Croc Labyrinth Education Worksheet - Teachers Notes

Video highlights from Croc Labyrinth

Upper Primary and Junior Secondary

TELEVISION PROGRAM  

Croc Labyrinth

 

LEARNING LEVEL   

Upper Primary and Junior Secondary

 

CURRICULUM RELEVANCE 

Science

 

PROGRAMME DESCRIPTION FOR TEACHERS
Growing to some six metres in length and 730 kg in weight, the Nile crocodile is Africa's largest and most feared. Whilst its diet is mostly fish-based, it can attack indiscriminately, and is believed to be responsible for some 200 human deaths annually. In a bid to better understand this top order predator, Crocodile Labyrinth tracks a mission to explore the crocodile-infested papyrus caves of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. In a dark underworld of mystery and danger, herpetologist Vince Shacks and underwater cameraman Brad Bestelink have pioneered the art of diving safely with Nile Crocodiles. Join them as they slip below the surface to film some of the Nile crocodile’s behaviours. Venturing deep into the crocodiles' labyrinthine papyrus cave habitats, the team uncovers new scientific evidence and reveals some fascinating secrets of this formidable predator.

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION FOR TEACHERS
The idea of coming face-to-face with a large crocodile beneath the murky waters of its habitat strikes fear into the heart of mere mortals. Incredibly, this is exactly what Vince Shacks and Brad Bestelink aim to do beneath the waters of the Okavango Delta. Although filming crocodiles underwater has been attempted in the past, the results have been far from satisfactory. However, ongoing improvements in camera technology combined with the Okavango's clearer water during the winter months, convince the team that they can succeed.

Apart from the sheer adrenaline-charged adventure of meeting and filming crocodiles in their own environment, Vince wants to find out how well crocs can see underwater, what other senses they use whilst underwater and how human presence affects their behaviour there. The idea is to capture a big crocodile, fit it with a remote camera and allow it time to recover so that its natural behaviour can be recorded.

Apart from biological and behavioural knowledge, diving in this part of the delta reveals astonishing new information about the system of papyrus "caves" and connecting tunnels that form the crocodiles' habitat in this part of the Okavango Delta. In addition to providing a safe haven from predators and other threats, crocodiles can use this darker environment to avoid strong currents and to optimise their vision. At the surface small gaps in the vegetation function as breathing holes and allow access to light. Decomposing layers of peat beneath the papyrus create warmer temperatures, which are most attractive to the reptilian crocodile. The caves are also home to catfish and other types of fish, which provide a regular food source for the crocodiles.

These rare glimpses into a previously unknown world help uncover more information about a misunderstood creature that plays a vital role in the African food chain.


CURRICULUM POINTERS

Upper Primary Curriculum
Science provides an empirical way of answering interesting questions about the biological, physical and technological world. The knowledge it produces has proved to be a reliable basis for action in our personal, social and economic lives.
Australian Science Curriculum 2010: Rationale

 

Junior Secondary Curriculum
The science curriculum provides opportunities for students to experience the joy of scientific discovery and to nurture students’ natural curiosity about the world around them. These ideas resonate with the concept of scientific literacy, a term that is well established in the science education literature.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Rationale


CURRICULUM OUTCOMES

Upper Primary

In undertaking these tasks, students of Science will develop:

• An interest in science and a curiosity and willingness to explore, ask questions and speculate about the changing world in which they live
• An ability to communicate their scientific understandings and findings to a range of audiences, to justify their own ideas on the basis of evidence, and to evaluate and debate scientific arguments and claims whilst respecting alternative viewpoints and beliefs
• An understanding of the diversity of careers related to science
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Aims

 

Junior Secondary

In undertaking these tasks, students of Science will develop:

• An ability to communicate their scientific understandings and findings to a range of audiences, to justify their own ideas on the basis of evidence, and to evaluate and debate scientific arguments and claims whilst respecting alternative viewpoints and beliefs
• An understanding of the diversity of careers related to science
• A solid foundation in science knowledge and understanding of the biological … sciences, including being able to select and integrate science understanding in order to explain and predict phenomena, to apply that understanding to new situations and events, and to appreciate the dynamic nature of science knowledge.
Australian Science Curriculum 2010: Aims

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