Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson students conduct at least one of three different MangroveWatch fieldwork tasks: long plot assessment, rapid assessment and shoreline video assessment. Teachers can select one or all of these three fieldwork procedures for students undertake.

The fieldwork allows students to work as citizen scientists collecting primary data for MangroveWatch. This primary data is then forwarded to the MangroveWatch Science Hub for analysis. The scientists’ analysis is returned to students and teachers for their interpretation. The problem solving phase requires students to apply their learning to clarify their understanding of the values and threats to mangroves, and communicate their ideas for mangrove conservation.

This lesson is part of a six-lesson unit of work. This unit can be used in sequence to prepare your students to participate in an investigation of mangroves in your local area as part of the MangroveWatch citizen science program.

The lessons in this unit have been developed in partnership with Earthwatch and MangroveWatch. Earthwatch is a global not-for-profit organisation that uses citizen science to empower people to save the natural world, and works with all sectors to create a society that lives in balance with nature. MangroveWatch is a not-for-profit organisation that focuses on the research, education and conservation of mangrove and tidal wetland environments globally.

Learning intention:

  • Students will understand how to collect reliable data on tidal wetlands using one or more of the following methods: Shoreline Video Assessment, Long Plot Assessment, or Rapid Assessment.
  • Students will understand changes in a salt marsh.

21st century skills:

CommunicatingDigital LiteracyInitiativeLeadershipTeam Work

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 9 Science

  • Ecosystems consist of communities of interdependent organisms and abiotic components of the environment; matter and energy flow through these systems (ACSSU176)
  • Plan, select and use appropriate investigation types, including field work and laboratory experimentation, to collect reliable data; assess risk and address ethical issues associated with these methods (ACSIS165)
  • Select and use appropriate equipment, including digital technologies, to collect and record data systematically and accurately (ACSIS166)

Year 10 Science

  • The theory of evolution by natural selection explains the diversity of living things and is supported by a range of scientific evidence (ACSSU185)
  • Plan, select and use appropriate investigation types, including field work and laboratory experimentation, to collect reliable data; assess risk and address ethical issues associated with these methods (ACSIS199)
  • Select and use appropriate equipment, including digital technologies, to collect and record data systematically and accurately (ACSIS200)

Year 11 and 12 Science – Biology

  • Conduct investigations, including using ecosystem surveying techniques, safely, competently and methodically for the collection of valid and reliable data (ACSBL003)
  • Represent data in meaningful and useful ways; organise and analyse data to identify trends, patterns and relationships; qualitatively describe sources of measurement error, and uncertainty and limitations in data; and select, synthesise and use evidence to make and justify conclusions (ACSBL004)
  • Biodiversity includes the diversity of species and ecosystems; measures of biodiversity rely on classification and are used to make comparisons across spatial and temporal scales (ACSBL015)

Syllabus outcomes: SC5-14LW, SC5-5WS, SC5-6WS.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.7.

Relevant parts of Year 9 Science achievement standards: Students analyse how biological systems function and respond to external changes with reference to interdependencies, energy transfers and flows of matter. They design methods that include the control and accurate measurement of variables and systematic collection of data and describe how they considered ethics and safety.

Relevant parts of Year 10 Science achievement standards: Students describe and analyse interactions and cycles within and between Earth’s spheres. They explain how they have considered reliability, safety, fairness and ethical actions in their methods and identify where digital technologies can be used to enhance the quality of data.

Year 11 and 12 Science students:

  • understand that ecosystem diversity and dynamics can be described and compared with reference to biotic and abiotic components and their interactions.
  • use science inquiry skills to design, conduct, evaluate and communicate investigations into biodiversity and flows of matter and energy in a range of ecosystems.

Topic: Biodiversity.

Unit of work: MangroveWatch – Years 9  to 12.

Time required: Up to 5 hours – this will depend on the type and amount of fieldwork you choose to do.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – explicitly model fieldwork methods, assist in collecting resources, and help students in assessments and in recording of data. 

Resources required: 

NOTE: Click here for a list of Environmental Education Centres that have MangroveWatch shoreline video kits.

Keywords: Data collection, monitoring, waypoints, long plots, shoreline video assessment, salt marsh, GPS coordinates, carbon storage, hydrology.

Cool Australia, MangroveWatch and Earthwatch would like to acknowledge the generous contributions of The Protecting Wetlands for the Future Project in the development of these teaching resources. The Protecting Wetlands for the Future Project is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation

Learning intentions: Students will…

  • … understand how to collect reliable data on tidal wetlands using one or more of the following methods; shoreline video assessment, long plot assessment, or rapid assessment.
  • … understand changes in estuaries.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … follow MangroveWatch procedures to ensure reliability as well as the selection and use of appropriate equipment, including digital technologies, to collect and record data systematically and accurately.
  • … conduct fieldwork to collect reliable data.
  • … select and use appropriate fieldwork equipment.
  • … work collaboratively.

Teacher content information: MangroveWatch is a citizen science program hosted by Earthwatch Australia and James Cook University. The MangroveWatch citizen science program provides tools, methods and training to assist students and the wider community help scientists gather data on the extent and health of Australia’s mangroves and salt marshes, know

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