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Norssi high school gets new laboratory facilities

Arja Aalto-Laaksonen ja Juha Järvinen, norssin labra
Arja Aalto-Laaksonen and Juha Järvinen show the new laboratory facilities of the Norssi high school.
Curricula are increasingly focused on experimental teaching. At the Norssi high school, teachers and students now have better facilities for using practical experiments in teaching and learning natural sciences.

The high school of the Tampere University Teacher Training School, which is located on the city centre campus, has new laboratory facilities. The facilities are already used in teaching, but the official opening day will be 15 May. Both teachers and students are very happy with the new premises.

“Chemistry, physics and biology are fundamentally experimental sciences, and the curricula of these subjects have continuously become more experimental,” says Juha Järvinen, teacher of mathematics, physics and chemistry.

In addition to high school students, the new premises will serve university students who are doing their pedagogical training and teaching practice. Planning and giving lessons is much easier with spacious premises and state-of-the-art laboratory equipment. Previously, experimental teaching in the natural sciences was organised in a room that only accommodated 16 people.

Investments in safety

A regular classroom is situated next to the new laboratory, which allows a smooth combination of theoretical and experimental teaching.

“A teacher may choose to divide larger groups into two. In high school, the groups may sometimes have as many as 30 students,” Järvinen says.

The laboratory also has direct access to a prep room, where the teacher and teacher trainees can prepare the chemicals and test sets they need in lessons.

Draught cupboards have been installed in both the prep room and the laboratory in order to ensure safety, and the workstations feature local extraction equipment.

Kokeellinen opetus
In a physics class, students use metal springs to learn about wave motion.

The popularity of natural sciences is increasing

Natural sciences are becoming more popular at the high school of the Tampere University Teacher Training School. Järvinen believes that using experiments in teaching will make learning even more fascinating.

“Students give us very good feedback on experimental teaching, which makes physics, chemistry and biology much clearer and more interesting to them,” Järvinen says.

According to Headmaster Arja Aalto-Laaksonen, Tampere University offers new opportunities for high school students who are interested in natural sciences.

“When we relocated to the city centre campus three years ago, cooperation between us and the University started to increase. Now that the new Tampere University has started operations, our students have excellent opportunities to get familiar with university studies,” Aalto-Laaksonen says.

For example, high school students have been able to do laboratory work at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology and they may take university courses.

Students also travel in the opposite direction.

“Every year, we have university students in our language classes. If they want to start a new language, and there is no room in the classes organised by the Language Centre, we can teach the students here, too. In addition, we have much cooperation with the University that is not directly related to any specific course,” Aalto-Laaksonen explains.

High school students get to know the University before graduation

Second-year pupil Katariina Koski participated in a course on molecular biology where she learned about medical research. Koski has not yet decided what she wants to do after graduation, but she is interested in mathematics and science subjects.

“The molecular biology class was a great experience because I learned many things that were later taught in our second biology course. It was extremely helpful,” Koski says.

 

Text: Jaakko Kinnunen
Pictures: Jonne Renvall

 

The new laboratory facilities of the Tampere University’s Teacher Training School are open on the opening day 15 May from 15 to 17. The event is open for all.