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Wenona’s Biome Exhibition!

Our Year 3 students have been conducting their own research into biomes, proudly holding an exhibition this week, with fabulous dioramas, posters and videos on display across the piazza.

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“What’s a biome?” Head of Junior School, Ms Lind, asked one of our Year 3 students at their exhibition in the Woodstock piazza on Tuesday. Well, she explained, a biome is a specific geographic area of the planet that can be classified according to the plants and animals that live there. Temperature, soil, and the amount of light and water help determine what life exists in a biome.

Over the past seven weeks, Ms Krigstein and Ms Laumberg’s Year 3 students have been tasked with collecting as much information as possible about biomes. It was all part of their latest PYP unit of inquiry into How the World Works, exploring the central idea: Living things are part of complex networks that depend on each other and the environment to survive.

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The students started off by discussing the six different biomes. In the process, they discovered all sorts of interesting information about the terrestrial and aquatic biomes that exist across the planet. This led them to look at tundras, forests (including taigas, deciduous forests and rainforests), grasslands, freshwater and marine biomes, and deserts. And they found out where different biomes are located on a world map.

Armed with all their new-found knowledge on biomes, Ms Krigstein and Ms Laumberg then set Year 3 a challenge. They could choose to conduct their own research into the biome that most interested them. They were asked to find out as much as they could about the characteristics of their chosen biome, including its locations, its climate and the species of plants and animals that exist within it. Have these characteristics changed over time and if so, what are the causes of these changes?

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The students were also asked to think about the producers (living things like plants that take the Sun’s energy and store it as food), the consumers (the herbivores, carnivores and omnivores that feed on producers or other consumers to survive) and the decomposers (the organisms that primarily feed on waste or dead organisms to get energy). What are the interactions between the living and non-living organisms in their biome? What impact, if any, have humans had?

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Year 3 set about gathering information on their chosen biome and recreating the complex ecosystem of forests, freshwater, marine, grassland, tundra and deserts. Using sand, pebbles, coloured paper, modelling clay, cotton wool, tissue, glitter, Lego and lots of glue, the students demonstrated their knowledge of the living things that are native to their chosen region. The level of detail was extraordinary, prompting questions and curiosity from their peers and teachers.

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Ella said she was interested in finding out more about the tundra biome because she quite likes the cold. She created a detailed poster on the tundra, complete with handmade snowflakes and tiny polystyrene snowballs. She explained how humans have impacted on the tundra. “Humans have changed the landscape through the construction of residences and other structures, ski resorts, tourist attractions, mines and roads. Hunting, oil drilling and other activities have polluted the environment and have threatened wildlife in tundra ecosystems.”

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Issy focused on the marine biome, which she said, covers about 70% of the world and has more than 21,000 different species of fish. Issy discovered that the ocean is divided up into zones. “One zone is the Euphotic zone which is at the top of the ocean where we swim. Another zone of the ocean is called the Bathyal zone which is the middle zone of the ocean where most submarines reach. The Abyssal zone is pitch black where only some fish can survive. One of these fish is the Anglerfish. It has a light on its head. I know that sounds funny, but I’m not joking it has an organic light on its head which is pretty cool!”

A clever feature of Issy’s diorama was a large fish that could ‘swallow’ a smaller fish, cleverly bringing to life part the idea of the food chain that exists within the marine biome.

Having visited Yellowstone Park with her family, Lara decided to research the taiga, which is also called a boreal forest or coniferous forest. They are the forests of dense, evergreen trees that extend across North America, Europe, and Asia. They are the world's largest land biome.

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Possibly the most popular biome belonged to Ruby, who chose to create a game of Twister based on her temperate forest biome. Students had to land on different coloured circles, where Ruby had created a question and answer about temperate forests. It proved a big hit with all the students! And with Ms Krigstein!

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Year 3 enjoyed being given agency to carefully curate their exhibition, which was given a big thumbs up from the rest of Woodstock. The Kindergarten to Year 2 students enjoyed going around the piazza with their microscopes and iPads to examine each exhibit and ask questions.

Biodiversity is all around us as Year 3 have discovered. Great work Year 3!