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Stage 4 Program - Rock Platform Ecology Field Trip

Narrabeen or Long Reef Aquatic Reserves

Student outcomes

The students will learn to:

  • SC4-5WS Collaboratively or individually produce a plan to investigate a question, before their field trip.
  • SC4-14LW Relate the structure and function of living things to their classification, survival and reproduction.
  • LW1a, b & e Classify a variety of living things based on their structural features & use a simple key.
  • LW1f Explain how the features of marine animals are adaptations for survival in their environment.
  • LW5d Predict how human activities can affect interactions in marine ecosystems. (ACSSU112)

Pre – Field trip enquiry based investigation planning

Using the CEC prepared page students will choose two common intertidal snails and develop a plan to examine their habitat, feeding behaviour or abundance in a safe intertidal area. It is preferable to do this in their small groups the period before their field trip, but it can be done individually for homework.

Master student worksheets and all field equipment are also provided.

Sample program

Suggested times are for a mid-day low tide.

Arrive and meet CEC Educators who will give a brief site induction and introduction on today’s field trip.

Walk to Aquatic Reserve, discuss safety, human impact and current management. Students identify intertidal organisms and their habitats as they walk on the intertidal area just before low tide. They kneel down and observe the algae and animals in a rock pool to discover how they might feed and grow and label them.

Working in small groups, students will begin their planned field trip investigation. CEC field equipment will be demonstrated and students will rewrite their group aim and their four procedural steps if necessary.
CEC Educators and supervising teachers will assist groups and ensure they all stay in a safe area. After collecting their first hand data, students will have access to detailed information on the biology of specific local
animals. If time, groups report on their findings and suggest techniques to improve their field investigation.

Students relate the structural features of a range of marine specimens and live animals to their classification. In another area, they gently examine and handle a seastar and observe other animals to discover they are well
adapted this difficult environment.

All groups carefully leave rock platform and return to the nearby amenities for a lunch break.

Depending on your bus requirements groups can depart or undertake another coastal dune study.


Please note: Please book early for low tides, there are only ~ 10 ideal dates available each year. Please check our calendar for availability 

This is an enjoyable and productive program. Groups of more than 90 will be split into 2 or 3 Long Reef and 2 or 3 Narrabeen groups so as to avoid congestion at each site. We can fit in with your bus times and will provide bus directions after confirmation.

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