Geologists, Roy Blake, Aleks Vujovic and Emma Vagg, from the Geological Society of Victoria introduced the Year 5/6 students to the Term 2 Natural Disasters unit with their “Old Dinosaurs, New Volcanoes” presentation. Students learnt about different types of volcanoes and their footprint in the Southwest such as Mt Leura, Tower Hill, the Stoney Rises and the rich, productive soil types in this region. Roy described how dinosaurs were originally perceived as large, elephant type animals but recent finds by geologists and paleontologists have proven that dinosaurs may have been quite nimble and possibly covered by feathers. Aleks showcased their 3D model “Understanding Victoria’s Geology from the Ground Down” which demonstrated the way geologists are building a profile to better understand the rock layers and structures below the surface. We were amazed to learn that there are dinosaur remains two km below Timboon! Our guests then outlined the various paths that someone can pursue as a geologist which definitely opened student’s eyes to the variety of career paths available. Rock on!
After learning about the nutritional value and tastes of dairy products with Heidi Van Es as part of their Healthy Bones, Healthy Body science unit, our Year 3/4 students were challenged to create a ‘cool calcium product’. Students had to create a calcium rich product and design a 3D container or packaging format to best display their creation. Design briefs had to demonstrate plans for the front, side, back and top views of their product and our designers built 3D models of their containers using a net. This exercise linked Maths, Science, English and Design as students needed to work out the information required on a product nutritional panel, indicate serving size and reinforced the nutritional value of food. Great work Year 3/4.
Today our Year 7/8 CCC class were able to see agricultural technology in action when visiting the Whitehead and Powell farms. Renee and Mat Whitehead showed students one of their calf sheds which was a great example of the best way to house calves as outlined by Veterinarian Zoe Vogels - clean bedding, good airflow but not drafty, clean, individual feeders, and uncrowded pens with healthy looking calves. In a herringbone dairy that was converted into a calf shed, students were able to observe the automated calf feeders which were a huge labor saving device but stressed that calves still needed to be checked several times during the day. Renee showed students the feeding system which recorded the litres the calves were fed and which calves may not have received their daily ration of fortified milk. James Maxwell showcased the technology at the Powell farm that included the first rotary dairy in the district that was built 42 years ago and was still a very efficient way to milk cows. He outlined the way the Jantec computer system recorded the events associated with the cows and worked with the Cow Manager to alert staff to whether a cow was on heat, sick, or lame based on movement or ruminations. James described the way tasks were allocated to staff with a job sharing app which meant that tasks could be completed efficiently and staff could communicate with one another on the farm. It was a good opportunity to see technology such as this in real world applications, thanks Renee, Mat and James.
Today agronomists, Danielle O’Keefe and Tess Blake, from Grass Growers helped launch our Hermitage Research Facility’s 2019 Schools Plant Science Competition ”Pest Invaders”. Danielle and Tess had previously met with Year 7 Science teachers, Anne Frazer and Nigel Mottram, to discuss potential experiments, scientific reports, poster topics and research options. The Year 7 students have already collected insects from home to investigate and write up in a scientific report. Tess introduced the poster component of the Invasive Pests topic with a report on Prickly Pear. She demonstrated how the poster could be designed and there was a lively discussion in class about other types of invasive pests like cane toads, pampus grass, rabbits, lucerne flea, carp etc. The third component was described which is a presentation on how invasive pests can impact on International Food Security. The class discussed the ramification of diseases or pests spreading across border control, the importance of declaring goods when travelling overseas, the role the Australian Customs Dept play and the financial impact of diseases like Foot and Mouth or Mad Cow Disease. Danielle and Tess outlined their respective career pathways through TAFE and university and described their role in agribusinesses. Great lessons ladies, thanks.
The VAAHE (Victorian Association of Agricultural and Horticultural Educators) recently held it’s 25th Annual Conference ‘Dynamic Agricultural and Horticultural Education’ at Dookie College. We were invited to showcase how we incorporate Agriculture and Horticulture in a junior program under the TAP banner to VAAHE workshop participants. Other presentations included topics on resources such as PIEFA and Primezone, the VCE Agricultural and Horticultural Studies course, biosecurity, viticulture, sensor technology and future farming.
Richard Riordan is the member for Polwarth in the Victorian state parliament. He talked to us today about the main issues he is dealing with. We asked questions and shared our opinions on issues, explaining how they effect us. Some of the main issues were: condition of roads, pot poles, foreign drivers on regional roads and solar energy. He showed us a petition example and explained how they work and he referred to a current petition in Colac to increase the speed limit on the new highway to 110. Thanks to Poppy for the report.
To gain a better understanding of the role dairy products play in a healthy diet, Heidi Van Es introduced our Year 3/4 students to a taste test challenge. Students discussed how cheese was produced from milk and considered various words to describe soy milk, cheese, custard, cream, yoghurt and full cream milk. The classes had to examine how the samples appeared, their look, texture, smell and finally taste. Goat’s cheese produced by Childers Cove Cheese Company was also included in the taste experience later in the classrooms as a new taste experience. It was a fun and engaging exercise and will be followed up by the Week of Tastes in August this year to further extend students’ culinary language, watch out ‘My Kitchen Rules!’
Today Zoe Vogels, from The Vet Group, updated the CCC (Cows Create Careers) class about how to turn a calf into a cow as part of their preparation for hosting two calves as part of the Dairy Australia, CCC competition. The Year 7/8 students learnt about the way calves’ stomachs develop, what healthy calves need such as the importance of clean water, a constant feeding regime, milk powder mixed at the right rate, fibre and pellets, good housing and the importance of hygiene in calf rearing. Zoe described common calf diseases, disease treatment, and the importance of checking everyday, everytime, a calves’ eyes, ears, nose, belly and tail. Good luck CCC students!
As part of the Year 9/10 elective, C45, ex student, Simon Schulz was invited to Timboon P-12 School to talk to the business class about Schulz Organic Dairy, a third generation dairy business in Timboon. Simon described how his grandfather and father developed the business based on organic and biodynamic principles and how their product range has been diversified for new and emerging markets. Listening to his customers at Farmers Markets gave Simon the confidence to launch a crowd funding campaign to produce milk in glass bottles which was Pozible’s most successful campaign in 2018. Simon explained how the business has diversified both horizontally, in product range including milk, yoghurt, cream, fetta and quark and vertically, by having 5-6 small businesses in the operation from production, manufacture, marketing, delivery to grocers, cafés, Farmers markets and the on-site store, The Timboon Cheesery. He outlined the importance of networks including small, independent dairies and the 12 Apostles Artisans in luring different customers into the region and challenged students to investigate the potential of other agribusiness offerings in the southwest.
To launch our Cows Create Careers investigation into the technology used on farms, Andy Powell was invited into the Year 7/8 CCC science elective classroom to challenge students’ perceptions about the sorts of tools, tech and gadgets farmers use in their businesses. Andy posed the question, ‘What is technology?’ and asked students to list 3 types of technology that they use daily and then to determine if any of the listed technology could be applied to farming. The CCC students were then given a piece of technology and they had to work out what it was, what problem it addressed and how it worked. Challenge pieces of equipment included GPS for tractors, a drone, NLIS tags, rising plate meter, heifer weighing station, images from an automated heifer feeder, a lazer level, tag reading wand, C Dax pasture meter, Cow manager tags, solar fence unit, walkie talkies, controller for a silage baler, wireless water level monitor, One tank system and a Batt latch. Lots of robust discussion ensued thanks to Andy and Landmark Timboon who donated some pieces of technology for the demonstration.