Teacher Thomas Coad participated in CSIRO's Educator on Board professional learning program, and used the ALA to help understand the species he saw while onboard.

RV Investigator is a purpose-built research vessel with impressive scientific capabilities to support biological, oceanographic, geological and atmospheric research. Thomas Coad from Rose Bay High School in Tasmania participated in CSIRO’s Educator on Board program which offered berths for primary and secondary teachers to sail on board the state-of-the-art marine research vessel, for short voyages.

CSIRO’s RV Investigator (CSIRO 2020)

On board, Thomas assisted scientists with marine research; enhanced his STEM content knowledge; ran outreach activities, including live video broadcasts; and developed curriculum-linked resources for his own classroom and to share with other teachers.

Prior to his voyage, Thomas attended a variety of training and planning activities, including an Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) online workshop. The ALA workshop explained how to find information on the species he might observe on his voyage, and provided a working knowledge of the ALA’s analysis tools. 

A requirement for teachers participating in the Educator on Board program was to develop curriculum-linked lesson plans and resources based on the research and/or ship operations.

A map from the ALA showing seabird records.

Thomas incorporated the use of the ALA in his Year 7 Science resource Taxonomic classification and species data collection.

The three-part lesson sequence features real voyage data collected during Thomas’ trip on RV Investigator. In the lesson, students learn about seabird species in different regions and compare the collected data to environmental overlays provided by the ALA. Layers of environmental factors such as temperature, rainfall or humidity are used to show the conditions favoured by particular species.

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