Education and school activities
Schools Engagement Activities (SEA) Program
Engaging students with real scientists!
Using a state-of-the-art marine research facility and the ecologically unique Solitary Islands as a backdrop, Southern Cross University’s National Marine Science Centre offers innovative field and laboratory based activities in the area of science for Primary and Secondary students. Working alongside enthusiastic scientists, students develop their scientific skills through hands-on interactive curriculum-based activities in the areas of Science, Biology, Earth and Environmental Science, Geography, Chemistry, and Marine and Aquaculture technology.
The SEA program is developed by our education staff to assist teachers in meeting the New South Wales Board of Studies/Australian Curriculum Key Learning Area outcomes.
This activity introduces students to the fastest growing primary industry in the nation. Students will investigate the nature and scope of aquaculture and the requirements necessary for the successful culture of various organisms through theoretical and practical investigation.
Lab Study: Biological Research and Sampling Design
The scientific method seeks to explain the events of nature in a reproducible way, and to use these reproductions to make useful predictions. It is done through observation of natural phenomena, and/or through experimentation that tries to simulate natural events under controlled conditions. It provides an objective process to find solutions to problems in a number of scientific and technological fields. In this activity students examine the process of scientific methodology and sampling design through theoretical and practical examples.
Field Study: Coastal Dynamics and Management
Waves, wind and currents shape our beaches every day and is one of the most rapidly changing physical environments on Earth. Many people utilize the coast for a wide array of purposes which has an effect on this environment. In this activity students will investigate the strong links between society and coastal change and gain a better understanding of this environment and what causes it to change its state. Students will gain this understanding through practical and theoretical experience.
Lab Study: Embryonic Development of a Common Sea Urchin
Case study: Tripneustes gratilla
In this activity students examine the process of fertilisation and embryonic development within a common sea urchin Tripneustes gratilla.. Students compare and contrast physical characteristics of male and female reproductive cells of the sea urchin as well as examine the processes involved with their production. Students will differentiate between, and record a number of developmental stages following fertilisation.
Lab Study: Fish Biology
This activity introduces students to the morphology and physiology of fish. Students will gain an understanding of general fish characteristics and anatomy as well an insight into various fish groups (class) through theoretical and practical first hand investigation. The activity aims to make students aware of the complexity of marine organisms and their adaptations.
Field Study: Investigation of Human Impact on a River Ecosystem
Clean fresh water is one of our most valuable resources. It is essential for sustaining aquatic environments and human health. The effect of human activities on the waterways is of paramount importance. In this activity, students will evaluate the health of a river by monitoring various water quality parameters at a number of locations along a river catchment. Students will then be able to analysis and discuss the results to ascertain the health of the river.
Field Study: Mangrove Ecosystems
In this activity students explore the ecology of mangrove ecosystems and gain an appreciation for the diversity of life which they possess. Students will examine the varying characteristics and adaptations that these life forms possess. Students will look at the whole ecosystem level and identify both positive and negative links between the study sites and adjacent ecosystems.
Lab Study: Marine Taxonomy
In this activity students work collaboratively to observe and classify a range of marine organisms and develop simple classification keys by recording physical characteristics of a variety of marine species through illustrated diagrams and live specimens. Students learn to make links between organism structure and function and lifestyle characteristics.
Field Study: Ocean Acidification
In this activity, students will review the carbon cycle, test how an increase in dissolved CO2 can affect the pH of seawater and hypothesize on how this could affect calcium carbonate-based organisms.
Lab Study: Sustainable Recreational Fishing
People have enjoyed catching fish for thousands of years. It is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Australia today. There are hundreds of ways people can capture fish and if done properly fishing is an enjoyable and sustainable activity. Successful fishing combines understanding and knowledge of fish behaviour and fishing methods with an awareness of sustainable fishing practices. In this activity, students learn the various ways in which fish are captured and issues being addressed by the recreational fishery.
Field Study: Rocky Shores Ecosystems
Within this activity students explore the ecology of coastal rocky shore ecosystems and gain an appreciation for the diversity of life on rocky shores. They examine the varying characteristics and adaptations that these life forms posses. Students will identify organisms which inhabit rocky shorelines and categorise them into a number of general ecosystems zones. Students will look at the whole ecosystem level and identify both positive and negative links between the study sites and adjacent ecosystems.
Field Study: Sandy Shores Ecosystems
Within this activity students explore the ecology of coastal sandy shore ecosystems and gain an appreciation for the diversity of life they contain. Students examine the varying characteristics and adaptations that organisms inhabiting coastal sandy ecosystems posses. Students will identify organisms which inhabit sandy shorelines and examine a number of physical environmental factors which influence their distribution and abundance. Students will look at the whole ecosystem level and identify both positive and negative links between the study sites and adjacent ecosystems.
Field Study: Sea Birds of our Coast
Within this activity students examine the ecology of coastal sea and shore birds within their natural habitats and gain an appreciation for the diverse range of species present. Students examine the varying characteristics and adaptations that sea and shore birds possess that enable them to live successfully around water. Students will observe, identify and record a variety of local bird species. Students will look at the whole ecosystem level and identify both positive and negative links between the study sites and adjacent ecosystems.
Lab Study: Subtropical Reef Analysis using CPCe software
In this activity students examine the benthic composition of two subtropical rocky reefs. Students gain an appreciation for the diversity of benthic life forms in these communities and observe the effect of depth on these reefs. Students will employ the same scientific methods and equipment used by underwater researchers, to compare their results gained from the computer analysis program and discuss the factors which help to shape the benthos at different depths.
Field Study: Undersea Explorer
This activity allows students to explorer the undersea world at the National Marine Science Centre’s Aquarium. Students observe a range of marine organisms and the habitats in which they live and also develop an understanding of the complex interactions between organisms. Students also gain an appreciation on the sustainable use of the marine environment. This activity includes a short documentary, a feeding demonstration, and a touch experience of some marine creatures.