Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students communicate their MangroveWatch findings based on primary and secondary evidence. Their interpretation of data and critical evaluation of the evidence-gathering process is used to formulate conclusions and suggestions for ecological actions to conserve mangroves and salt marshes. Students work through a scaffold for creating a scientific report for a specific purpose to complete this sixth and final lesson.

This lesson is the final part of a six-lesson unit of work. This unit can be used in sequence to guide your students through conducting fieldwork 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 create a scientific report to communicate their understanding of the causes and effects of variables influencing the ecological stability and conservation of mangroves and salt marsh.
  • Students understand how natural selection gives rise to adaptations by species to changing environmental conditions.

21st century skills:

Creative ThinkingCritical Thinking

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)
  • Critically analyse the validity of information in primary and secondary sources and evaluate the approaches used to solve problems (ACSIS172)
  • Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (ACSIS174)

Year 10 Science

  • Global systems, including the carbon cycle, rely on interactions involving the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere (ACSSU189)
  • Critically analyse the validity of information in primary and secondary sources and evaluate the approaches used to solve problems (ACSIS206)
  • Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (ACSIS208)

Year 11 and 12 Science – Biology

  • 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)
  • Select, construct and use appropriate representations, including classification keys, food webs and biomass pyramids, to communicate conceptual understanding, solve problems and make predictions (ACSBL006)
  • Communicate to specific audiences and for specific purposes using appropriate language, nomenclature, genres and modes, including scientific reports (ACSBL007)

Syllabus outcomes: SC5-14LW, SC5-7WS, SC5-8WS, SC5-9WS, SC5-12ES.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Literacy.

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 analyse trends in data, identify relationships between variables and reveal inconsistencies in results. They analyse their methods and the quality of their data, and explain specific actions to improve the quality of their evidence. They evaluate methods and explanations from a scientific perspective and use appropriate language and representations when communicating their findings and ideas to specific audiences.

Relevant parts of Year 10 Science achievement standards: Students describe and analyse interactions and cycles within and between Earth’s spheres. When analysing data, selecting evidence and developing and justifying conclusions, they identify alternative explanations for findings and explain any sources of uncertainty. They construct evidence-based arguments and select appropriate representations and text types to communicate science ideas for specific purposes.

Year 11 and 12 Science students:

  • 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: 180 minutes.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – the worksheets are scaffolded to guide students. This approach frees the teacher to support students through the problem solving process and the communication of a scientific report.

Resources required: 

Keywords: Natural selection, adaptations, ecological stability, causes and effects, coastal squeeze, abiotic, biotic, variables, biodiversity.

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 create a scientific report to communicate their understanding of the causes and effects of variables influencing the ecological stability and conservation of mangroves and salt marsh.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … use a visual aid in the form of a cause and effect diagram to analyse threatening processes to the ecological stability of mangrove ecosystems.
  • ... describe adaptations of mangrove and salt marsh species
  • ... make informed predictions about the influence of coastal squeeze
  • ... applies knowledge to suggest conservation management and/or further research
  • ... presents a logical, and accurate scientific report
  • ... effective use of digital, visual, written and oral communication

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 t

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: What do you want people to know about the tidal wetland you surveyed?

Part A. Problem Solving - Natural Selection

Background information: The theory of natural selection by evolution explains the appearance of new species or speciation as: better adapted species become more common and then pass on their genetic characteristics to succeeding generations, while less adapted species become less common and may eventually perish. The consequences of this process over a long period of time is the variety of life (biodiversity).

Research the meaning of 'coastal squeeze' and explain whether mangrove trees and salt marsh plant species will be able to adapt to 'coastal squeeze'.

Part B. Problem Solving - Ecological Stability of Mangroves

Background Information: Ecologists measure and record species diversity to determine the variety of species and how evenly distributed species are. Diverse communities contain individuals with traits that enable them to adapt to changes i

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