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Kickstart in the Holidays

For HSC biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics students
Kickstart to your studies or get some revision in during the holidays with these interactive online workshops hosted by our expert science communicators.

Want to get some extra HSC exam preparation done in the September holidays?

Then join us for your chosen subject in our Kickstart in the Holidays program on the 23-24 September 2021!

Our experienced science communicators will go through background theory, videos and demonstrations, and engaging questions and activities for you to do with them in real-time.

In this online format, you can type questions to our team as much as you like. Resources and worksheets included.

Below are details on what content is covered for each workshop by subject.

What is in the workshops?

Virtual Kickstart Biology

Workshop 1 - Heredity

Take on the role of a geneticist in this case study of sickle cell anaemia to determine whether a child has inherited the disease. Aligning with Module 5 and inquiry-based learning, students will investigate the genetic cause of sickle cell disease – a single nucleotide polymorphism.

The workshop addresses syllabus points for

  • DNA and polypeptide synthesis
  • Genetic variation
  • Inheritance patterns in a population

You can perform their own experiments such as DNA extraction, model the polymerase chain reaction, discover how restriction enzymes digest DNA and learn about the use of gel electrophoresis as an analytical tool.

Workshop 2 - Genetic Change                                                                                                                                        You will learn about the importance of biotechnology in several aspects of our society including medicine and agriculture. You will be given a scenario where their task is to increase the production of a useful protein using bacteria and plasmids. Design your own plasmid to contain essential genes to make useful proteins at a useful time, and help the bacteria survive.

We will investigate the use of inducers to optimise protein expression, and run through the process of protein purification of a fluorescent protein from genetically modified Escherichia coli (E. coli), and how specialised equipment is used to confirm the quality of the protein.

The virtual workshop incorporates hands-on digital modelling activities, video demonstrations of techniques and equipment used in biotechnology and interactive questioning.

The workshop addresses the HSC Biology syllabus:

  • Module 6: Genetic Change, Biotechnology and Genetic Technologies
  • Module 8: Non-infectious Disease and Disorders, and Prevention

Virtual Kickstart Chemistry

Learn the theory, techniques and see demonstrations of NMR, IR, UV-Vis and Mass Spectroscopy, and work through examples of spectra and how to analyse them.

We will conduct qualitative investigations to test for the presence in organic molecules of the following functional groups:

  • carbon–carbon double bonds
  • hydroxyl groups
  • carboxylic acids (ACSCH130)

We will also investigate the processes used to analyse the structure of simple organic compounds addressed in the course, including but not limited to:

  • proton and carbon-13 NMR
  • mass spectroscopy (ACSCH19)
  • infrared spectroscopy (ACSCH130)

Virtual Kickstart Mathematics Extension 1

How are we able to make predictions about the course of a pandemic, and how do we decide what we can do to slow it down? You will develop and explore different mathematical models for the spread of disease, and to learn how to analyse them directly and with the aid of technology.

Through a combination of live and pre-recorded demonstrations, inquiry-based learning, and guided exploration using freely available mathematical software, we will explore the syllabus topics of:

  • exponential functions (MA-E1, ACMMM066, ACMMM158)
  • graphing techniques (MA-F2)
  • differential equations (ME-C3.2, ACMSM130, ACMSM132)

We will also learn how real-world phenomena can be modelled mathematically, and how this can help inform policy makers in making decisions.

Virtual Kickstart Physics

You will cover some of the greatest hits experiments from across the syllabus.

We will follow the scientific process of Predict, Observe, Explain through experimentation, data analysis and simulations. The virtual workshop will incorporate demonstrations, hands-on activities, experiments you can do in your class or at home, digital modelling and interactive questioning.

Experiments will include:

  • Projectile motion (ASCPH101)
  • Electric fields (ACSPH080)
  • Wave and quantum nature of light (ACSPH119) (ACSPH140)
  • Charge of an electron (ACSPH026)
  • Radioactive half-life (ACSPH029)

Program details

Date: as below in the table

For: HSC students to sign-up individually

Schedule: 90-minute online workshops where you sign-up to the subjects you would like.

Thursday 23 September


Workshop subject




Heredity: a case study of sickle cell anaemia



Experiments from Modules 5-8



Spectroscopy Skills and Analysis

Friday 24 September


Workshop subject




Genetic Change


Mathematics Ext 1

Spread of Diseases


$9.90 (inc GST) per student per 90 minute workshop. Please pay by credit card upon registration.


Q: Do I need to be in Year 12 currently to register?

A: No, however please note that these workshops will be taught at a Year 12 HSC level. So, these workshops would be ideal for Year 12 or Year 11 students.

Q: What will I need to attend a workshop?

A: Once you have registered and paid for your workshops by credit card, then you will be sent a Zoom link to join the workshops. You will also be sent worksheets, videos and all the resources you need for on the day (which you may print or use digitally as you wish).

Q: Can I log-in from home?

A: Yes, these workshops will be held over Zoom and so you can log-in from wherever is most convenient. We recommend that you have your own device so that you can type questions during the workshop. You will also have the option of turning your camera and microphone on to better communicate with our science team.

Q: My school is already signed up for a Virtual Kickstart, or has already done one earlier this year. Are these workshops the same content as the ones from class?

A: Yes, these workshops have the same content as the class-booked Virtual Kickstart workshops that your school or teacher may have organised. We recommend asking your teacher if they are already booked in for a Virtual Kickstart so you don’t have to sit our workshop twice!

Q: Will there be another one of these days?

A: Currently this is the only one planned for 2020, but if you would be interested in a different day, please contact or 0421 363 219.