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Teaching Ideas
“Exploring Sawfish” - Ideas for Science and Technology

Ocean Care

Activities linked to grade levels 6 - 8

Context
The ocean is under pressure and everything we do on the ocean, along the shore and even on the land, affects this diverse and fragile ecosystem. The plant and animal communities in the ocean need to be protected. Did you know:

• Pollution levels have increased, and show little sign of abatement.
• Fish stocks have declined on some parts of the ocean.
• High percentages of wetlands have been lost from the major river catchments feeding the ocean.
• Nutrients in river discharges, such as phosphate and nitrogen have increased significantly

As a result, the ocean is now under pressure – from fishing, farming, coastal development, land-based pollution, and simply from overuse. Some significant species are having difficulty adapting to these changing conditions and have now become rare or threatened. These trends are worrying indications of what may happen to other species and habitats in the ocean.

Task
Design and produce a plan that could be used to help solve a problem that is occurring in local oceans. This plan should be able to be presented to the Minister for Environment.

Requirements
Work in small groups.
Each student needs to keep notes on what the group is doing.

Investigate
Make a list of pressures on the ocean.
Select an issue that interests your group and research it.

Devise Solutions
Discuss ideas to solve the problem with your group.
Develop a detailed plan, which should include more than one strategy.

Produce
Use a computer to present your plan in the best possible way.

Evaluate
In a 5-minute presentation to the class, use all of your group members to “sell” your idea.

Litter Traps

Activities linked to grade levels 6 - 8

Context
There are problems with litter traps covering the stormwater drains that feed some waterways entering the ocean. At times of high water flow, litter is washed over the traps or pushed through them. Soil is also entering the waterways, silting them up. A number of additional litter traps are planned for the metropolitan area but their design needs to be improved to fix the problem.

Task
Design a system for filtering the water entering the waterways that will reduce pollution and silting problems.

Requirements
Work in groups of 4-5 students.

Investigate
Study a natural wetland. How is the water filtered? Does the water enter the wetland from one, two or many points? Does the water enter at high velocity? How deep is it? What are the bank characteristics?

Devise Solutions
In your group, discuss ideas. Devise a human-made system based on the natural wetland filtering system.
Your group is tendering for a ‘best practice water and litter management solution’ in the area feeding into the ocean. Devise a strategy to achieve this goal.

Produce
On an A3 sheet of card, produce your plan and strategy. Include diagrams and notes.

Evaluate
Present your system to others and seek feedback on your submission.

What a lot of rubbish

Activities linked to grade levels 6 - 8

Context
Are we managing the waste which our schools produce each day in a sensible way? For most schools, the answer is ‘probably not.’ In many school playgrounds there’s a lot of rubbish on the ground. It may end up in our rivers, the ocean. Much of the waste could have been avoided by not producing it in the first place. In addition, much ‘unavoidable waste’ can be reused or recycled in some way. Consider what could be done with waste food scraps, paper, cardboard, plastics, cans and liquids.

Task
Design a system to manage our waste more productively and in a way more friendly to the ocean and its environment.

Requirements
Take account of the school’s resources and especially the good things already happening to manage waste more effectively, such as recycling bins. Consider what additional activities might be undertaken.

Investigate

• What waste is produced?
• (Note: It may help to divide the waste into categories such as organic or green wastes that can be composted, plastic, glass, metals and paper that can be reused or recycled, and ‘other’ wastes that might be more difficult to dispose of, or require special treatment, such as chemicals from the science lab)
• What waste is continually found in the school grounds as litter?
• Does the Local Council provide any rubbish collection or recycling service?
• What organisations collect rubbish for recycling? Where do they take it? What do they do with it?

Devise Solutions
Design a system for managing all waste from the school. Take into account, for example, food scraps, bin positions, new equipment needed, costs, restrictions on student movement, foods from the canteen, efficient time use, and possible health hazards associated with the program.

Produce
Produce a plan and strategy that aims to implement the system at the start of next year.

Evaluate
Whether the system is operating efficiently and whether changes or modifications might be needed in any parts of the system.



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