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Professional Learning in 2014

Posted on: January 3, 2014

Scientific-sandcastlesHappy New Year!  We hope you’re having a good break and are starting to think about new and exciting learning experiences for your class.

We know that many primary school teachers choose themes each term and a popular term 1 theme is the sea. With this in mind, our first Professional Learning session for 2014 is aimed at Kindergarten to Year 6 teachers and to get you inspired, we will be visiting the beach (hats and appropriate footwear are recommended!) 

In this session, we will discuss the Department of Fisheries activity Scientific Sandcastles – the logistics of how we get your class to the beach and what actually takes place in the activity. We’ll also talk about how you could use this activity at school, in the sandpit and look at some pre- and post- excursion resources also.

This session will take place on Thursday 20th February 2014 from 4.00pm – 5.30pm at the Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre – 39 Northside Drive, Hillarys. To book your place at this PL, click here.   

Something else also to keep in mind in term 1 is Seaweek, which runs from 1st – 9th March 2014. Seaweek is the Marine Education Society of Australasia’s major national public awareness campaign. To get you all ready to teach marine education in your classroom, we’re offering to come to your school during February and conduct a free professional learning session with your staff!

(The fine print – A minimum number of 10 participants is required for the Department of Fisheries to come to your school to run a free professional learning session. This offer is currently only open to Perth, WA, metropolitan schools. Session duration is 60 minutes and can be run after school hours. Places are limited and will be offered on a first come, first served basis.)

To express your interest in having a Department of Fisheries Community and Education team member come to your school to run a professional learning session, click here.

Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre Professional Learning

Posted on: October 17, 2013

NMDC-touchpoolIt’s the end of the year and you are probably all looking toward report writing and classroom clean-ups, however you may still have an end of year excursion to attend (or are still trying to plan one).  Come along to our last FREE professional learning session of 2013 to find out about excursions at the Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre (NMDC). 

Aimed at primary teachers (and pre-service teachers), this session will detail how a primary school visit to the NMDC runs.  View all of our teaching spaces, find out where you can have lunch, and how we deal with large groups.  This session is particularly useful for teachers planning to bring large groups of students to find out how our rotations and concurrent activities work.

This session, as always, includes a range of hands-on and fun learning activities, take-away hard copy resources and a certificate of attendance. 

This session takes place on Thursday 31st October at the Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre, 39 Northside Drive, Hillarys, WA.  Registration is from 3.45pm and the session will finish up by 5.30 pm.

Want to come along? Email your intention to attend to carina.gemignani@fish.wa.gov.au.

If you are still trying to plan an end of year excursion, you’ll be thrilled to know that we do still have a few dates available at the NMDC.  Contact the education team on 9203 0112 to make a booking.    

What do you do in a heat wave?

Posted on: December 28, 2012

Goose barnacles

Goose barnacles. Photo by Gilbert Stokman.

We’ve had a few rather warm days this week so no doubt you’ve either been seeking comfort in air conditioning, or hitting the beach. The mornings have been great for getting out on the water and snorkelling (plus they have the added bonus of not being quite so hot, and the UV rating is a little lower). If you’ve stuck your mask in the water recently, or intend to in the coming days/weeks, our latest lesson plan release may assist you with identifying what you observe.

Our latest release is Meet the Cast and is a sequel to the Lesson Plan: Who Lives Where? which looked at the variety of marine habitats in WA. In Meet the Cast, we look at the invertebrate inhabitants of the marine environment. You may also like to check out the Beachcombers Field Guide to assist in your identification of species also. If you have a camera at the beach, or better yet, underwater with you, and come across anything really cool that you’re happy to share with us (and happy for us to use in future resources), email it to us. Don’t forget to log any unusual sightings on the Redmap website also (refer to the 14 December 2012 blog).

If you’re planning your teaching and learning program for term 1 next year, there are a variety of invertebrate posters available for use with the Lesson Plan: Meet the Cast. You can request hard copies of the posters here.

Happy snorkelling, stay cool and remember to always be sunsmart!     

ACSSU044 ACSSU043 ACSSU072 ACSSU111 ACSSU150 ACELY1703 ACELY1702 ACELY1688 ACELY1816 ACELY1804 ACELY1723 ACELY1808 ACELY1733 ACELY1811 ACELY1704 ACELY1796ACELY1792 ACELY1682

Changing Marine Postcodes

Posted on: December 14, 2012

Baldchin groper

Baldchin groper.

As the end of the year approaches many of us are on the move catching up with family and friends and embarking on travels over the summer break.

Spare a thought for our marine species that are potentially changing where they live in search of cooler waters, as seas become warmer with a changing climate.

The Redmap Australia website, also known as the ‘Range Extension Database and Mapping’ project was launched last week and invites potentially thousands of citizen scientists to contribute data that can help reveal whether fish are ‘shifting their range’.

