Whether it has been playing the part of a local animal or a plant being eaten in a food web, discovering more about the local custodians of the Merri Creek catchment, or getting wet testing water, Brunswick North Primary School Grade 3/4 students (photo left) have been actively involved in learning more about their local Merri Creek this year. Teacher Emma Beale, along with other 3/4 Teachers, have worked successfully with Merri Creek Management Committee to link curriculum requirements with citizen science. Learning about local places uses a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) approach.
The students measured and compared turbidity (muddiness of the water) in Merri Creek and Yarra River, then considered Wurundjeri Country using mapping, maths, sketching, language development, scientific observations, data collection, numeracy, technical equipment, writing skills and more! [see examples of student work below]. When students learn new language to describe their environment (eco-literacy) they begin to understand the complexity of human interactions with nearby nature, and this builds pride in local places and adds to personal and community senses of identity.
Student Feedback that Demonstrates Consolidation of Understanding
“Water turbidity is how polluted water is. We measure turbidity with tubes and conduct tests. The bottom of the tube showed when you needed to stop pouring in water. It could be very polluted or not at all polluted.”
“Monitoring water is important because we can learn how to stop pollution, like Julia taught us. It is crucial that we stop water pollution and save all animals in our sea.”
“We made a list about animals that came to Australia. Dogs! Cats! Pigs! Horse!”