Welcome


My interest in the idea of sharing pedagogical purposes comes directly with the contact I have had with the Project for Enhancing Effective Learning at Monash University in Australia. Now each of these teachers were very active in establishing learning agendas with their classes. The impact they were having was inspiring. Each classroom tool can have a purpose beyond delivering content, and this needs to be shared.
I suppose the purpose of this website is collate, crystalise and open dialogues about how to increase this within classrooms. As the quote from Carl Bereiter illustrates this classroom methodology can empower our students.

Friday, 19 April 2013

The Headlands Project.

I do need to get better at curating student work, I am currently trying to catalogue alot of high quality exemplars. I've just found this one from last years Year 7 Headlands project and had to make a fuss over it. The quality is wonderful.

I'll do my best to organise the drafts.

The Headlands Project Rationale.
Cramlington is a town surrounded by agriculture. How is this managed to produce food and maintain a healthy environment. One method used by farmers is the use of “Conservation headlands”, which are field margins which are not sprayed with feriliser or pesticide. Students undertook an environmental survey, based on invertebrate diversity (using pitfall traps) to measure the environmental impact of these zones. Beneficial insects will identified and used to indicate the economic/ agricultural benefits of such areas.


Students will produce an ecological journal article to compile the findings, sharing this with our collaborators, such as local farmers, University farm managers and National Union of Farmer representatives.
The plan has been dissected here
Below is the work of a Year 7 student. ( 11-12 years old) , I think its beautiful.

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The Headlands Project


Over the past 25 years creatures associated with Agriculture have been in steep decline.

The problem mankind is facing is that as the population of the world explodes not enough food can be produced. So civilians are ploughing more fields which mean habitats for invertebrates and rare animals are being destroyed so the numbers decline. Studies have shown that many 91% of Great Partridges and 70% of Skylarks have been killed through the use of Pesticides and loss of habitat. Pesticides are a chemical that lessens plant harming invertebrates so that the crop isn’t destroyed or eaten. Fertilisers are a chemical that encourages crops to grow taller and richer and produce more. A possible solution to this is Agricultural Headlands. Headlands consist of a hedge, followed by a followed by a 4-6 metre strip. None of this is sprayed by either Pesticides of Fertilisers. The evidence collected by this study will show us if the possible solution is working because there will be more invertebrates in the headlands and more species in the headlands than there will be in the field. Invertebrates are important to Ecology and Food chains because the primary consumers in many chains are some species of invertebrates which shows that the species is prey for many other animals. Invertebrates are important to farming as predator invertebrate species will eat the creatures that devour the farmer’s crop.



The study site is an agricultural field surrounded by 6 metre headland, in East Cramlington (Grid Reference NZ 28055 75991). The study was carried out from the 14th of May to the 21st. The Abiotic Measurements are:

• Soil Ph: 6.5

• Soil Temp: 12.5 degrees

• Air Temp: 12.63333

• Lux: 1061

• Vegetation Height (cm): 57.66667

• Nitrate (mg/l): 10

• Phosphates (mg/l): 8.3333333



How to measure pitfall traps:

The pitfall traps are used to capture insects so that the specimens can be identified to the particular species. They are set on two transects covering the same distance so that patterns can be spotted in Species Richness and Abundance.

1. The contents of the pitfall trap are poured into a jar.

2. The date the substances are collected is written on the jar. So is the trap and transect number.

The Abiotic Factors

The abiotic factors were taken at each pitfall trap to see how the chemical and light levels are at each trap. Abiotic factors are non-living factors so they cannot be controlled, monitored them. The abiotic factors can affect what live where so they have to be monitored in case some invertebrate species take a drop in population.

Measuring Nitrate

1. A sample of soil is collected in a test tube.

2. The soil is then made into a solution by adding distilled water.

3. A nitrate indicator tablet is dropped in.

4. The solution is shook.

5. The distilled water will change colour according to the nitrate concentrations. This is checked against a Nitrate Indicator Chart.



