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High School of Dundee Taster Day at Abertay

12 June 2013

Pupils from the High School of Dundee spent a day at the University of Abertay Dundee this week, finding out about the courses on offer.

From designing and developing a phone app, to learning about the psychology of sport, the day was designed to inspire the pupils to think about the career path they might follow once they leave school.

A variety of activities were on offer to give the pupils a hands-on overview of the work going on at the university.

In the Law Division of Abertay's Dundee Business School, the pupils took part in a mock court case, where they got a taste of what life might be like working as a lawyer.

The pupils were provided with the facts of the Donoghue v Stevenson case – also known as the Paisley Snail Case – and split into groups to discuss it.

The facts were that a Mrs Donoghue drank from a bottle of ginger beer served to her in a cafe in Paisley. She fell ill because there was a snail in the bottle, and she sued the manufacturer of the ginger beer - a Mr Stevenson.

The case was the first to establish a duty of care and, therefore, a link between the consumer and the manufacturer.

As it was a civil case, one group argued for the appellant, and the other for the respondent.

Three pupils played the role of the “judges”, and were responsible for listening to the arguments put forward by both sides before delivering their verdict based on what they had heard.

In the School of Social and Health Sciences, the pupils were put through their paces in Abertay’s Sports Performance Lab, where they found out about the different ways in which sport, health and psychology are interlinked.

The pupils were given the opportunity to try out a variety of health and fitness tests, and learnt about the way in which these are used by sport and health professionals.

This included the assessment of their jump-power – a test used on, for example, professional basketball players to see how high, and how quickly, they can get off the ground.

In basketball, jump-power can affect who gets possession of the ball first, so is something athletes work on off the court to give them the edge over their competitors.

The pupils also got to take home a copy of their heartbeat, which was printed out for each of them using the ECG (electrocardiology) monitor.

The ECG measures the functionality of the heart, and is an important tool for monitoring heart – and overall – health.

They also did a walk test which scientists use to find out about the body's endurance capabilities and the health of lung function; this was supplemented by further lung function testing using a spirometer.

The final sports related activity was a bit of putting. This was used to demonstrate how psychologists analyse the body’s visual processing abilities to improve sports performance – one of the latest techniques is known as the “quiet-eye” technique, which has been shown to make golfers more accurate.

In the School of Engineering, Computing and Applied Mathematics (SECAM), the students used a programme called App Inventor to build a version of the classic game "Pong" to play on mobile devices. All of the groups managed to build the game within the allotted hour, and had a lot of fun in the process.

There were also activities in the School of Contemporary Sciences and the Institute of Arts, Media and Computer Games, so the pupils got to try their hand at a whole range of different activities which will hopefully have opened their eyes to the opportunities available to them should they decide to go on to study at university.


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