Each year we welcome over 2,500 students and staff from schools worldwide.
27, 28 February 2017
How Technology Influences Nature : On the Barge and exploring clay and Ko Kret
The Barge Program were pleased to welcome ELC year 3 onto the barge for a day of exploring the Chao Phraya River and the island of Ko Kret to find out how technology influences nature.
Early morning river observations allowed the children to discover the variety of practices occurring along the banks of the mighty river and the range of boats that use its waterways, from huge container barges transporting raw building materials, to the speedy long tailed boats whizzing along and the more sedate ferries and fishing boats.
After docking at Ko Kret, discussion turned to what materials people have been able to gain from nature and in this particular region the most famous natural resource is clay. Students discovered the history of the Mon people who were allowed to settle on the island and practice pottery so as to avoid economic conflict with the local Thai farmers. Their skilled abilities with clay have made them famous for producing some of the most beautiful pottery in Thailand, so it was only fair that the students got the chance to roll up their sleeves and get messy throwing their own bowl on the potter’s wheel!
This was the children’s favourite activity of the day. Each one created and then decorated their own plate or bowl before visiting the kiln to find out how clay is processed and cleaned before it can be used and how after sculpting it is fired in the kiln for three days and two nights at over 600oC!
After cleaning up and making sure the clay master pieces were safely back on board the barge to be taken home, students played the watershed puzzle, to find out how some of the technologies and buildings they had witnessed earlier along the river banks affect the water. By adding ‘chlorine, oil, sediment, rubbish, soap, fertilizers and washing powder’ in the form of food colouring, coffee, pencil sharpening’s, plastic pieces and actual soap and washing powder to our bucket of water (representing the Chao Phraya), students quickly witnessed the negative impacts that technologies could have on the water. Discussion then turned to how technology can be used to clean up our act with the students offering ideas of what they could do to help protect nature.
The final activity of the day was using the water hyacinth and its macro invertebrate population to assess the water quality of the Chao Phraya. Students we able to find river crabs and prawns, midge larvae, water snails, water beetles and some damselfly larvae which indicated the quality of the water was average to rather dirty, which thankfully turned out to be better than the toxic water created in our previous activity!
All in all the year 3’s had a very enjoyable trip, getting hands on with creating their own technology caused ‘water pollution’ and getting messy with clay to help them understand and explore the relationship between technology and nature.