Barking Spider-Adaptations Project Reflection

My partner and I created a project on the Barking Spider, an animal that lives in mulga country and makes a distinctive whistling or hissing sound to scare away predators. This project was assigned to us to focus on the key adaptations of an animal or plant that helps it survive and thrive in its desert environment. I think we worked well together and one of the key things we achieved was the confidence and understanding of the information we researched about the animal. I think our model and diagram both showed the key adaptations of the spider as well. We mainly achieved the 3rd column and some of the 2nd column in the rubric.

Some facts I found interesting during this project were:

  • That the female barking spider can live for 20-30 years, way more than the male that only lives for 5-8 years and usually dies after mating
  • They produce oil from a special gland to assist them when they use their brush feet to climb up slopes, this adaptation is a suction cup ability
  • They have no teeth to chew food therefore they use their venom to liquefy their prey and then suck it up

I also have a couple of understandings from the topic:

  • I now understand that barking spiders’ palps are structural adaptations as they use them to make a whistling sound that deters predators and this helps them survive (this is part of the Science Knowledge Victorian Curriculum Standards)
  • We tested the barking spider’s suction cup ability by putting different amounts of oil onto suction cups and now I understand that the more oil used, the better the suction cup ability therefore they can climb up slopes easier (this is part of the Science Inquiry Skills Victorian Curriculum Standards)

A wondering I have is:

  • How many glands do barking spiders have for producing their oil


The most important things I have learnt during this unit were:

How plants or animals can have adaptations to protect themselves from the temperature and conditions of their environment or to protect themselves from predators or other animals. I learnt this by researching about my assigned animal (The Barking Spider) and discovering how it’s changed/adapted to survive and thrive. I’ll use this knowledge to go further with this topic and develop more questions and wonderings to investigate about adaptations.

I also learnt, during the project how to share the roles between my partner and I to use the key strengths we each have as an advantage. I learnt this by consulting with my partner and also experimenting with the different elements of the project such as the diagram and model which I mainly worked on with help from my partner and the power point information and experiment ideas which my partner mostly did with my help. I am going to use my strengths in other tasks and project to bring my skills and experience to it. (This is part of Personal and Social Capabilities Victorian Curriculum Standards)

To conclude, over this whole unit I have learnt about the changes animals and plants make to their body in order to survive and thrive in their habitat whether it was and extreme environment like Antarctica or the desert. We also had an excursion to the Aquarium where we explored extreme environments as well as other animal habitats such as the ocean, the coral reef, rock pools and rainforests.

Next time I work in a group I could try to work on communicating with my group members more and check in with them to monitor each other’s progress.

How SpaceX Will Enable Interplanetary Civilization (BTN Reflection Structure)

While to us a colony on Earth seems like trying the impossible but to someone like Elon Musk it is a very achievable goal. Even if this can happen you would think it would obviously take a long time but Elon Musk expects it start this in 2024! That’s only 8 years from now!

The main jobs that would be pursued on Mars would be pretty much what we already use robots for on mars which involves jobs like Astronomy, Planetary Science, Life Science and engineering but people like sociologists, historians, psychologists and philosophers would also be needed. Mars is the only other planet (apart from earth) that allows us to be self-sufficient and we can get things like water, air and fuel from Mars’ atmosphere however it would be probable that the colony would still need to rely on resources coming from earth as well. We predict that this idea will start out expensive but overtime, as the necessary processes are put into place the it will become something that is cheap and a normal part of humanity. What will the benefits be of a Mars colonisation be? How will the time it takes to get to mars from earth affect the colony? This plan sounds crazy in so many ways but in a matter of time it could turn out fine and be a completely successful colony that will grow and terraform (both figuratively and literally) mars to revolutionise the way we live, or should I say where we live!


Blue-Facts (3)

Green-Questions (2)

Red-Insights/Understandings (1)

Link to clip-How SpaceX Will Enable Interplanetary Civilization

Life in Space: Food! (BTN Reflection Structure)

As you probably know, life in space is very different to how we live on earth. The main difference is that everything is weightless which means that the human body is affected. Specifically muscles and bones are affected and are the main parts to think about when choosing food to be consumed in space.

Protein is an important factor for food in space and most ideal foods for space are high in protein which is a bit different to food on earth. All foods to eat in space are in some way packaged because of the weightless environment. Russian food in a can is also ideal for eating in space along with pre-made food that just needs water to be added and it is ready to eat but they also need drink so they have it in a little bag with a straw attached that doesn’t allow the liquid to float out. Food comes up to astronauts in boxes that have a red label if they contain Russian food and a blue label if they are from the U.S or one of the other western partner agencies. What would happen if the wrong food was eaten in space? How does food get sent up to astronauts?




