About brittgow

I am a Science and Maths teacher at a small rural school in western Victoria, Australia. I live on a sheep property with my husband and two children, who also attend Hawkesdale P12 College. I am passionate about education for sustainability, indigenous flora and fauna and love teaching!

Ecology and human and environmental health.

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Your task over the next week is to research and present on an ecological issue, answering the big question:

How does ___________ impact on human health and the health of our environment?

The blank can be one of the following issues:

  • Climate change
  • Habitat destruction (deforestation)
  • Introduced species (feral animals or weeds)
  • Pollution (air, water or soil)
  • Over-harvesting (For example; poaching or over-fishing)

Fold your paper in half and half again and write in each of the quarters:

  1. What do you KNOW about your topic?
  2. What do you WANT to know about the topic?
  3. WHERE are you going to find the information you need?
  4. HOW are you going to present your new learning?

Here are some sites to help with your research:


3, 2, 1…Take off!

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Over the past week you have been working with Mr Fallon to learn more about space science. You have had the opportunity to learn why the moon has different phases and how that affects the tides. Your task this week is to research one of the planets in our solar system. Find out how long the planet takes to orbit the sun (year length); how long the planet takes to rotate on it’s axis (day length); it’s gravity compared to earth (related to the size of the planet); the environmental and climatic conditions on that planet and how far it is from earth.

Using this information, create a postcard to send back to earth. Make sure you include a creative commons image and links to any resources used.

Alternatively, you could write a postcard from the International Space Station, the Hubble Telescope or a satellite, describing it’s structure and function. Again, make sure you include a CC image and links to any resources used. This work is due on Monday 21st October.

If you finish early there are some other cool spacey things you can do –

  • Galaxy Zoo is a citizen science project, where you can help to identify galaxies from photographs. To understand how galaxies formed, scientists need your help to classify them according to their shapes. If you’re quick, you may even be the first person to see the galaxies you’re asked to classify!
  • Paul Floyd’s Astronomy and Space Site has a list of October 2013 Sky and Space events that you might like to look for from your home tonight. He also writes a student newsletter “Amazing Space” that includes finder charts for locating mercury, Venus and Saturn without the need for a telescope, Moon phase information for October to December and finder charts for locating the Southern Cross and Scorpius (the ancient Greek constellation – the Scorpion).
  • ABC Splash have some great videos and other resources that you may be interested in.


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During our last lesson this term you will be working on a research project about a disease – I would like each person in the class to choose a different disease affecting humans, animals or plants. It can be an infectious, genetic or other non-infectious disease. You will need to find out the following information:

  1. Title slide (Nme of disease and your name)
  2. History and/or discovery
  3. Causes (eg. genetic, dietary, lifestyle, pathogenic – prion, virus, bacteria, parasite etc)
  4. Symptoms
  5. Treatment and/or cure
  6. References (list of where you get your information form)

Here are some to choose from:

  • AIDS
  • Arthritis
  • Anthrax
  • Amoebic dysentry
  • Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis (mad cow disease)
  • Brucellosis
  • Bubonic plague
  • Cancer (choose a particular type eg. breast, lung, colon)
  • Chickenpox
  • Cholera
  • Diabetes
  • Haemophilia
  • Hepatitis
  • Influenza
  • Malaria
  • Measles
  • Meningitis
  • Mumps
  • Osteoporosis
  • Poliomyelitis
  • Rabies
  • Ross River Fever
  • Rubella
  • Scurvy
  • Smallpox
  • Tapeworm
  • Tetanus
  • Tuberculosis
  • Yellow Fever

Make sure you read the information and take notes, then write your text – don’t copy and paste! Make sure any images you use are from creative commons sources.

Cells make up tissues, tissues make up organs…..

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Learning Intention: Students will understand that any complex, multicellular organism requires a number of systems that work together. They will also understand that the excretory system consists of the kidneys, ureters and urethra that function to remove liquid wastes from the body.

Success Criteria: Students will label a diagram of the excretory system and complete a table with a brief description of each of the digestive, circulatory, respiratory and excretory systems.

So far we have studied the digestive, circulatory and respiratory systems. Each of these systems is made of cells, which together make up tissues, tissues make up organs and the organs make up systems. These systems work together to ensure that the human body can move, grow, repair and maintain itself and eventually reproduce.

BBC Bitesize – from cells to systems – We will go through this review of cells and the interactive activity in class. You might like to have a go at the test for revision at home.

The Excretory System – How does the body remove ‘poisons’?

YouTube – The Excretory System by Hank – including excretion in other animals.(12 minutes)

YouTube – The Excretory System

BBC Science – The Interactive Body


Respiratory System

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Learning Intention: Science Understanding – “Cells are the basic units of living things and have specialised structures and functions. Multi-cellular organisms contain systems of organs that carry out specialised functions that enable them to survive and reproduce.”

Success Criteria:  Students will be able to identify the organs within the respiratory system and describe how it functions. They will understand how the respiratory, circulatory and digestive systems are connected and work together to deliver nutrients and oxygen and remove wastes from every cell within the human body.

So far we have learned about nutrition and the digestive system and how the circulatory system transports materials around the human body. Now we are going to investigate the respiratory system, which provides oxygen to every cell, to allow energy to be released from food. The respiratory system consists of the trachea, bronchus and lungs containing alveloi. There is an important muscle, called the diaphragm, that allows air to be drawn into the lungs and the carbon-dioxide-rich air to be expelled. Access the following sites and then answer the questions below:

  1. Label the diagram of the respiratory system, including the alveoli.
  2. What are the advantages of breathing through your nose?
  3. Why should you blow your nose when you have a cold, rather than sniffing?
  4. What is the function of the epiglottis and happens when you choke?
  5. Where do the respiratory and circulatory systems meet?
  6. Both systems have a large surface area – explain why.
  7. Breathing and respiration have different meanings – explain each.
  8. Both your breathing and heart rate increase during exercise – explain why.
  9. How do high altitudes affect your breathing and circulation? Why might athletes do high altitude training?

Circulatory System

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  • Science Understanding “Cells are the basic units of living things and have specialised structures and functions. Multi-cellular organisms contain systems of organs that carry out specialised functions that enable them to survive and reproduce.”
  • Science Inquiry Skills – “Construct and use a range of representations, including graphs, keys and models to represent and analyse patterns or relationships, including using digital technologies as appropriate.”

Learning Intention and Success Criteria: Students will be able to identify the structure and function of organs in the circulatory system and be able to name and describe the components of blood. Students will complete a labelled diagram of the heart and circulatory system and be able to describe how it works.

The Circulatory System is also called the “Cardiovascular System” and consists of the heart, arteries, veins, capillaries and the five litres of blood (approximately) that flows through this system.

1. Work your way through the National Geographic – Heart Interactive. Label the blank heart diagram with the names of each structure, including the atria, ventricles, aorta and valves.

2. Watch the National Geographic Video – Cardiovascular system and then colour the cardiovascular diagram showing oxygenated (red) and deoxygenated (blue) blood.

3. Access the Blood Buddies – the Australian Red Cross Blood Service website and find out how you are tested for your blood type. Do you know what blood group you belong to? Create a graph (bar graph or pie chart) showing the different blood groups:

  • O positive – 40%
  • O negative – 9 %
  • A positive – 31%
  • A negative – 7 %
  • B positive – 8%
  • B negative – 2%
  • AB positive – 2 %
  • AB negative – 1%

Other information:

Student graph showing percentages of each blood type from Australian Red Cross data using “Create-a-graph”.