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Fishy Features

Posted on: May 6, 2014

Group of tropical fishIt’s Term 2 already and we’re ready to deliver our next Professional Learning session! 

This terms session is showcasing the Department of Fisheries activity ‘Fishy Features’. Aimed at Year 5 – 12 teachers (and pre-service teachers), this session focuses on adaptations of fish. Come and learn about the functional, behavioural and structural adaptations that organisms in the marine environment exhibit to survive. We’ll be getting up close and personal with a variety of species of fish to study the differences in their structural adaptations. 

We’ll also talk about how you could use this activity at school and look at some pre- and post- excursion resources. This session includes a range of hands-on and fun learning activities, take-away hard copy resources and a certificate of attendance.

Where: Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories
39 Northside Drive, Hillarys WA 6025

Date:   Thursday 15 May, 2014 (Week 3 Term 2)

Time:   4.00 pm – 5.30 pm
Registration from 3.45 pm

Registrations are essential. To book your place at this PL, please click here.

To find out more about our upcoming Professional Learning sessions, click here.

Australian Curriculum Outcomes: ACSSU043, ACSSU094, ACSSU111, ACSSU150, ACSSU175
 

Plastic Free July

Posted on: June 28, 2013

Happy volunteers cleaning up between Lefthanders and Ellensbrook Photo: Lauren Scanlon

Happy volunteers cleaning up between Lefthanders and Ellensbrook.
Photo: Lauren Scanlon.

In case you haven’t heard, during the month of July there is a campaign to go plastic free. Plastic Free July is a great way to demonstrate with your students our society’s reliance on plastic products, while at the same time highlighting the damaging effects of plastics in our waterways and oceans. Let’s hear the four R’s of Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle during July and beyond!

In readiness, we have given our Marine WATERs Un-Fantastic Plastic lesson plan a polish up by repairing a few dead links. It’s also good timing to promote another great learning resource produced by our good friends at Tangaroa Blue Foundation. They have recently released a brand new Tangaroa Blue Education Kit, examining one of the greatest threats facing the world’s oceans – marine debris.

Using an inquiry-based teaching and learning model, concepts of consumption, pollution and resolution are investigated with students. This develops an understanding that there is an interrelationship between the Earth’s environment and human activities.

Just like Marine WATERs, the materials are aligned with the Australian Curriculum Science learning area. They also go further into the cross-curricular priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture, Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia, and sustainability.

Let’s all contribute to solutions for marine debris and become Clean Marine. Look out for registration details soon for the official 2013 WA Beach Cleanup Event on the 12-13th October and consider Adopting a Spot. If you and your students need some inspiration, why not check out Tangaroa Blues’s new YouTube video here.

clean-marine

The Rainbow Fish Discovers the Deep Sea

Posted on: November 23, 2012

Looking through the layers (jelly) activity.

Looking for something fun yet educational to do with your class in the last few weeks of school? Try our latest lesson plan release, Rainbow Fish: Ocean Zones.

In this lesson plan, you will engage your students in a shared reading of the Marcus Pfister book, Rainbow Fish Discovers the Deep Sea.  After the reading, engage students in a discussion about the organisms encountered in the story and their adaptations to survive the deep sea environment.  You could find other books about the deep sea to discover more about some of those animals.

In Activity 2, Looking through the layers, you will build a jelly model of the ocean with your students.  To build the deep ocean model, you’ll require three varieties of blue/purple jelly, as well as a variety of ‘organisms’ that inhabit the three layers of the ocean – these may include hundreds and thousands of plankton, mini M&M® ostracods, jelly snake squid and Chico deep sea fish.

Alternatively, you might like to try some of our suggestions to make a coral reef, sandy seabed or seagrass jelly model.

Whilst this lesson plan is aimed at K-2 students, I’m sure even the older years will enjoy Activity 2 and can relate it to their learning if you’ve been learning about a particular habitat or adaptations.

Australian Curriculum: ACELA1437, ACELY1646, ACELY1784, ACSSU002, ACELY1656, ACELY1788, ACELA1463, ACELY1666, ACELY1789, ACSSU017, ACSSU211

The shape of fish

Posted on: August 24, 2012

Fish body shape comparison graphic

Fish body shapes give clues to how it moves through the water.

Did you know that the shape of a fish depicts where in the ocean it lives? Some fish are built for speed, others for manoeuvrability and some are built to travel long distances.

Demersal, or bottom-dwelling species, such as flounder and wobbegongs, are generally flat in shape. They do not have to be streamlined as they don’t tend to swim continuously, and being quite flat in shape allows them to stay close to the bottom and close to their food source.

Fish that live around reef areas (e.g. butterfly fish) have deep, flat bodies and are highly agile so they can move around easily.  Long, slender fish (e.g. moray eels) have the ability to hide under rocks and amongst coral.

Slow-moving fish with rounded bodies tend to have spines or armour plating, and many have poisonous flesh (e.g. blowfish) as forms of protection.  Fish with more elongated bodies (e.g. Australian herring) have the ability to swim relatively fast for long periods of time and thus don’t have the need for any special body protection.

The internal anatomy of a fish may also play a role in the fish’s survival.  Pelagic, or open water, fish such as tailor have a small swim bladder.  The swim bladder is an organ that the fish controls the amount of oxygen in, that enables the fish to control its ability to ‘float’ and ‘sink’ in the water column. Demersal species such as Western Australian dhufish have relatively large swim bladders to cope with large changes in pressure.  If you were to conduct a fish dissection with your students (see the Marine WATERs Lesson Plan: Dissect a Fish), the swim bladder, assuming it hasn’t been perforated, will be the air filled sac under the intestine. You can be assured it is quite safe to ‘pop’, in fact it is a bit of an anticlimax – no noise, no smell, no gooey stuff spurting out.

To find out more about fish shapes and how they aid a fish’s survival, check out the Marine WATERs Poster: Fish ‘Fiziks’.

Masters of Adaptation

Posted on: August 17, 2012

Mangrove roots half in water with foreground water and some leaves above.

Mangroves in the Broome region.

Are you studying adaptations with your students?  Have you considered mangroves as a focal point?

About 11,000 kilometres (or over a million hectares) of Australia’s coastline is covered with mangrove forests making them one of Australia’s most geographically widespread ecosystems. This area represents the third largest area of mangroves in the world.  

In Western Australia, mangroves occur naturally in most coastal areas from Shark Bay northwards. There are also small mangrove communities at the Abrolhos Islands, and in the Leschenault Inlet in the state’s south west.

In Activity 1 of the Marine WATERs Lesson Plan: Life in the Mangroves, students will study what mangroves are. You may wish to use our new Fisheries Fact Sheet: Mangroves, the Poster: The Mysteries of Mangroves and Article: Masters of Adaptation to help facilitate your class discussion.   Then, in Activity 3, students will investigate mangroves as a habitat using a story about a barramundi life cycle. Our Poster: Barramundi Life Cycle will help you to explain the different stages of the life cycle as you work through the story – your students will particularly like the part where the barramundi changes sex from male to female!  In Activity 4, students will use the mangrove ecosystem they created in Activity 3 to develop their knowledge of food webs (for more information on food chains and food webs, check out the Marine WATERs Lesson Plans: SEE Food & Marine Connections).

ACSSU072, ACSSU043, ACSSU112, ACSSU176.
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