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Paluma Science Camp

19/03/2014

Wednesday 19 March saw the Year 3-7 students from Osborne State School and Maidavale State School board the bus and travel to Paluma Environmental Education Centre (PEEC) for 3 days of intensive science learning as part of the IMPACT Supporting Small School Science online learning program.  The IMPACT Supporting Small School Science program is an online teaching and learning project which brings together 7 different small schools from across the Burdekin and Ingham districts.  The project, which is spearheaded by Osborne State School, Maidavale State School and the Paluma Environmental Education Centre (PEEC) sees students from the small schools connect online for weekly science lessons using the program called Collaborate.   This project gives teachers and students from small school settings the opportunity to connect and share ideas increasing student engagement with and knowledge of science.  During Term 1, the students have been studying biology and as part of the assessment for this unit of work, the students travelled to Paluma for a 2 night intensive science camp.

Whilst at Paluma, the students had a fantastic time investigating the rainforest and putting their science knowledge into action, conducting a number of investigations.  They conducted an investigation into the best colour for camouflage in open and closed environments where they randomly spread coloured rubber bands and collected them under timed conditions.  Interestingly, the students found that blue was the easiest colour to spot, not the bright pink bands which were their initial prediction.  The students also had the opportunity to collect and examine macro invertebrates from the creek and leaf litter.  When they compared their results with the investigations they had conducted here in the Burdekin, they found many similarities, however the students did note that there was a larger number of samples taken in the Burdekin and this may have affected their results.

Observing rainforest species such as the strangler fig was another activity the students participated in.  They battled clouds of mosquitoes and thick mist on their way to through the forest but still managed to make excellent observations about the strangler fig and its place in the rainforest ecosystem.  The students also spent time identifying plants using dichotomous keys and discussing their impact on the environment and how to reduce it. 

During the excursion, the students had the chance to work cooperatively with both the PEEC staff and students from Maidavale State School.  It was fantastic to see them putting their knowledge into action and working extremely hard in their cooperative learning teams.  The schools and students are looking forward to continuing their science learning in Term 2 when they will be investigating Earth-Space science.