Term 2 - Citizen Scientists
Puketapu School students researched about little blue penguins, learning about the species before building the technology that would be used to monitor penguin box activity. They have previously been involved with another Curious Minds Project (Project Hot Spot) which was a great introductory project that weaves nicely in to Finding Little Blue. So, using their knowledge of little blue penguins, the students then brainstormed how we could monitor penguin behaviours in the man-made burrows. They discovered that the most efficient and least invasive way to monitor was to either insert a tiny webcam that took photos every half hour or insert a discreet thermometer. They worked with Andrew from Bright Sparks to build the data catchers which the cameras and thermometers would be attached to and would communicate with a raspberry pi computer which then tells us the changes in activity through the internet!
To finish up the term, the class went on a special field trip around the Nga Motu beach area and marina, the Marine Information Centre and then out to the Sugar Loaf Islands with Chaddy’s Charters. While they didn’t see any penguins out feeding that day, there were many seals out sunbathing which the students saw had strong flippers to pull themselves up on to the rocks. The students also got to explore their Bell Block beach environment, applying the knowledge they gained at the Marine Information Centre. The whole trip showed just how vulnerable every marine species is and why we need to protect our declining little blues.