Room 18’s Magnificent Murray River Models
In Term 2, Room 18 embarked on a research project of the Murray River as part of our Humanities and Social Sciences Unit. We followed an inquiry focus, asking questions and conducting research on ‘Who uses the Murray River and how do they use it?’ and ‘What are the problems that are associated with the river?’. The students discovered that the uses extend much further than those who frequent the river during holiday periods. They sought answers to their questions, searching through websites, articles, library resources, news stories, and watching interviews and documentaries with local Aboriginal people, farmers, river biologists, steam paddle drivers, wetland conservationists and lock controllers.
Some issues facing the Murray
The students learnt about the problems that the river has faced, including the introduction of carp, and the issue of some farmers extracting more water than allocated, which has caused lower water levels.
They explored the concept of cause and effect as they learnt that the lower water levels caused the growth of blue-green algae, which in turn caused many Murray Cod to die.
Students developed initial plans to resolve the problems which ranged from a filtering system to clean out the blue-green algae to a desalination re-filtering system to replenish the fresh water.
How the models were made:
We decided to build models of the river whilst we were conducting our research. After looking at the Murray River on Google Earth, students chose a section of the river that they wanted to recreate.
They sketched a map of their section onto a large sheet of cardboard and began building the river banks with egg cartons. We used papier-mâché to set the river banks and painted the banks, rock faces and water. We used twigs to create craft trees, along with craft foliage to give our models a realistic touch.
The students have found the project to be a rich and engaging learning experience and many have a newfound respect and desire to care for and protect the River Murray.