Science, Techonology, Aboriginal Culture and Sustainability (S.T.A.C.S) at Oak Park Primary
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN S.T.A.C.S.?
‘Sustainability’ has undergone a name change to S.T.A.C.S. to more accurately reflect the range of curriculum covered. This stands for Science, Technology, Aboriginal Culture and Sustainability. All students who visit S.T.A.C.S. will complete one term focused on each of these areas each year.
In Term 1, 5/6’s are working on learning about Wurundjeri (the local Indigenous people) land, culture and people. They are currently working on a profile of an important/interesting Wurundjeri person. I have included a rubric here to demonstrate what they are researching and working towards.
2021 Term 1 Wurundjeri project rubric
3/4's are completing a ‘Birds In Schools’ unit in conjunction with Birdlife Australia. We are learning to identify birds, conduct bird surveys, provide our data to scientists studying urban birds and creating action plans to create a better environment at school for local native birds. Attached is an example of a bird survey tally and an action plan created by some of our students.
1/2's are working on learning about our gardens and the organic systems and environments that help them become productive. You might have seen our garden beds growing well at the moment. This is the result of compost we have created at school, added to the soil to provide great nutrients for our plants to grow. Look out for our market stalls after assembly on Fridays and you can buy some of our produce at super low prices! Below is a picture of a compost process diagram created by students.
DID YOU KNOW…
All classes from 1-6 are taking part in Sustainability-based jobs each week? From recycling, taking care of landfill bins, food scraps collections, composting, watering gardens, litter pick-ups, monitoring and awarding for rubbish free lunches and energy saving, collections for items that can be recycled but not through our usual council collection bins and looking after our chickens, just about everyone is involved in helping us become a more sustainable place! Perhaps ask your kids about what their class is doing!
RESOURCE SMART SCHOOLS
Resource Smart Schools is a program OPPS is connected with to guide us on becoming a more sustainable operation and reward the improvements we make with star ratings. We are currently a two star school, getting very close to our third star. Over the past two years we have saved almost $20000 by changing our practices relating to sustainability. Our big challenge is ‘Waste’ which has been our only element that has not met the expectations of the Resource Smart Schools targets. You can help by providing ‘rubbish free lunches’ for your kids.
We were recently advised that we have been successful in gaining funding for a large solar photovoltaic system to go on the gym roof. This should provide all the power the school needs during daylight hours for a good majority of the year, so is a major money saver and a massive step in reducing our environmental impact. Installation is due to begin later this year.
Term 3 - 2021 - Endangered Animals
After our unit last term on Endangered Animals, I wanted to celebrate some of the great work that was completed by students, either on bringing attention to the Tasmanian devil (our student-elected focus animal) or international animals that are in danger of becoming extinct. Please check out the page attached to your child's class to see if their work is there (some I was unable to upload due to file type issues etc. so apologies if your child's completed work is not available online). You are invited to leave a "like" for those that impress you and of course encouraged to read and find out more about the Tasmanian devil and its plight, as well as the range of animals around the world that are facing the possibility of extinction. I think you will agree that the work samples up here are pretty impressive and showcase the effort students have made to complete their tasks to a high standard.
Grades had different foci for their work, some being about raising awareness, some being about changing attitudes to the animal, some about changing behaviours etc. Other students engaged in planning a fundraising event (which unfortunately has not been able to take place yet due to remote learning - you will hear more about this once we return to school).
This is a safe space where no communication is able to occur and no student is identified by anything other than their first name.
Tasmanian devil: https://padlet.com/hughes_john_v/2kbiugd0p86iimb0
International endangered animals: https://padlet.com/hughes_john_v/suck8kwu2pb4vfca
Welcome to S.T.A.C.S
Hello to all new and returning families! Here’s a quick rundown of recent happenings in relation to our Sustainability program and upcoming events:
Earth Hour 2021
A quick note to bring to your attention a couple of environmentally-based events and holiday activities. Firstly, this Saturday is Earth Hour. Earth Hour is a global event where the community is encouraged to acknowledge the impacts of climate change by switching off non-essential electrical devices for an hour. You may wish to take part if you have an interest in this type of thing. Here is some information from some of their email communications:
For #EarthHour2021, Australians everywhere will be encouraged to make the switch for nature by switching off their lights at 8.30 pm on Saturday 27 March.
But it's not JUST about switching off your lights; there are heaps of big and little actions you can take to benefit nature:
Register yourself by going to the Earth Hour website. Every individual that registers goes in the running to win a Fonz Moto electric scooter! Pretty cool, hey!
In 2020, 1 in 3 Australians took part in Earth Hour. Let’s try beat that this year!
On another note, if you are looking for holiday activities, Bush Heritage Australia have produced some interesting activity packs that are available online. These combine a number of curriculum areas in some interesting tasks. Here is some info from their website:
Do the little ones in your life love to explore? Are they excited by science? Do they like animals?
We want to help inspire and engage the next generation of conservationists by showcasing the uniquely wonderful species and natural wonders that Australia has to offer.
That’s why we’ve created a free, digital downloadable activity program called Bush Buddies, aimed at primary school aged children, delivered direct to your inbox before each school holidays.
