Shallow Lagoon - Deep Learning

Monday 5th March 2018

Tomahawk Lagoon is providing our Yr 12 International Baccalaureate Diploma students excellent opportunities for contextual learning in the sciences.

Site 2:  Students prepare equipment for water testing
Site 2:  Students prepare equipment for water testing

This long-term monitoring project is providing an excellent opportunity for our Yr 12 IB students to not only meet some of their service requirements but more importantly, to apply their classroom learning in a real life context.   (For students and parents who are interested in hearing more about the IB Diploma programme, an information evening will be held early next term. )

The intent of this project is to provide an overall picture of the health and bio-diversity of the lagoon through regular monitoring and measuring of key physical, chemical, and biological variables.  Analysing the trends to understand the mechanisms that make this lake 'tick' and reporting this back to the local community is central.  McGlashan is one of several schools currently involved in this project.

A training day earlier this year involved over 30 students and staff who demonstrated and practiced skills in the sampling and measuring techniques required.  One group utilised the university chemistry labs to analyse the nitrate and phosphate concentrations whilst biology students sampled, processed, incubated, and analysed concentrations of E.coli bacteria.  The remaining students took readings of temperature, pH, turbidity, salinity, and dissolved oxygen that comprises part of a longitudinal database.  

A followup "Data day" was held where students were required to use the collected data to explore a range of different hypotheses about the mechanisms which drive this lagoon.  These ideas will be consolidated as more data is collected and findings reported back to the community via our facebook page (Tomahawk Lagoon Citizen Science Team), website, and through student presentations at a community meeting held in November.