for him to swim through and bump his nose on, a second person to flash a torch into Comet’s tank to tell him he did what we wanted, and the third to feed Comet his fishy reward, and help him affiliate doing these tricks with snacks.”
We would like to thank Templestowe College and their teaching staff for their continued support of the In2science program. Templestowe College and all of our participating schools are the backbone of our program. Without your support our mentors could not inspire the next generation of STEM superstars!