Create an origami parrot, learn about the ins-and-outs of Tassie Devils, or make some campfire damper - little bits of fun you can share with the little puggles in your life.
Sign up before April 2 and you’ll go in the draw to win 1 of 10 activity packs including a copy of Busy Beaks by Sarah Allen and a Herb Patch Kit to help further inspire the wide world of nature.
There’s already three previous activity packs to explore and enjoy - check them out!
There are two important Sustainability-based events coming up in Term 1. These are Clean Up Australia Day on Friday 28th February and Earth Hour on Friday 27th March. Students and staff will be involved in events recognising the important messages of these days.
In Term 2 we will be hosting the regional Resource Smart Schools event. This will give us the chance to show off the many great things we do at the school in relation to Sustainability.
We will soon be installing bird, bat and possum boxes as part of our biodiversity action plan, as well as making improvements to our frog pond area. Bird baths are also being installed as part of the action plan related to our Bird In Schools work of 2019.
SUSTAINABILITY – WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
Sustainability is about maintaining what we have on Earth, in terms of natural resources, biodiversity (animal and plant life) and environments. In simple terms, these are the general goals of the program:
To keep awareness going throughout the school, throughout the year, we observe in take part in special events to coincide with the following events:
The graduating class plant a ‘legacy planting’ each year, that leaves a lasting reminder of their attendance. On top of this, students monitor the school in terms of energy use, rubbish free lunches and composting and provide awards each week to high achieving classes. These are announced at assembly. We also have grades looking after our chickens and watering our vegetable gardens. At lunchtimes, students are regularly able to spend time with the chickens, work in the gardens and sample produce. We also have a market stall most Fridays where we sell produce from our garden, including eggs from the chickens.
Sustainability covers many aspects of the curriculum, with strong emphasis on Science, Civics and Citizenship and Ethical Capabilities.
Term 4 - 2020
As you would know, we have broadened the Sustainability experience to include many more elements this year including Science (a big part of Sustainability anyway!), Technology and Indigenous Culture. Here is a brief rundown of what students will be experiencing in Term 4, 2020.
Students are looking at classifying materials and items. They will look at the features of these and determine how their differences and similarities allow them to be organised into groups. This will lead into an investigation of how scientists classify animals and we will look at classifying vertebrates and invertebrates, and then the five main classes of vertebrates (reptiles, birds, fish, mammals and amphibians).
The 1/2's will be heavily involved in organising our vegetable gardens and preparing them for plantings. Later, they will investigate Edison robots and how these can be programmed using bar codes and possibly simple coding apps.
The 3/4’s are focusing on re-using. We will look at what this means, and why it sits in between ‘Reduce’ and ‘Recycle’ in the waste hierarchy. Students will use common household packaging products such as milk cartons and cardboard tubes to make useful products and see the value of making the most of resources used to construct these products, as well as reducing our landfill.
The 5/6’s are also using the Edison robots, beginning with learning their features and using bar codes for simple movements, then moving on to coding apps to program the robots for more complex instructions.
We will also observe National Recycling Week and National Water Week during Term 4, so there is plenty of interesting learning to be had!
Term 2 - 2020
In Sustainability, the 3/4 students have been looking at Aboriginal culture, specifically, the way Aboriginal people have managed the land. We have been researching the seasons as identified by the local Wurundjeri people. Students were asked to research how the Wurundjeri people identify the seasons, based on what is going on in nature. This was a fantastic example of the work we did. Maya not only captured all the right information, but added some great pictures to help illustrate the seasons. This was a marvellous piece of work and I thought I would share it with the community to show exactly what our students are capable of. Well done Maya!
Please click here to see Maya's work.
Remote Learning Term 3 2020
Please find attached PDF document with all the activities for remote learning for Term 3.
Remote Learning Projects
During the remote learning period in Term 3, I was lucky to work with students from the grade 4-6 area on some special “Passion projects” where they were able to set some direction and with guidance and feedback created their own assignment related to a topic of interest to them. This provided them with some extra stimulation during remote learning and provided the opportunity to work collaboratively in a time where this was not possible on a face-to-face basis. Some of the projects from grade 5’s; Ruby, Kyle, Ethan, Yuan, Tahlia and Piya and grade 6; James, are included here – some very interesting reading and I think you would agree that they’ve done a marvellous job making their projects informative, accessible and well-presented.
Here are the projects:
A Greyhound's Life
Mountain Biking Research
Sydney Opera House Passion Project
One of the challenge activities during remote learning for Foundation-2 was to use adjectives and colours to create a new species of frog and draw what it would look like based on its description. Leo’s work was outstanding – so many different frogs with some super adjectives used. I thought I’d share it with you all. Good on you Leo!
For anyone interested in frogs, we are heading towards the time of the year you are most likely to hear them call. At the Moonee Ponds Creek there have been several frog species identified; including the endangered Growling Grass Frog. If you are interested, install the Frog Census app on your phone or iPad and this gives you the chance to learn about local frogs, identify frogs by their appearance and call, and record and report frog sightings/hearings for analysis by scientists. The idea is to track the presence of frogs in Melbourne’s waterways, as frogs are particularly sensitive to environmental pollution and are therefore a good measure of how healthy or polluted a waterway is. Might give you something to do over the holidays!