In 2015 we selected the Biodiversity module as a focus as we continued to develop the landscaping of our growing school. This included the creation of a wetlands area after the discovery of frogs in our naturally forming swales in 2014.
As we worked through this module we took opportunities to engage in a number of projects utilising funding and engagement from a range of sources. These included a Languages Partnership Grant to teach sustainability and science curriculum content utilising the Japanese language in a Content Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach; the Activating Science Conservation Grant to engage students at Year Five and Six in local conservation projects with Catholic Education Office Melbourne and Melbourne Zoo; and engaging students at a school level in a Sustainability Action Team.
The Language Partnerships grant supported a joint project between ourselves, St Monica’s Secondary College Epping and St Francis of Assisi Primary school in Mill Park. The project involved the implementation of a highly innovative and creative approach to Japanese language education, linking it with biodiversity and science education. Our LOTE teacher and Learning & Teaching Leader worked collaboratively with Science and LOTE teachers at St Monica’s Epping to plan and implement a learning program that involved students learning about wetland environments in Japanese. That is, the science content was taught through the language of Japanese. Learning experiences included learning about the biodiversity and ecosystems within a wetlands environment, water testing of local wetlands environments, planting of indigenous plants on our school site and the biodiversity audit.
The Activating Science Conservation Project provided our 5/6 students with an opportunity to engage with experts in their fields around issues of local wildlife conservation. Students participated in learning activities about the Growling Grass Frog an endangered species from our local area. They visited Melbourne Zoo and participated in web conferences throughout their investigations. Students named actions that needed to be taken in our school and local area to protect this species.
To continue the actions initiated from these two projects our Sustainability Student Action Team have continued to work with our landscapers to select and plant appropriate plants in our wetlands area that will attract insects and in turn frogs. They have presented their research and actions at a Kids Teaching Kids workshop day at St Peter’s Primary School to share their learnings with other students.