On Tuesday we had a visit from Elke at the CSIRO. Her program was all about Biodiversity – the great variety of living things on earth, how they are classified and why some are threatened with extinction. This image shows one of our students using a dichotomous key to identify Simpson’s characters. Other activities included laser monitoring of landscape temperature, temperature in a carbon-dioxide enhanced atmosphere, pH testing of water, soil texture, soil moisture and microscopic monitoring of species.
In Year 6/7 Science we will be learning about the characteristics of living organisms and the classification of animals. I have used Bubbl.us to create a dichotomous key as an example for students. They will use the same tool to create their own key to identify items of their choice – for example flavours of icecream or drinks, different balls or sporting equipment. Here is an example of a key to identify Fungi.
These children are from the Carteret islands, a few hundred kilometers north east of Papua New Guinea. “The Carteret Islanders are amongst the world’s first ‘environmental refugees’. An entire cultural group is facing relocation due to the impacts of climate change. The islanders have fought for more than twenty years against the rising ocean, building sea walls and planting mangroves. However, storm surges and high tides continue to wash away homes, destroy vegetable gardens, and contaminate fresh water supplies. On November 24, 2005, the Papua New Guinean government authorised the evacuation of the islands, 10 families at a time, to Bougainville. The evacuation started in early 2007 and this could continue up until 2020, depending on how inhabited the islands remain. It has been estimated that by 2015, the Carteret Islands could be largely submerged and entirely uninhabitable. Carteret Islanders are on the frontline of climate change.” You can find out more at: http://www.tulelepeisa.org/
You are invited to the Café Regal (Warrnambool, Victoria) on Sunday December 14th at 3pm for a public forum where Ms Ursula Rakova, spokesperson for the Carterets community, will share the story of her family and their home. Gold coin donation kindly requested.
Similar to my last post, this is another on-line resource for learning how to manage our environment. The CSIRO has developed two interactive eco-challenges for students, under the heading “On Borrowed Time”. You can play the role of a farmer managing a sustainable farm while still making a profit or be a forest ranger balancing the needs of five vulnerable species while preserving the jobs of local people.
There are four inquiry-based teaching and learning units (Adaptations, Forests, Fire and Farming) each with English, Maths and Science activities. David Lindenmayer has based this learning resource on his book titled “On Borrowed Time”.
We have all heard about the tragic state of the Murray/Darling River Catchment and the challenges faced by the government and community to restore it. Can you develop the skills necessary to assist river catchments? This year’s project for National Science Week (August 16th to 23rd) is called “Catchment Detox”, where you are challenged to develop and maintain your own catchment area. It’s an amazing online game where you manage a virtual catchment and try balancing three basic factors: the health of the environment, the economy and population growth.
The game is designed to help Australians better understand and manage the environment we live in. Starts Saturday August 17th at http://www.catchmentdetox.net.au/.