General News

29 March, 2023

Students learn the life of waterways

GRADE 11 and 12 students at a local high school have been raising red claw yabbies, making fishing lures and learning about local waterways as a part of their Aquatic Practices science subject.

Cassia James, Taylah Nastasi, Kiralee Barter and Aiden Brown showcasing the red claw they are raising and the lures they have made in aquatic practices.
Cassia James, Taylah Nastasi, Kiralee Barter and Aiden Brown showcasing the red claw they are raising and the lures they have made in aquatic practices.

The Aquatic Practices subject was introduced at Mareeba State High School only last year, with science teacher Cian Cochran wanting to give non-ATAR and university students the opportunity to learn science in a relatable way.

With a majority of his students already fishing and engaging in water sports out-side of school, he knew introducing the subject would help get students to look into the scientific side of it.

“We have two very full science in practice classes and when I found out about Aquatic Practices, I spent all of 2020 and 2021 planning class that were implemented in 2022,” he said.

“I had to go through a fair bit of planning and approval before we got into that, but I found that a lot of the students were already involved with the water, whether it be fishing or even down to the use of water for vegetation.”

Although the subject gives grade 11 and 12 students opportunities to go fishing, camping and boating, Mr Cochran also teaches the importance of preserving waterways.

The original curriculum included assignments on snorkelling and the reef which don’t relate to the environment in which the students live, so Mr Cochran took the extra steps to make it more “Tablelands based”.

“Some of the topics aren’t specific to our kids and they don’t usually have the opportunity to go snorkelling,” he said.

“I did take them over to Green Island last year and condensed all the activities into that trip rather than making them learn about stuff they won’t be able to transfer over to their own lives for a whole term.

“Knowing about the health of a waterway and how farms impact waterways and so on will have more authenticity to the students.”

Grade 12 student Aiden Brown has been involved with the subject since it’s inauguration last year and has been described as his teacher as one of the most engaged in the class.

With a background in boating and fishing, Aiden was keen to get involved with the class and hopes it will help expand his knowledge on local waterways.

“It is a good class because it is about fishing and it is different from the usual classes I take,” he said.

“Last year I was feeding baby red claw and measuring them up – raising them. I also got my boat licence last year and the whole class went up to Tinaroo to do it which was pretty cool.

“It’s just a real good subject, everyone is into it and Mr Cochran is a good teacher.”

Whilst grade 11 students continue to raise red claw, grade 12 students will begin their final assignment of the year, with many looking at pathways in the aquatic science area after they complete school


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