Spotted a fin in the water? Maybe it’s the Shark Competition coming your way!!

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 | EMILY HALL | Comments Off on Spotted a fin in the water? Maybe it’s the Shark Competition coming your way!!

sharkSharklab ’14: Why Sharks Matter

What’s happening?

Scientists study many things, from the smallest cell to the farthest galaxies. And somewhere in between is the study of one of our greatest predators – the shark. Many scientists, like marine explorer and Science Festival guest Ryan Johnson, study great white sharks in an effort to understand them better. He also spends a lot of time talking to people and making documentaries about sharks and to teach us how important they are.

We want the next generation of science story tellers: the challenge is to show people why it’s important to learn about sharks, and to tell that story in an exciting and creative new way.

You are in charge, so how you tell the story is up to you.

What’s up for grabs

We’ll get you geared up for more outdoor fun: The winners of each category will take home a brand new GoPro outdoor camera kit valued at $800!

How much time do I have?

The competition runs from April 7th until midnight on June 22nd, 2014.

Now get started!

Fun Friday Films!!

Friday, April 19th, 2013 | EMILY HALL | No Comments

The school holidays are upon us and while you students are busy with work, fun and hopefully some study, I’m sure there’ll be times when you think to yourself “boy, I could sure do with a serving of Science right now!”. Well you are in luck because someone recently suggested one of these 3 minute films to me and I found myself watching more and more of them. And for teachers, I showed a couple to my class yesterday at the end of the period and they really enjoyed it. They are interesting little snippets that can serve as a good starting point for discussion and only 3 minutes long so not a huge investment of time. is the website
This one appealed to the students as it is about a 14 year old boy who makes a breakthrough in cancer testing.
My 10 year old son was particularly fascinated with this one: where they talk about a new way to “pave” the road with solar cells!

Anyway I’ve managed to watch maybe 1/2 dozen of the films on here and haven’t yet found one that I didn’t think was cool on some level.

Another film site that I’ve been sent at least 3 times in the last little while is one by astronaut Chris Hadfield on the ISS.
He has videos on all kinds of things from making a sandwich in space, to sleeping in space, toothbrushing in space to wringing out a washcloth in space!! Again cool Science of everyday objects and good starting point for discussion! I really hate flying but Chris Hadfield makes me want to be an astronaut it looks like the most amazing “job” ever!!

Have a happy safe holiday to all the students and teachers!!

Great resource for Processes and Patterns of Evolution

Thursday, July 19th, 2012 | smida55p | No Comments

This is a one of my favourite websites for simple, clear and valid content for learning about evolutionary processes and patterns from Berkeley:

Heaps of wonderful images, explanations and examples for revision or note-taking.

Was Human Evolution Caused by Climate Change ?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012 | STEPHEN BRONI | No Comments

Neanderthals at the cave site of Trou Al'Wesse in Belgium, clinging on as climate deteriorated. (Credit: Digital painting by James Ives)

Neanderthals at the cave site of Trou Al'Wesse in Belgium, clinging on as climate deteriorated. (Credit: Digital painting by James Ives)

Although an African origin of the modern human species is generally accepted, the evolutionary processes involved in the speciation, geographical spread, and eventual extinction of archaic humans outside of Africa are much debated. An additional complexity has been the recent evidence of limited interbreeding between modern humans and the Neandertals and Denisovans (a newly discovered group from Siberia). Modern human migrations and interactions began during the buildup to the Last Glacial Maximum, starting about 100,000 years ago. By examining the history of other organisms through glacial cycles, valuable models for evolutionary biogeography can be formulated. According to one such model, the adoption of a new refugium by a subgroup of a species may lead to important evolutionary changes.

   “Ultimately, this model explains why Homo sapiens as a species are here and the archaic humans are not.” Dr J.R. Stewart

The research also leads to interesting conclusions as to how and why Neanderthals, and indeed the Denisovans, evolved in the first place.

Check out the full article here

Triple Helix Resources

Friday, September 2nd, 2011 | STEPHEN BRONI | No Comments


is focused on the provision of quality biology and general science teaching materials.
Their aim is to produce resources that will not only help teachers to teach and students to learn but will also encourage a lifelong fascination with science and the living world

Evolutionary Evidence from New Zealand

Thursday, May 26th, 2011 | STEPHEN BRONI | No Comments

Kakapo,Kea, kaka complexStruggling to get your head around role of polyploidy in speciation, adaptive radiation and such like?
This page brings those concepts into focus using New Zealand examples.

Check out the rest of the Evolution for Teaching site for  information on ‘Human Evolution’, `Darwin & Religion’, Earth’s History & Evolution’ and `Theories, Hypotheses, & Laws’.

A good authoratative site from University of Waikato with a links to glossary &  a useful FAQ page.


Monday, May 23rd, 2011 | KEV KNOWLES | No Comments

This achievement standard involves describing the structure, physical properties, and reactions of organic compounds.

