News & Events

Students Inspired by Science

16 May 2019

Ivanhoe Grammar School's Year 9 Program at University Campus is a unique educational initiative that gives students an early taste of university life that challenges and inspires them. It is designed to develop skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, time management, decision making and other life skills that students will carry with them into the Senior Years and beyond. As part of this educational experience, they get the opportunity to use world-class facilities such as the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS) which is committed to solving global problems and improving the welfare of human societies. 

Chemistry – flame test

Students visited the La Trobe University chemistry labs to complete the 'flame test'. They were able to use the state of the art fume hoods to explore atomic theory by burning various chemicals to expose their unique colours. Students were able to learn more about the theory behind fireworks and the specialty equipment such as the ICP-MS and the AA Spectrometer that La Trobe University uses to complete similar experiments in a more detailed way. Links to future careers were made and students gained valuable higher level scientific skills.

Physics – exploration

Magnetism, Liquid Nitrogen, renewable energy and non-newtonian liquids were just a few of the things students got to experience as part of the physics demonstration. They were able to discuss as a group scientific method and predict the outcome of a variety of experiments. They were also given time to try many of them themselves and try to change the outcomes by adjustment of variables. 

Some of the Year 9 students involved reflected on this experience:

Recently my year level and I were given the opportunity to take advantage of La Trobe University’s outstanding science facilities. It was an absolutely amazing experience! We took on the experiment called the flame test, in which we watch the colour of a regular flame change due to different metal-based chemicals reacting to the heat. It was quite dazzling leaving many students, myself included, speechless. I am very excited to go back to the labs for round two!


Friday’s ‘flame test’ lab session was amazing. We got a chance to not only learn about different chemical compounds and how they reacted but to actually perform experiments which involved testing on a variety of compounds and placing them over a bunsen burner to see what colour flame they produced. It demonstrated how cool it can be to be a scientist and the importance of it. The whole experience was as if we were real scientists conducting proper experiments while having to also write down the process and record results in a booklet provided which made the overall experience more immersed and realistic.


Friday's 'flame test' was by far my favourite practical so far at the University Campus. It was extremely interesting to see how certain metals when heated emitted different colours and learning about this was quite interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed the experiment as it was easy to understand and different as we got to burn multiple compounds and see how they would react to the heat applied.