STEM Horizons has kicked off another year, starting with the Micro and Macro program for Year 6 scientists. Students extended and enhanced their scientific learning beyond the classroom and engaged in marine science on board Inspiration, with Moreton Bay Environmental Education Centre. We were privileged to be joined by inspiring scientists who presented their research to students and were on hand to assist and answer questions from our young scientists. On Monday students heard from the special guest scientists including Dr James Udy, CEO and founder of Science Under Sail, and PhD candidate Gabriella Scata from Queensland Brain Institute within the University of Queensland. James has previously worked as chief scientist with Healthy Land and Water and now provides scientific advice to the government on waterway issues and the management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Gabriella discussed her research on cephalopods with the students. She is hoping to understand how they communicate and to answer the question: how do squid talk to each other and what makes them the best invertebrate predator on the planet?
On Tuesday young scientists were joined by marine researcher Julian Uribe Palomino from CSIRO and research scientist Sebastian Lopez from the University of Queensland. Julian excited the students with his knowledge of plankton and revealed some of the micro fauna the students might find later in the day. Technology-wizard Sebastian demonstrated how 3D drone technology can be used to study the impacts of coastal alterations on Moreton Bay’s rocky shores and crab populations.
Out on Moreton Bay data was collected on the macro environment through the use of a Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) whilst using a range of scientific tools to measure environmental variables such as anemometers (wind), secchi disc (turbidity) and refractometers (salinity). We spotted some great life under the water, including a shark!
Students then trawled for plankton and identified and analysed their catch under microscopes, which was a definite favourite. The young scientists were excited to discover a baby seahorse within our plankton trawl.
Some of the feedback from our young scientists:
“It was really hands on working which I enjoyed”
“I was always learning, thinking and having fun”
“It was really fun and really hands on. I loved it”
“I really liked using the microscopes”
“I loved learning about plankton and crabs”