This year our staff have scheduled four STEAM days across the year where students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a science theme for an entire day. Last term we welcomed Dr Karl to Rivendell and developed Egg Capsule prototypes lending principles from physics and mathematics. Term Two coincided with World Oceans Day on June 8 which we thought was be the perfect inspiration for our next STEAM Day.
The Ocean Youth program at Sydney SEA LIFE aquariums is an amazing program delivered to adolescents throughout the year. Together with their partners, SEA LIFE Trust ANZ, the program works to develop the capacity of young people through developing their knowledge and work around conservation, sustainability and innovative solutions to some of the big issues. We welcomed Kasey, who heads the program, into Rivendell on Friday to talk to us about ocean science.
Together we worked out that there are numerous influences affecting our oceans today. We have oil spills, over fishing, and global warming for example. One of the biggest issues is plastics, in particular micro plastics. Whilst, as individuals, we can’t eradicate the issue we can do a lot to minimize the amount of plastic we consume. Kasey showed us some examples of plastics that she had encountered whilst diving around Manly SEA LIFE aquarium. Straws and balloons seem to be one of the biggest problems, along with plastic bags.
The whole school discussed how they harm animals. Turtles think plastic bags are jellyfish and eat them, become full, but slowly starve when the bags don’t provide nutritional benefits. Some get stuck in ghost nets (fishing nets that have been discarded but continue to float around). Others eat microplastics thinking they’re krill and like the turtles above, become unwell. Plastics are dreadful in our ocean.
To do our part in reducing plastic output and hopefully keeping it from our oceans, each student and staff member made a pledge. Each pledge was a small promise around what we could do as individuals to protect our ocean. Next stop, working as a whole school to do our bit. Our recycling efforts are about to be ramped up! Watch this space.