Measuring Phosphate

1. A sample of soil is placed in a test tube.

2. The soil is then made into a solution by adding distilled water.

3. A phosphates indicator tablet is dropped in.

4. The solution is shook.

5. The distilled water will change colour according to the Phosphates concentrations. This is checked against a Phosphates Indicator Chart.



Measuring Air Temperature

1. A thermometer was held 10 centimetres above the ground.

2. When the thermometer stays steady on a temperature, not changing, take the temperature.



Measuring Soil Temperature

1. A thermometer is stuck into the ground.

2. It is left in the ground for one minute.

3. After one minute the temperature is taken and recorded.



Measuring light levels

1. A lux meter is held next to the ground.

2. When it gives a steady reading the temperature is recorded.



Measuring PH levels

1. A small sample of soil is placed in a test tube.

2. Distilled water is poured in.

3. A solution is made by shaking the soil and water.

4. Universal indicator is dropped in through a pipette.

5. When the solution changes colour it is compared to a Universal Indicator chart.

6. The results are recorded.



How the Invertebrates are identified

When identifying invertebrates it is best to use a white tray, because then it is clear and easy to see what is being looked at.

1. An invertebrate is chosen.

2. The identifier observes the shape of the legs, head and abdomen.

3. The identifier looks through an invertebrate book and tries to identify the specimen from its species.

4. The identifier will use many different resources to verify the species. This can include books or the internet.

Graph 1- Average Species Abundance

The pattern of the line on Graph 1, on average shows that the closer you get to the crop the population of the invertebrates decreases. The downwards direction of the line clearly indicates this.

The line strongly shows that Pitfall Number 1 (next to the hedge) collected an average of 15 invertebrates. Pitfall 7, (situated in the crop) averaged 28.4 invertebrates. This is a difference of 13.4 invertebrates.

The average of the Pitfalls in the Headlands (1-6) is 29.66 invertebrates collected but the average of the pitfall in the crop (7) is 28.4. The difference is 1.26 invertebrates. This is a strong difference because there are fewer invertebrates in the crop than there is in the headland. That clearly states that the closer you get to the crop the less abundance the wildlife possess’.

Graph 2 – Average Species Richness


The pattern of the line, on average shows that the closer you get to the crop the variety of the invertebrates decreases. The downwards direction of the line clearly indicates this.

The line strongly shows that Pitfall Number 1 (next to the hedge) collected an average of 7.6 invertebrates. Pitfall 7, (situated in the crop) averaged 5.8 invertebrates. This is a difference of 1.8 invertebrates.

The average of the Pitfalls in the Headlands (1-6) is 6.39 invertebrates collected but the average of the pitfall in the crop (7) is 5.8. The difference is 0.59 invertebrates. This is a strong difference because there are fewer invertebrates in the crop than there is in the headland. That clearly states that the closer you get to the crop the less variety the wildlife possess’.
Abiotic Data Value

Soil Ph 6.5

Soil Temp 12.5 degrees centigrade

Air temp 12.63 degrees centigrade

Lux 1061

Vegetation Height (cm) 57.66 cm

Nitrate (mg/l) 10 mg

Phosphates (mg/l) 8.3 mg



This graph shows the Abiotic factors averaged across the headlands. They are consistent and create a safe environment for wildlife to thrive in.

Overall the results indicate that an Agricultural Headland does help wildlife to survive because the average richness and abundance of the invertebrates caught in the pitfalls in the headland are higher than the average of the pitfall in the field. The headland is beneficial to the wildlife because prey invertebrate species such as Black ants (Lasius Niger) can thrive and breed to improve species numbers. This is also beneficial to predatory birds such as Barn Owls (Tyto Alba) which feed upon the birds that prey on ants, such as Skylarks (Alauda razae) and Great Partridges (Perdix Perdix).

Acknowledgements

We thank the Hartley Farm group and Mr Andrew Crewdson for allowing us to study the site. Without them we could not have carried out this study. So once again, thank you.