Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Ocean Health


This week we looked at the health of our oceans.
Why is the ocean important to us?
What is affecting the ocean?
How can we help look after the ocean?

We specifically looked at coral reefs, as indicators of ocean health. We looked at how global warming and acidification, due to CO2 being absorbed into the water, is damaging the reefs - bleaching and killing the coral.

We tried mixing CO2 and water with an indicator in it (blowing into purple cabbage water). It turned a slight pink which indicates a weak acid. For the scientists - H2O+CO2 = H2CO3 (carbonic acid)
Oceans are thought to absorb almost half the CO2 from the atmosphere, which is produced by burning fossil fuels.

There are some great little videos that help understand these very difficult concepts.

Importantly, we looked at ideas to HELP our oceans - kids came up with ideas like using electric cars (but what about the electricity stations - they cause pollution, someone stated) So then we looked at ideas for clean energy like solar and wind farms. 
Children talked about walking or biking instead of using cars all the time, using less electricity, not dropping rubbish, using less plastic etc

Back in May I shared the recipe for making indicator solution with purple cabbage. It's a fun way to experiment with everyday substances to identify acids and bases. Here it is again...

Purple Cabbage
Hot tap water

Slice some cabbage into a large bowl and cover with hot tap water. Leave for 5-10 mins, then strain and keep liquid. This is your indicator solution (it changes colour to indicate pH) - it will be blue or purple, depending on how long you leave it and the temp of the water etc -it will work regardless of the colour it starts as. 

Now you can pour some of the solution into several glasses or any clear containers. Experiment with adding different substances to find if they are acidic or alkali. Acidic things around the home are generally sour things - vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, citric acid etc. They will turn the solution pink. Alkali things are generally soapy - like washing powder, soap, baking soda - they will turn the solution green or blue tones. Don't forget to keep a 'control' so that you can see what colour the solution started as. Kids will have lots of fun with this. Remind them that mixing some solutions from opposite ends of the pH scale could cause a reaction - eg baking soda and vinegar - but they will want to experiment with changing the colour and trying to neutralise the pH again (getting back to the original colour).

WEEK FOUR - there will not be Quest next week sorry as I am taking the TravelWise Team to a TravelWise Celebration on Wednesday, and two teams to the EPro8 engineering challenge on Thursday (instead of working Tuesday). Year 3-6's can look at their penpal information - watch the video, read information and discuss next week's topic 'A Groundbreaking Crisis' with their penpals. 

WEEK FIVE - we will be looking at people who are helping our planet - starting with the 'Black Mambas' who are working to protect Rhinos. 

SUSTAINABILITY CHALLENGE - Wenderholm Regional Park 31st October. We took 3 teams to participate in this - a fun day full of map reading, team work and problem solving while learning about caring for our environment. There were about 350 students from many schools there - a great day! Here are a few pictures of our day - complete with a couple of the challenge stations - predator recognition, and first aid. 

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