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Christie’s students started their STEM project by researching toxic algal blooms and their impacts on the shellfish industry. After learning about the temporary closure of the Tasmanian shellfish industry in 2016, the students were concerned that a similar outbreak could affect the fishing industry in South Australia.

Christie Evans is a year 6/7 teacher and the STEM coordinator at Seaview Downs Primary in South Australia.

Their research led to the development of their STEM inquiry:

What is the solution to toxic algal blooms?


Onboard RV Investigator, Christie worked with scientists in a seafloor sediment sampling program to examine historic plankton records. Christie’s students designed their own plankton collectors which they used to collect water and plankton samples from their local marine environment. CSIRO’s Dr. Ruth Eriksen, a Phytoplankton Biologist, spoke to Christie’s students about the different species of plankton and sent the students images of Tasmanian plankton species. The students then classified the plankton into groups based on shapes and sizes. They used this information to compare the plankton species with their fieldwork samples.

Working in small teams, the students investigated current control methods and designed their own solutions to toxic algal blooms to prevent future outbreaks on South Australian Fisheries. The students completed their STEM project by presenting their solutions to CSIRO scientists and Education and Outreach staff.

Teacher Developed Resource

A range of marine education resources developed by our Educator on Board alumni are available for free download. You can download Christie's student inquiry based lesson here:

Toxic Algae STEM Investigation

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