Link to Youtube clip-Life in space: Food!

The Solar System (BTN Reflection Structure)

Our solar system is a giant place full of stars, planets, moons, asteroids, comets and Earth is just one of the wonders of this giant system.

In our solar system there are 4 terrestrial planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars that are tiny compared to the 4 gas giants, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune that contain 99% of the mass of all the other planets. Although they are all planets of the solar system they have extremely different temperatures, sizes, weights, moons, weather and don’t have an accurate pattern to where they are spaced. The sun makes up 99.86% of the mass in the whole solar system (the planets make up 0.14% of the mass) and consists of mainly hydrogen and helium and less than 2% of heavy elements such as oxygen or iron. Asteroids and comets and even dwarf planets like Ceres, Pluto, Makemake and Haumea that circle the sun are mostly concentrated into 2 belts, the Asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and the Kuiper belt at the boundary of the solar system. What equipment is required to discover all this info about our solar system? What is the progress on learning about the possibility of other life on planets apart from earth?


Blue-Facts (3)

Green-Questions (2)

Red-Insights/Understandings (1)

Link to YouTube video-The Solar System

The Ancient Study of Astronomy (BTN Reflection Structure)

In the ancient time you might think people had no idea about space and couldn’t explain but they actually had pretty good ideas and were very clever when it came to astronomy.

Ancient Babylon was a city/state near what we know now as Baghdad and the Babylonians had a system of writing which enabled them to record lots of  astronomical observations to make mathematical models to create calendars which helped to time business transactions and other important things in Babylonia but Babylon’s astronomical work was influenced by astrology as well. The Maya (group of Mesoamerican Indians) came up with the Mayan Long Count Calendar which used a base number of 20 compared to our current one 10  and because of this they could predict the movements of planets and things such as eclipses. The Ancient Greeks also played a part and an ethically Greek citizen of the Roman Empire named Ptolemy who came up with the Ptolemaic system that proposed Earth was in the centre of the universe was an astronomer that received lots of his knowledge from Hipparchus who was known as the greatest astronomer of Ancient times and creator of trigonometry and discoverer of the wobbling of the Earth around its axis that helps explain the north star will become Vega. Why does the Mayan Long Count Calendar have a base of 20 and today we have a base 10? Are these 3 groups the most important to astronomy? Why/why not? Ancient civilisations have played a big part in the modern understanding of astronomy.


Blue-Facts (3)

Green-Questions (2)

Red-Insights/Understandings (1)

Link to video-The Ancient Study of Astronomy

Space Unit Goals Term 4

Space Unit Goals Term 4:

Science Understanding:

Science as a human endeavour

To find out how human’s understanding and discovery has evolved since ancient times about dark matter and its effects.

Earth and space sciences

To find discover what makes our solar system similar or different to the rest of space and its stars and planets?

Extra Goal

To use tables, graphs and other representations to record and present my learning in an organised, neat and clear way that can also show meaningful patterns and connections in data or information.

Tropical Cyclones Information Report

Hundreds of kilometres in diameter, giant spinning whirls of wind that cause mass destruction. So powerful and their spinning is influenced by the Earth’s rotation. A tropical cyclone is a strong but low pressure wind system that forms over warm waters and moves over land with force and can cause damage and destruction. What are cyclones, hurricane and typhoons? They’re are all the same natural disaster. They can all go under the category of tropical cyclones. Why are they called different things then? The only difference is that they are called different things depending on where they occur. For example, in Australia they’re called cyclones, in the Atlantic they’re called hurricanes and in Japan they’re called typhoons. The reason they’re called different things is because different people call things different according to their culture. This text is about the cause + effect of tropical cyclones.

Cyclones are extremely dangerous but require a certain trigger and several specific necessary conditions to be able to form. The ocean waters have to be at least 26°C. A cyclone can only form if it’s at least 5° latitude from the equator. A low vertical wind shear is also required. There needs to be moisture in the middle of the troposphere. Unstable conditions is another necessary condition for the formation of a cyclone to commence. Lastly, a disturbance existing prior to the formation of the cyclone is vital. All six of these conditions are essential and a cyclone can’t form without them. However, it is not certain that a cyclone will occur even if all of these conditions are met. A cyclone is triggered by a combination of forceful winds driving water onshore and the lower atmospheric pressure. These necessary conditions and this trigger work together to form a cyclone. Things can also encourage the persistence of a tropical cyclone like the Earth’s rotation which influences the spinning and propelling of a tropical cyclone.

