CROPPED IMG_3600.png

Year 9 students in have been testing their resourcefulness and knowledge in Science through project-based learning.

Focused on the topic of ecology, students have been visiting Copley Park over the past term to assess the park for negative human impacts, Indigenous relevance, endemic animal and plant life and biological interactions.

Science teachers, Shea Halge and Beth Axford, said the task started three years ago as a way to introduce students to project-based learning.

“We were trying to bring in more of a teacher-guided learning area, rather than teacher-centric,” they said.

“Some of the students love learning this way because it isn’t assessed traditionally like with a test, but you can present your learnings in different ways.

“The focus is on the students guiding their own discoveries. They start off not knowing what they are doing, but then they get the ball rolling.”

Some groups are looking at building gardens on top of the toilets to increase the surface area of vegetation in the park, while others would like to introduce bees and pollinators.

There is a group researching how to convert dog droppings and food scraps at the park to make a compost and another looking at decreasing the number of bricks at the park to improve evaporation and water run-off.

“There is a push this year on students trying to find evidence for their claims, collecting data and conducting active experiments to back up what they are saying,” Ms Halge and Ms Axford said.

“Instead of just making observations or looking it up on the internet, it’s first-hand data collection.”

Biologists from the City of Stirling have been working with the students on their ideas, going with them to the park to give their feedback and learning alongside them as the task evolves.

As part of the project, students will prepare a proposal to suggest changes to Copley Park to improve its ecology.

These proposals will be assessed by judges from the City Stirling at a special exhibition on 1 June from 10.55 am, which will display each of the groups’ findings and will be open to families to view.