College Biology Students Analyse Shoreline

February 28, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Biology is a discipline which requires a combination of theoretical study, experimentation and practical field work. The field work aspect, in particular, helps to bring the theoretical learning into context and can help immeasurably with our students’ overall understanding of a concept.

This term our senior biology classes have been studying the distribution of organisms in relation to environmental gradients, and how that distribution is both a function of adaptations that the organisms possess and the interactions they might have with other living things. Relationships such as competition and predation greatly effect where organisms might be found and the rocky shoreline is an example of an ecosystem where these principles can be seen in action.

As an island nation, New Zealand has a great many easily accessible coastlines and, although familiar, these shores are a natural habitat for many small, unobtrusive and easily over-looked species. Developing an appreciation for how these species survive under challenging conditions enables students to better understand how precarious and demanding life can be in general.

This week, almost 150 senior biology students have completed an investigation of the rocky shore at North Head in Devonport. Field techniques learned prior to departure were carried out in groups, enabling students to collect the necessary data to analyse how and why species are distributed in identifiable areas in the intertidal zone. This information was then used to form the basis for formal assessments in both the NCEA and IB programmes.

The trip also offered the chance for an exploration of North Head, as a significant geological feature of the Auckland Harbour and as a site of historical interest.

With thanks to Mr Simon Walker, Head of Biology.

EOTC (Education Outside The Classroom) 

Saint Kentigern College has a long history of giving students the opportunity to be challenged in many settings away from College. Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) takes many forms from the traditional Orientation Camps at Year 7&9 and the annual Field Centre in Tongariro National Park for Year 10, to field trips associated with particular curriculum subjects such as geography and biology; organised trips to art galleries or museums for our visual arts students; workshops for performing arts students; university lectures at the Liggins Institute; TedX, Writers and Readers Workshop, theatre visits; service opportunities in many guises; and the opportunity for small groups of students to represent the College at events such as MUNA (Model United Nations Assembly), SHOGM (Student Heads of Government Meeting) and Young Global Enterprise.

In addition there are annual opportunities to travel overseas in a service capacity to Fiji and Vanuatu and occasionally further afield to Europe and the Americas for such trips as uncovering the Classics, exploring the origins of English Literature, revisiting our historical roots in Scotland, engaging in Performing Arts and learning more about new technologies in media and digital technologies.

Each of these opportunities brings learning into context, adding another layer to their classroom studies.

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