'Best Practice' in Coastal
Some Aims, Characteristics and Objectives of Best Practice
Windows On Coastal And Marine Studies Lessons
Read through the 'Windows' and then answer the following questions, through discussions with your group:
Window 1The classroom is empty as the students are outside working on a large art mural depicting the local coastal and marine environment. The mural is approximately six metres by four metres and features the beach to the deep sea marine life. All classes in the school from Years 1 - 7 are involved in work on the mural.
Window 2A Year 3 class is collating the data they have collected from a crab survey the previous day. The data is being collated to show the number of crabs, the distribution of crabs and other evidence of crabs. After collating the data and drawing appropriate conclusions the students will prepare posters that show the importance of the crabs in the ecosystem.
Window 3Year 8 students are entering data into the global 'Save the Beaches' programme through the Internet. The class surveyed an area of their local beach to sample pollution and analyse human impacts on the area as part of an Adopt-a-Beach scheme.
Window 4The class is away on camp. Year 3 and 4 students are at a coastal camp site and are involved in a number of activities in an environment that many have not seen before. Some children have spent the afternoon looking for life in rock pools. Another group has been involved in a litter survey on the beach. This group is now classifying the litter and discussing where it might come from and the effect it has on coastal and marine organisms.
Window 5In this classroom the students are reading a Fisheries Department booklet on commercial fishing. Their teacher has asked them to make a list of fishing methods used by commercial fishers and to list the species of fish caught for commercial consumption. One group of students is fascinated by a picture of the range of fish caught by a trawler. They notice sharks and many small fish are included in the catch. They have decided to find out more about the effects of trawling on non-target species and on the marine ecosystem.
Window 6This classroom looks like a Council Chamber. Students are at the end of a four week study of coastal management. They are presenting their findings on a proposed local marina development in the form of a local council meeting. Students have worked in groups to research the opinions of various interest groups in their community about the proposed marina. They are now involved in a role play of the process by which the local council will decide on the issue. Councillor Alistair, the 'real' mayor has agreed to chair the simulated council meeting.
Windows on Coastal and Marine Studies Programmes
Read through the 'windows' and then answer the following questions, through discussions with your group:
Programme 1: Caring for the CoastSchool: Kingscote Area School
Duration: 2 weeks.
Grades of Students Involved: The whole primary school is involved from Reception to Year 7.
Number of Students Involved: 350 students
Curriculum Area of Programme: This programme is implemented through
Studies of Society and Environment and incorporates Aboriginal Studies
as part of its focus.
What is this programme about? All primary school students attend an extensive excursion that requires the students to interact with their local estuary salt marsh habitat at Cygnet River, a 20 minute walk from the school. All levels of students attend the excursion on different days and then participate in follow up activities at the school. Activities done on the excursion encompass a number of curriculum areas including poetry, sketching and scientific investigation. All activities require the students to use each of their senses, and at times particular senses are highlighted such as in a guided blind-folded walk along a rope.
Eventually, more coastal and marine issues are integrated into the students'
secondary studies at this school through the geography course which incorporates
units of work relating to coastal and marine issues. Again students participate
in another excursion on Kangaroo Island that examines the physical elements
and human impacts.
What are the general aims of the programme? By visiting the Cygnet
River Estuary the students are able to heighten their awareness of the
coastal areas of Kangaroo Island and look at conservation issues. The
students are shown aspects of the area, the importance of the area is
highlighted and reasons explored for looking after it.
What types of activities are involved in the programme? The excursion
requires the students to participate in bird watching, micro-species investigation,
sketching, documenting animal and plant species adaptations, and discussions
on environmental protection issues. The students' use of their senses
was also included in the day's activities.
What do you believe is the most valuable aspect of the programme and why? Getting the students involved in their own environment allows them to connect and develop an association with it, which will promote a sense of responsibility which may lead to the students having a role to play with its protection in the future.
