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A visit to the Hyperbaric Chamber at Mater Dei Hospital.

7th March 2014

San Anton Grade 10 (Form 3) Physics students recently had the unique opportunity to visit the Hyperbaric Chamber at Mater Dei Hospital. The visit was planned by the School`s Science Department to complement the students` Physics lessons on pressure.

A Hyperbaric Chamber is generally used to treat divers who develop decompression sickness when they come to surface too quickly. However hyperbaric oxygen therapy is also used to heal wounds and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Accompanied by their teachers, the students were able to participate in a 25 minute ‘dry dive’ in the chamber itself where the principles of Boyle’s Law and other theoretical applications on pressure and temperature were demonstrated.

Before entering the chamber the students received a short talk from the Hyperbaric Chamber resident medic Dr. Stephen Muscat.

For the ‘dry dive’ the chamber was sealed and pressurised (much like an aircraft cabin when flying) but it was subjected to a slightly greater pressure, which was up to 18m. The students took in empty bottles of mineral water and blown up balloons. As the pressure was increased in the chamber, the students could observe the balloons getting smaller and the bottles getting squashed. Once at 18m, it was also noted that their voices changed due to the high density. Also the students were told to blow up another balloon, so that once the dive was over and the pressure started to decrease, the balloon expanded until it eventually burst.

It was also an unforgettable experience for all as those students who could not enter the chamber itself were also able to hear and observe everything from outside the chamber on screen.

This activity truly demonstrated the School`s investigate approach used to enhance student learning and engagement effectively.


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