Tropical cyclones have some required necessary conditions and this paragraph will be explaining the climate needed. Tropical cyclones can only form near the equator over warm ocean waters. Generally, the sea-surface temperature needs to be at least 26oC. The air above the waters heats and rises while cool air moves in to replace the warm air. This process builds up large clouds. It often happens that pre-existing cyclones keep persisting even as they move over cooler waters. All these requirements are met when a tropical cyclone forms but people might not notice this fascinating process.

Tropical cyclones form over warm ocean waters and then move on to land to cause horrific damage and destruction. This paragraph will be talking about the seasons that they occur in and the different specific places they occur in. Approximately 75% of all cyclones form in the Northern Hemisphere. In Australia, the cyclone season goes for a period of 6 months from 1st November to 30th April. This is most of spring, all of summer and just the start of autumn. The Atlantic hurricane season starts June and ends November. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from mid-May to November. The South Pacific cyclone season is from October to May. Natural disasters can be scary and unexpected but the tropical cyclone seasons comfort people more because they become less unexpected and therefore less scary.

Global warming is an issue and scientists are starting to think it could have an effect on tropical cyclones. It hasn’t yet been clearly proven that global warming is currently having a measurable effect on tropical cyclones. However, climate models have shown that tropical cyclones might intensify in the future if global warming continues. Climate models have also shown that the frequency of tropical cyclones will stay the same or even decrease as global warming continues. This means global warming could intensify tropical cyclones’ effect and do the opposite to the frequency.

Tropical cyclones can be brief issues or build up to being giant long-lasting catastrophes. The length of time a tropical cyclone lasts for depends on the favourability of the atmospheric environment, the movement of the tropical cyclone and sea surface temperatures. Most tropical cyclones persist for at least 3 days to even lasting for 7 days. Some weak tropical cyclones only just reach powerful wind force briefly. Some tropical cyclones can have a longer duration and persist for weeks if they stay in a favourable environment. Hurricane John is the longest tropical cyclone and lasted for 31 days. Hurricane Nancy stayed at category 5 status the longest, 5.5 days! This shows that there is a wide range of possible lengths for tropical cyclones to last for.

Tropical cyclones are strong but some things can stop them from persisting or even developing in the first place. A factor that can interfere with the formation and persistence of a tropical cyclone is if the vertical wind shear is high. Another way to stop a cyclone and its development is subsidence. This is when air sinks. Subsidence is also why any tropical storm that tries to form near a pre-existing tropical cyclone has a very hard time succeeding. These 2 possible occurrences can both very easily happen and prevent the formation and persistence of a tropical cyclone. This means affecting not just how they start but also their duration.

The idea that tropical cyclones and other weather can cause earthquakes is arguable. However, a new study shows the 2010 earthquakes in Haiti and Taiwan could’ve been triggered by tropical cyclones. The Haiti temblor happened 18 months after the same place was hit by 4 tropical storms. This can also happen in other mountainous areas that have been affected by tropical cyclones like Japan, the Philippines and possibly Central America. It would be very helpful to people in earthquake prone areas if this theory was clearly proven or not.

Other theories are presented about earthquakes’ timing and not everyone agrees. Geologists have ignored the idea that low atmospheric pressure linked with tropical cyclones can exert the timing of earthquakes. However, Dr Wdowinski says an investigation of the timing of earthquakes and tropical cyclones in Taiwan over the past 6 decades has shown a statistical correlation. A unique number of earthquakes with a higher magnitude than 6 occurred within 4 years of major tropical cyclones in the Far East. Even though some geologists ignore tropical cyclones could be connected with earthquakes other people like Dr Wdowinski has tried to prove there is some relation.

Another natural disaster that could possibly be caused by a tropical cyclone is a flood. Tropical cyclones are even dangerous because they can cause heavy rainfall and flooding. Tropical cyclones can cause different types of floods such as flash floods, urban/area floods, coastal flooding and river flooding. Floods can also be caused by a storm surge connected with a tropical cyclone.

Conclusion: Tropical cyclones are fascinating and can leave an awesome impact. This text is informative and will help people understand tropical cyclones better and therefore how to prepare for them. It’s very important to be informed of this to make sure people living in tropical cyclone-prone areas are aware. If this information is used in this manner people might design buildings better and sturdier to be ready for an incoming tropical cyclone. Never underestimate a cyclone because natural disasters might seem like a small occurrence but they can be unbelievably strong.