Aspects of organic chemistry includes:

  • structures of organic compounds including constitutional isomers and enantiomers
  • naming of organic compounds using IUPAC conventions
  • physical properties of organic compounds
  • reactions of organic compounds.

Organic compounds are limited to those containing one or more of the following functional groups: alkene, haloalkane, amine, alcohol, aldehyde, ketone, ester, carboxylic acid, acyl chloride, amide.

Structures and names of organic compounds are limited to those compounds containing no more than eight carbons.

Physical properties of organic compounds are limited to solubility, melting point, boiling point, rotation of plane-polarised light.

Reactions of organic compounds include acid-base, oxidation, elimination and substitution reactions. Substitution reactions include esterification, hydrolysis, and polymerisation.

  • acid-base is limited to reactions of carboxylic acids, amines, and carboxylate and alkylammonium salts
  • oxidation is limited to reactions using the following reagents: MnO4/H+, Cr2O72–/H+, Tollens’, Fehling’s and Benedict’s
  • elimination is limited to reactions using the following reagents: KOH in alcohol and concentrated H2SO4
  • substitution is limited to reactions using the following reagents: concentrated HCl, HBr, SOCl2, PCl3, PCl5, NaOH, KOH (in alcohol or aqueous solution), NH3, primary amines, primary alcohols/H+, primary alcohols, H2O/H+, H2O/OH
  • polymerisation is limited to formation of polyesters and polyamides including proteins.

Human Evolution

Monday, May 23rd, 2011 | KEV KNOWLES | No Comments

This achievement standard involves the description of trends in human biological evolution, cultural evolution, and patterns of dispersal.

Trends refers to progressive change over a period of time in relation to:

  • human biological evolution
  • human cultural evolution
  • patterns of dispersal of hominins. The term hominins refers to living and fossil species belonging to the human lineage. This is a subgroup of hominids which includes both humans and the great apes.

Trends in human biological evolution begin with early bipedal hominins and may require comparison with living hominids (apes). Trends are limited to:

  • skeletal changes linked to bipedalism
  • changes in skull and endocranial features
  • changes in the manipulative ability of the hand.

Trends in human cultural evolution will be limited to evidence relating to: use of tools (stone, wood, bone), fire, shelter, clothing, abstract thought (communication, language, art), food-gathering, and domestication of plants and animals.

  • Interpretations on the origins and trends of human evolution will be based on current evidence and may change as a result of recent developments.
  • Evidence relating to human evolution must be scientific evidence which is widely accepted and presented in peer-reviewed scientific journals.


Monday, May 23rd, 2011 | KEV KNOWLES | No Comments

This achievement standard involves the description of processes and patterns of evolution.

Processes of evolution are limited to

  • ways in which speciation occurs (sympatric, allopatric)
  • reproductive isolating mechanisms that contribute to speciation (geographical, temporal, ecological, behavioural, structural barriers, polyploidy)
  • the role of natural selection.

Patterns of evolution will be selected from: convergent evolution, divergent evolution (including adaptive radiation), co-evolution, punctuated equilibrium, gradualism.

Plants & Animals

Monday, May 23rd, 2011 | KEV KNOWLES | No Comments

This achievement standard involves the description of animal behaviour and plant responses in relation to environmental factors.

Animal behaviour and plant responses will be selected from those relating to:

  • orientation (tropisms, nastic responses, taxes, kineses, homing, migration)
  • timing (annual, daily, lunar, tidal)
  • interspecific relationships (predation, parasitism, mutualism, commensalism, competition for resources)
  • intraspecific relationships (territoriality, cooperative interactions, reproductive behaviours, hierarchical behaviour, competition for resources).

The relationship of environmental factors to behaviour/response may be in terms of the process involved or the adaptive significance.


Saturday, January 1st, 2011 | ouassa | No Comments

dnaThis achievement standard involves the description of the role DNA has in relation to gene expression and the determination of phenotype.

The role of DNA includes DNA structure and replication, the control of gene expression, protein synthesis, and the determination of phenotype.

The structure of DNA includes the molecular components and their role in carrying the genetic code. The replication of DNA includes the processes involved in replication and the role that enzymes have in producing accurate copies.

Control of gene expression is limited to factors that operate at transcription level:

  • feedback in prokaryotes (repressors, inducers)
  • enhancers and transcription factors in eukaryotes.

Protein synthesis includes the role of DNA in determining the structure of a protein and how that protein is produced (transcription and translation).

The determination of phenotype includes:

  • allele interactions: dominance, incomplete dominance, co-dominance, multiple alleles, lethal alleles
  • linkage and sex linkage
  • gene-gene interactions: epistasis, collaboration, polygenes
  • pleiotropy
  • mutations: gene mutations, chromosomal mutations
  • control of metabolic pathways by gene expression.