QAIS and CAIS Coastal Ecology Investigation

QAIS and CAIS Coastal Ecology Investigation


Statement of Inquiry: How can we collaborate with other scientists

Key Concepts: Collaboration and Scientific Endeavour

Related Concepts: Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Environmental Systems, and Design Technology

During the fall semester of 2018, students from the Qingdao Amerasia International School (QAIS) and the Changchun American International School (CAIS) met in Qingdao China for the IB Group 4 project which provided an opportunity for Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Environmental Systems, and Design Technology students to analyze a common topic. This year’s theme was Coastal Ecology.

CAIS students arrived at the airport on the afternoon of Thursday, September 20th and were whisked to the QAIS campus. Upon a quick introduction to the project by Mr. Madden and Mr. Peter, the students had had only two hours to come up with a design and an investigation for the next day’s fieldwork. Students determined what sensors they wanted to use, what measuring devices, and outlined what they wanted to investigate on their computers.

The brief planning stage made them hungry and all students and science staff had a pizza party in the cafeteria afterwards. Thursday night came to a close and the students from Changchun stayed at the families of QAIS students’ houses.

The next morning, Friday, September 21st at 8am, the students met at Shiloaren beach just as the local fishermen were bring in their nightly catches.  Legends surround the iconic 17-meter rock outcropping and namesake of the beach Shilaoren, which translates to Stone Old Man.

Under his shadow, the students had from 8am until noon to execute their preplanned investigations. They observed, collected data digitally, and used state-of-the-art sensors to measure different abiotic and biotic factors in the tide pool area. However, with low-tide occurring at 8:45am, it became a race against time and tides to gather data.

Students using quadrat sampling for biotic factors.

Students using quadrat sampling for biotic factors.

That afternoon students reconvened at QAIS where they had another time constraint of four hours to process this data. Using shared documents, spreadsheets, data logging and presentation software the students worked feverishly preparing their presentations. They collated, manipulated and analyzed their own data as well as those from scientific journals, environmental organizations, science and technology industries and government reports. Again, time was not on their side.

The next morning, Saturday, September 22nd, the students presented their findings. There goals were to show the processes that they used in their investigation, understand the ethical implications of using science and technology, and understand how scientists collaborate.  The presentations impressed all those present including the teachers.

“I can’t believe how intricate their presentations were after such a short amount of time,” Mr. Peter exclaimed. He continued, “The way they evaluated their projects also shows a deep understanding of the short comings of a short ecological investigation.

With their goals met, presentations over and reflections completed in Managebac, they faced a new challenge. 384 meters of granite rock covered in overgrown vegetation, mosquitos, and hidden mysteries underground. As they neared the highest part of the mountain, they spelunked through war bunkers from the early 1900s.  Fushan contains kilometers of underground tunnels that can be safely explored with a headlamp.

With time ticking down on the adventure, the students had one last steep scramble before surmounting Fushan and enjoying the surrounding views.

Although short, the IB Group IV project is an incredible introduction to ecology and scientific symposiums. It was enjoyable for all parties involved and led to useful learning outcomes.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go. – TS Eliot

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