Latitude-the angular distance of a north or south place from the equator

Vertical wind shear-change of winds with height (strong jet of air)

Troposphere-the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere

Atmospheric pressure-pressure influenced by the weight of the atmosphere

Northern Hemisphere-part of Earth that is north of the equator

Atmospheric environment-envelope of air outside the earth

Subsidence-the sinking of air

Temblor-shaking of the earth’s surface caused by underground movement from the tectonic plates (an earthquake)



Systems Analysis:

Necessary Conditions:

Ocean waters at least 26°C
Moisture in the mid-troposphere
Unstable conditions
5° latitude from equator
Low vertical wind shear
Pre-existing disturbance

System Steps:

  • A cluster of thunderstorms over warm ocean waters
  • Water evaporates and condenses to form clouds (this releases heat)
  • The heat energy combines with the rotation of the earth and exerts the cyclone’s spinning and moves it forward
  • The cyclone moves over land or cooler waters and rapidly weakens
  • The cyclone will cause damage and destruction on land.
  • Most cyclones persist for 3-7 days. Weak ones can only briefly reach gale force but strong tropical cyclones can stay sustained for weeks.

If tropical cyclones didn’t weaken over land or cooler waters they would be more dangerous or move faster. This will mean that tropical cyclone-prone areas are in more danger. They could also become faster because they haven’t lost any strength. This means all tropical cyclones will change in terms of danger and strength.

Humans could invent more high-tech equipment to sense incoming tropical cyclones and be more prepared. We would have early alerts to signify people there is a dangerous tropical cyclone coming. They will be told to evacuate to avoid anyone getting hurt. We might also build more sturdy and safe buildings and structures.

Self assessment:

Open this in a new tab to access my self assessment:

Self Assessment Matrix


I’m proud of the research I did and all the new information I learnt not only about cyclones but some other natural disasters as well. I think I worked very hard and packed a lot of info into a small amount of time. The main thing I’m proud of is my organisation and how I used my time well to achieve a finished product within the time limit. I could’ve improved on my diagrams to plan them better and have clearer features. Having more time to think about it so it turned out clear and had a reasonable scale was necessary. I wanted to fit in a bit more research to have a better system analysis because most of it was from what I already knew. However, it turned out better than expected and explained the key stages. Lastly, my actual text I could’ve edited more and checked in with the assessment matrix more often to make sure I had covered all of the required.

You can also view this post on a word document if you prefer it (open it in a new tab to access it):

Tropical Cyclones

Debate-2nd Negative Speaker

Good afternoon Madam Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen. The topic for this debate is that Australian farmers should receive emergency payments from the government every time they experience drought conditions. We the negative team believe that this statement is false.

Now onto my rebuttal. Jared has said in our culture we help each other. I agree but a drought is slow unlike other natural disasters. Tsunamis, cyclones, earthquakes all hit without much warning but droughts can take years to have a major impact and farmers can easily prepare for them themselves. As a farmer they should be ready for a drought. And also, the government doesn’t need another issue on its mind that by the way, Jared has over-dramatized and exaggerated. Mietta has said farmers need more money to buy water during a drought. She said resources prices will go up. This might be true but there are ways to save water before a drought.

Our first speaker Max has already stated that for the government to give money to all farmers who experience drought conditions is silly because it’ll be too expensive. Today I’ll be explaining to you how farmers can handle drought conditions themselves. I’ll also be talking to you about the more important things for the government to spend their money on.

Now to my first point which is farmers can handle drought conditions themselves. The main way to prepare for droughts is to save as much water as you can. Don’t use water on any non-essential things like washing your car. How hard is that? If all farmers could do that it would majorly lessen the risk. Also, during a drought farmers have lots of time and according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s Monthly Drought Statement the rainfall has been above average each month since May 2016. This means droughts are less likely in most parts of Australia. So, rather than the government wasting their money on silly drought conditions the farmers should just take a little action and prevent any problems caused by a drought themselves.

Then to my second point which is the government has better things to spend their money on. What do you think the government should spend most of their money on? says that the thing that they choose to spend most of their money on is social security and welfare. This means helping people recover from financial problems. Things like droughts on farms which are slow and can take years to have a major impact don’t need the government’s money. Farmers have got years to prepare for them. Other people like pensioners or homeless people need this precious money way more than farmers. They cannot fix their problem without some serious help. So when you think about it there are some way more important things to fund the government’s money on than a small issue that can be dealt with easily and efficiently by farmers themselves.

