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Gibberagong Environmental Education Centre

Gibberagong Environmental Education Centre

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Investigating Science – Intertidal Wetlands

Investigating Science: Cause and Effect: Observing; Inferences and Observations



Bobbin Head’s intertidal wetland is located in a drowned river valley on the Cowan Creek.

Using the scientific process, scientists and researchers are able to accumulate an evidence-based body of knowledge about the ecosystem functioning and the human interactions, providing a framework to manage human impacts.

Special Note

This program requires a low tide day to enable the students to study the crabs. Please ask our staff when you are making a booking.

Inquiry questions

How does observation instigate scientific investigation?

How does primary data provide evidence for further investigation?

How does the collection and presentation of primary data affect the outcome of a scientific investigation?

How do conclusions drawn from the interpretation of primary data promote further scientific investigation?

What inferences can be drawn from observations?

Learning Activities

Mangrove functioning

Students will learn about the mangrove forests, focusing on their importance and functioning.

Students will observe the two species of mangroves located in Bobbin Head to determine the differences and similarities. Through this process, they will learn about observation and inference.

Crab observations

Students will observe and record the appearance and behaviour  and draw inferences about what they have observed. They will also use keys to determine the species that live on the mudflats.

Crab distribution

Following the Working Scientifically process, they will observe and hypothesise to then plan and conduct an investigation for determining the abundance and distribution of crabs across the internal zone.

Water quality

Students will observe and infer the quality of the estuary water at Bobbin Head. They will then use scientific equipment to measure the water quality, including turbidity, pH and salinity to compare against their initial observations.

Aboriginal understanding of Country and Place

Students will visit a cultural significant site to learn about how Aboriginal Peoples use observations to develop an understanding of Country and Place.

Students will also learn about some of the plants that were used for medicinal purposes.

Excursion Locations

This program is offered at Bobbin Head. Click on the image to find out more about this site.

Sample Timetable

NOTE: Variations to timetable based on specific location, number of students and weather.

Time Class A Class B
10.00am Acknowledgement of Country, Welcome
10.10am Morning Tea

Water quality

Mangrove functioning

Aboriginal understanding of Country and Place

Crab observation

Crab distribution

Crab distribution

Crab observation

12.30pm Aboriginal understanding of Country and Place

Water quality

Mangrove functioning

1.30pm Lunch
2.00pm Finish and depart

Teacher Information

Download the program flyer

Excursion locations Bobbin Head
Bus access map

Map for access to venue will be sent with the confirmation

Please ensure you print a copy and provide to the bus driver on the morning of the excursion.


2023 DoE $15 per student - GST free

2023 Non-gov school cost $25 per student - GST free, minimum charge $575 per class. 

NOTE:  National Parks entry is $1.10 per student in addition

Class numbers and size

Up to 2 classes

Max. 30 students per class

Risk Assessments

Bobbin Head


What to bring

Backpack, medication, low-waste food, water bottle, sunblock, raincoat, hat, sturdy shoes, mask.

Students wear sports uniform.

Adverse weather
On days where the weather is unsuitable (see risk assessment), a Gibberagong staff member will contact the organising teacher to discuss alternative arrangments.
Medical notifications
Notify Gibberagong EEC by completing and returning the medical form before the excursion. This form will be sent out upon confirmation of booking.

Syllabus outcomes and content

Investigating Science Stage 6 Syllabus 


A student:

> develops and evaluates questions and hypotheses for scientific investigation INS11/12-1

> designs and evaluates investigations in order to obtain primary and secondary data and information INS11/12-2

> conducts investigations to collect valid and reliable primary and secondary data and information INS11/12-3

> selects and processes appropriate qualitative and quantitative data and information using a range of appropriate media INS11/12-4

> examines the use of inferences and generalisations in scientific investigations INS11-9


Module 1: Cause and Effect – Observing

Role of Observations


  • carry out a practical investigation to record both quantitative and qualitative data from observations, for example:

        - crab hole numbers across the intetidal zone

        - water quality

  • discuss and evaluate the characteristics of observations made compared to inferences drawn in respect of the practical investigation
  • assess ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples use observation to develop an understanding of Country and Place in order to create innovative ways of managing the natural environment, including but not limited to:

        - knowledge about plants for medicinal purposes

Observations as Evidence


  • use data gathered to plan a practical investigation to:

        - pose further questions that will be investigated

        - discuss the role of variables

        - determine the independent and dependent variables

        - formulate a hypothesis that links the independent and dependent variables

        - describe at least three variables that should be controlled in order to increase the validity of the investigation

  • develop a method to collect primary data for a practical investigation by:

        - describing how to change the independent variable

        - determining the characteristics of the measurements that will form the dependent variable

        - describing how the data will be collected

        - describing how the controlled variables will be made consistent

        - describing how risks can be minimised

Observing, Collecting and Recording Data


  • carry out the planned practical investigation, above, to collect primary data
  • apply conventions for collecting and recording observations to qualitatively and quantitatively analyse the primary data, including but not limited to: 

        - tabulation

        - graphing

  • compare the usefulness of observations recorded in the initial practical activity with the primary data gathered in this planned practical investigation 

Conclusions Promote Further Observations


  • draw conclusions from the analysis of the primary data collected in the practical investigation
  • evaluate the process of drawing conclusions from the primary data collected

Module 2: Cause and Effect – Inferences and Generalisations

Observations and Inferences


  • investigate the practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples that relate to observations and inferences, including but not limited to: 

        - leaching of toxins in bush tucker


Investigating Science Stage 6 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2017