It has been an unusually wet Spring in SW Victoria and so we have seen some different types of wildlife around the place. This little chick is an Australasian Grebe or Little Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae), that my daughter found in our farm dam. The mother built a floating nest on the pump pipe and laid 3 eggs. She tends to dive a lot when frightened and lets out a loud “tik-tik” call. We have also found a lot of different tadpoles and frogs in a swampy area behind the dam and identified one as a Southern Brown tree frog. I haven’t been able to identify this little fella in the picture below, so if you know what it is, please leave me a comment. I have been uploading some of our nature pics to Flickr, using the #pics4school and #kanawinka tags, if you are interested in more images of flora and fauna from our local area.
On Friday, students from 6/7R walked to the Hawkesdale Common to meet Bruce Mirtschin, member of HADDAC and the Hopkins Moyne Landcare Network. The aim was to create a habitat area suitable for small lizards, using rocks, fallen branches and vegetation. The Hawkesdale Common is 5 acre area opposite Apex Park, with a gravel loop and interpretative signs about the local flora and fauna. This area has been planned by members of the Moyne Shire Youth Council, in conjunction with DSE. If you find and can catch any small skinks at home, take a photograph and bring them in a small container so we can release them at the park. Check the Victorian Museum site, “Bioinformatics” to identify your skinks and lizards. 6/7R students should leave a comment below to tell me what reptiles need to survive and why. For example, why do lizards need rocks?
Today we visited the Penshurst Volcano Discovery Centre to learn about our local volcanic history and the formation of our landscape. After completing a worksheet at the Discovery Centre we went up Mt Rouse to this quarry site, which clearly shows the two eruptions – a scoria layer on the bottom and a basalt lava flow on the top (with soil and vegetation above that layer). We learnt about Maar volcanoes, formed when magma erupts into a water table and massive amounts of steam are produced, blowing material out of the crater. Tower Hill is an example of a Maar volcano. Mt Rouse is a scoria cone, produced when lots of gases shoot material into the air, where it cools and falls into a cone shape. Mt Eccles is a fissure volcano, formed when lava escapes from a split in the earth’s crust.
Year 8 students finished their Earth Science Assessment tasks today. Kirsten’s My Studiyo Rock Quiz and Maddy’s My Studiyo Rocks! are great examples of student-created, online tasks. Georgia produced an excellent video using Photostory that is available at TeacherTube.
After walking down Mt Rouse we had a BBQ lunch and planted about 1,000 trees at Green’s Lane, Hawkesdale. One of my students asked “Why are we planting trees?”
- To reduce erosion – the tree roots hold the soil together
- To provide habitat for insects, birds, reptiles, mammals and other organisms
- To provide shade and shelter for stock
- Trees use carbon dioxide to produce oxygen and store carbon
- Trees add value to farms
- Trees reduce salinity by lowering the water table
- Trees reduce evaporation from the creek and keep the water cooler
- Aesthetic reasons – they look nice!
Please leave a comment below telling me two things you learnt at the Volcano Discovery Centre and what you enjoyed most about the day.
Lake Surprise at Mt Eccles National Park
Hawkesdale is right in the middle of a geologically significant area, recognised by UNESCO as a Global Geopark, for it’s volcanoes, caves, tumuli, sink holes and lava flows. This week you are required to complete two of the following tasks:
- Take a photo of a geologically significant feature near your home – it could be basalt (bluestone), scoria, a rock wall or sandstone building. Upload the photo to Flickr, with the CC license and tag it #kanawinka; #rocks #pics4schools #earth and #geology. See if you can identify whether it is an igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic rock.
- Use CC photos on Flickr to create a Voicethread about the different types of rocks and the rock cycle. or you can add your voice to the one I have uploaded here. Make sure you speak clearly and describe how each of the rock types are formed.
- Imagine you lived in the Kanawinka area 40,000 years ago, when the volcanoes were active. Write a short story (at least 400 words) about what life was like for you – your family, food, shelter and activities – when one of our volcanoes erupted (Mt Eccles, Tower Hill or Mt Rouse). Check out the images at the Budj Bim Tours site to see rock huts, fish and eel traps and the wetlands.
- Design a reptile area (20 metres square) for our threatened species of striped legless lizards, corangamite water skinks and other snakes and lizards. What features do they need to survive? Bruce Mirtschin (from Hopkins Moyne Landcare Group and HADDAC) will assist us to construct this area at the Hawkesdale Common, opposite Apex Park. Design interpretative signs about the different reptiles for visitors to the area. You will find more information about the species of lizards that live in Victoria at the Museum Victoria site.
- Create a 60-second science video for the competition that explains clearly a science concept – how igneous rocks are formed, how slow cooling produces larger crystals, the different types of volcanoes, how fossils are formed, what weathering and erosion does to a landscape etc. Videos must be uploaded by November 7th to qualify for the competition (great prizes!).
Year 8 Assessment tasks:
You may choose one of the following tasks:
- Test on Friday 29th October (Revision questions on pages 142 and 143 must be completed)
- Make your own My Studiyo Quiz (at least 15 questions with images) and embed it in your blog.
- Create a Voicethread or Photostory about the types of rocks and rock cycle
- Film an entry for the 60 second science video about types of rocks and the rock cycle; how fossils are formed; tectonic plates and continental drift; how life began on earth or another relevant topic (see me before you start your storyboard).
Screencapture from Kanawinka Student Network
All my Year 7 students need to check their school email accounts for an invitation to join the Kanawinka Student Network. This Ning will be a place for you to connect and collaborate with students from Portland P.S. and Camperdown College as part of our Kanawinka project. We are having two school visits, to Portland (5th June) and Camperdown (10th June) to introduce these students to blogs, wikis and nings and to make some friends. Follow the links on your email message and join the ning, when you have been approved as a member, you can add photos or videos, start discussions and contact other members.