We are seeking the assistance of a fishers and divers to report sightings and upload photos of marine life that aren’t usually found at their local fishing, diving and swimming  spots.

Redmap Australia is interested in reports of any marine life deemed uncommon along your particular stretch of the coast; and not just fish but also turtles, rays, lobsters, corals, seaweeds, urchins and prawns.  Photos are reviewed by a network of marine scientists around the country to verify the species identity and ensure high-quality data. Redmap Australia aims to become a continental-scale monitoring program along Australia’s vast coastline to help track marine range shifts; but also to engage Australians with marine issues using their own data.

Devotees of our lesson plan Acid Test may recall some links to the Redmap website. At the time we compiled the materials relating to ocean acidification, the Redmap project was only running in Tasmania by our enthusiastic colleagues at the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies and University of Tasmania. Fast forward nearly two years and the Department of Fisheries is now the lead institute for Redmap in Western Australia so expect to see some more climate related teacher resources in 2013.

Each Redmap sighting is a piece in a puzzle that over time will reveal to the community, scientists and industry which species or regions may be experiencing greater changes in marine distributions. The sooner Australian fishers, divers and the public help gather this information, the better.  Some seas along the coast of Australia are warming at 3 to 4 times the global average.  Turning up the heat tends to stress marine ecosystems and species, and can impact fish growth, reproduction and behaviour.

Everyone can get involved by becoming a Redmap Australia registered member, signing up for our quarterly newsletter, liking us on Facebook, and importantly logging unusual marine animals at www.redmap.org.au.

Contribution to Redmap is easy as Spot, Log and Map.

Redmap is a large collaborative project led by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania, and involves the University of Newscastle, James Cook University, Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA), Museum Victoria, Department of Fisheries Western Australia, the University of Adelaide and the South East Australia Program (SEAP).  The expansion of Redmap nationally was made possible with generous funding from an Australian Government Inspiring Australia grant, the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). Redmap also receives support from Mures Tasmania and many fishing, diving and community groups around the country.

The nuisance of the ocean

Posted on: November 27, 2012

Common blowfish

The common blowfish is often regarded as a nuisance to fishers, gobbling bait before any other species can get near it.  However, these fish are native to Western Australia (and therefore are not pests) and play an important role in keeping our marine ecosystems clean by eating waste bait and berley.

Common blowfish are found along the lower west coast of WA but also have a northern relative.  The northwest blowfish inhabits northern Australian waters but is also occasionally seen off the lower west coast as far south as Cape Naturaliste. Northwest blowfish are significantly larger than the common blowfish, reaching a maximum of 88 cm in length, compared to the common blowfish at 22 cm.

Both species of blowfish contain a highly lethal toxin so they are not generally targeted by fishers– however they still have a bag limit. Visit the Department of Fisheries website to find out more about bag and size limits in your area. To learn more about other ways we manage recreational fisheries in Western Australia, see the Marine WATERs lesson plan: Fishing for the Future.  

Fishers are reminded not to leave blowfish to die on beaches and jetties as pets have died from eating them.

Want to know more about this species or of the many other species found in Western Australia? See our extensive range of fact sheets.

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

What a Pest!

Posted on: November 19, 2012

Asian paddle crab.

Recently, an Asian paddle crab was captured in the Swan River by a recreational fisherman.  This species is not native to Western Australia however has the potential to establish itself here and become a pest.  It has the potential to spread disease and out-compete native species like the iconic blue swimmer crab.  To find out more about this species, click here.

Did you know… in Western Australian waters, there are 60 known non-native marine species that have become established.  However not all marine species introduced to a new area become pests.  Some are unable to survive the conditions of their new environment, whilst others are unable to reproduce and establish a viable population.

Check out the Marine WATERs Lesson Plan: Pest Control to learn more about marine pests found in Western Australia.  In Activity 1, students will learn the difference between native and introduced species and will investigate the problems associated with introduced species in the marine environment.  You may wish to use the Fisheries Fact Sheet: Introduced Marine Species to learn more about introduced species in the marine environment.

In Activity 4, students will use their knowledge of a specific introduced species to design a wanted poster to inform the community to look out for and report any sightings of the species.  You may wish to discuss the Asian paddle crab example used by the Department of Fisheries with your students to assists them in their design.  If you would like to investigate introduced marine species in more detail with your students, you may request a copy of the Department of Fisheries publication, Introduced Marine Species in Western Australia here.

Once your students are well versed on marine pests, challenge them to complete our Pest Line-Up game.  In each frame, students will be presented with three possible suspects, of which, one is a marine pest.  Using the information provided, students will need to determine which suspect is the pest to move on.         

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