Programme 2: Marine StudiesSchool: Star of the Sea School
Duration: This is an ongoing process that varies throughout each year level.
Grades of Students Involved: Students from Reception up to Year 7 are involved.
Number of Students Involved: 400 students
This school is also on the eve of setting up a Marine Discovery Centre with computers, models, hands-on activities, aquarium, nature trails, modern equipment and experiments. This will be initially set up in an existing classroom and then transferred to a house adjacent to the school.
Programme 3: 'Tailor Sampling' and Gifted and Talented ProgrammeSchool: Carnarvon Senior High School
Duration: This is an ongoing programme.
Grades of Students Involved: Mainly Years 11 and 12
Number of Students Involved: Presently 40 students are involved.
Eventually all students will be involved.
Curriculum Area: This programme is implemented in the science curriculum.
All students involved in this programme participate in fish sampling procedures. There are four sites where data and fish samples are collected within the Carnvaron District. At these sites students are responsible for collecting data of the physical environment as well as identifying a range of variables at each of the locations. Students work in groups of 3-4 and are assigned particular fish species to monitor. This information is recorded on data sheets at the sites.
This is done over three days every month at each of the sites. On average
25 senior students and two teachers or 15 'Gifted and Talented'
students and one teacher assist in this data collection.
Fish and algae samples are collected using a seine net. If the catch
is small the length and weight of the fish species is measured at the
site and recorded on a separate biological data sheet. Usually the fish
sampled are too numerous and need to be returned to the school, vacuum
frozen, labelled and stored in a freezer until more time becomes available
to measure and weigh each species during class time.
When class time is available the students defrost their assigned fish
species and record the length and weight of each fish. The fish species
need to be identified using dichotomous keys. Any unknown specimens are
identified by the Curator of Fisheries at the Western Australian Museum.
When all sites are finished, the students enter their findings into a
computer using Excel spread sheets and graphically represent each site's
data. The information is saved on each student's disc for the full year.
These discs are all gathered and kept together at school with the original
What are the general aims of the programme? These programmes
encourage students to participate in scientific research directly related
to their community. Student awareness of fish species and marine ecosystems
of their region is increased through their participation in the data collection
and research. Other skills such as team work, communication and the students
technical abilities improve throughout the programme.
What types of activities are involved in the programme? Activities included in this programme involve compilations of environmental data and survey methods such as water temperature readings, turbidity readings, depth measurements, salinity readings and river width readings.
The programme also includes collecting, bagging and labelling the data,
such as lengths and weights of sample fish. Cleaning the equipment is
also an essential part of the programme.
The last stage of this programme involves entering the research information
into the schools' computers. Providing a graphic representation of the
information assists the students in the analysing process. The gathered
information is regularly presented in a report format. Later the raw data
as well as the students' reports are sent to the fisheries department
What do you believe is the most valuable aspect of the programme and why? Hands-on experience with the local coastal and marine environment on a regular basis is an important component of the programme. This experience is enhanced by the range of skills the participating students develop during the classroom activities.
The students' self-esteem is improved if they are contributing to an
important study of their local environment. This programme encourages
responsibility towards their local community and their surrounding environment.
What resources do you believe are important to your programme?
Access to the ocean is one of the most important factors of this programme.
Support from administration and other staff members provides the flexibility
needed to develop an adequate timetable structure and use of computer
rooms. Another imperative for the success of the programme was the real
need for it to exist. The Fisheries Department had gaps in its information
about Tailor Fish in the Carnarvon waters. As this district supports a
large recreational fishing contingent, there was a need to supply the
Fisheries Department with the relevant information about the fish species
of the area. As a result the students could be made aware of the significance
of the research and its impact on the community.
The reference materials gathered from people doing similar research in regions were a valuable resource. Similarly the written material from the Fisheries Department, such as the data sheets and fish identification dichotomous keys, were important to the programme. The contribution made by the staff at the Western Australian Museum, in the classification and identification of fish species is also a valuable part of the programme.