So, Madam Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, in conclusion there are more important things for the government to spend their money on than drought conditions which is an issue that farmers can handle themselves anyway! And don’t forget, welfare is important but droughts are frankly stagnant! Thank you.

Ant’s feedback:

Really strong rebuttal
Great comparison to other natural disasters
Great the way you highlighted Jared’s over-dramitisation
Really clever points
Great use of cited sources
Great use of evaluative language
Excellent structure, timing & strong finish

Next steps- more practise to talk rather than read

Debate-1st Affirmative Speaker

Good afternoon Mr Chairman, Ladies and Gentleman. The topic for our debate is that populated areas should regularly practice what to do in preparation for natural disasters.

We define the topic as places with a population should often practise drills to prepare and be ready for natural disasters.

We the affirmative team believe that this statement is true.

I’m Charlie and today as first speaker on the affirmative team I will be talking to you about how simple and effective the drills are. I will also be talking about how vulnerable we are against natural disasters. Lastly I will be talking about how chaotic natural disasters can be so we have to be ready for them. Our second speaker Max will be talking about how doing drills will help you react more naturally and easily. Then our third and final speaker Farrah will be rebutting and talking about how many people die in natural disasters.

My first point is that the effect of a simple preparation for natural disasters has astonishing benefits to the loss when such disasters occur. It doesn’t take much to practise for natural disasters. All it involves is drills. This is so you get quicker and more familiar with the procedure. Imagine if you were at home alone and it flooded and you didn’t know what to do. What would you do? Well this system will help with a scenario like this.

Now to my second point which is that natural disasters are unstoppable and unexpected. They are extremely hard to predict and there isn’t a way to stop them. Even if we did discover a way in the future to stop them, by the time we had invented it the natural disasters would’ve got more intense over the years. Also the frequency of natural disasters has considerably gone up in the last few decades. So the fact that we’re vulnerable when it comes to natural disasters is a big issue.

My third and final point is that natural disasters are extremely chaotic. Sure they don’t sound bad. Put up your hands if you’ve been involved in a natural disaster. You might not have experienced a very serious one but believe me, they can be very chaotic. Severity of natural disasters are measured in lives lost, economic loss and how easy it is to rebuild and recuperate. One of the most devastating floods occurred in China in 1931 and 1 mil-4 mil people died because of it.

So Mr Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, in conclusion, drills to prepare for natural disasters are very simple and effective, natural disasters are unstoppable and unexpected and they are very chaotic which is why it’s vital to prepare for them. Thank you.

Ant’s feedback:

Well written, clear structure, excellent use of pathos, included convincing arguments,
Definition was mentioned but didn’t include defining the key term ‘populated’
To add authority you should be a bit more specific with sources. You said something “has gone up”- where is this info from? /how much has it ‘gone up’?
With more practise your cue cards would have been more organised and you would have been able to make more eye-contact & use gestures to emphasise and connect to your audience more

Integrated Studies Goals for Term 3-Natural Disasters/Extreme Weather


Unit Learning Goal 1: Science


I will understand that Sudden geological changes or extreme weather conditions can affect Earth’s surface.

I will to learn how avalanches and volcano eruptions affect Earth’s surface.


Unit Learning Goal 2: Science


I will compare data with predictions and use evidence in developing explanations.

I will use evidence in developing explanations for how avalanches and volcano eruptions occur.


Unit Learning Goal 3: Science


I will with guidance, pose questions to clarify practical problems or inform a scientific investigation.

I will with guidance pose questions to investigate avalanches and volcano eruptions.


Unit Learning Goal 5: Reading and viewing


I will investigate how the organisation of texts into chapters, headings, subheadings, home pages and sub-pages for online texts and according to chronology or topic can be used to predict content and assist navigation.

I will investigate how the organisation of texts into chapters, headings and subheadings can help with the understanding and navigation of info in information texts.


Unit Learning Goal 6: Writing


I will reread and edit student’s own and others’ work using agreed criteria for text structures and language features.

I will reread and edit student’s own and others’ information texts using comments stating use of text structure and language features.


Personal Learning Goals: During this unit, I will . . .


Present my learning and research in a way that’s understandable for different audiences.

Communicate ideas and collaborate when working in groups.

Use text structure to improve organisation of information texts.