Horowhenua College students have been getting up close and personal with some slimy creatures as part of their technology and science learning.

Partnership Through Collaboration Trust (PTC) has been providing students from the technology and science faculties at the college with practical, hands-on opportunities to explore the curriculum areas, including visits where they were able to conduct experiments and take part in practical activities.

Earlier this year, students visited Te Hakari Wetlands at Kuku Beach to conduct water quality testing and see first-hand the restoration of the low quality farmland into a conservation area to improve the quality of its surrounding waterways.

The students measured the quality of the water to see how it changed throughout the wetlands and were able to see how this affected the life that existed in it, said Horowhenua College head of technology Carol Adams.


A number of different types of birds were observed, with the quantity and variety of birds having improved over the life of the wetlands.

Ms Adams said the students really enjoyed planting a range of native shrubs and trees which will help protect the wetlands once they are grown.

They later visited Victoria University's new biological science laboratories as part of their testing of the water quality of New Zealand rivers and wetlands.

Groups carried out activities to understand the dangers of cross contamination when working in a laboratory and the importance of following strict safety requirements, before looking into any bacterial growth.

"The students made swabs to grow coliform bacteria from animal intestines that can contaminate other animals and plants in the water. They then looked at nitrates and phosphates and how these affect our water quality," Ms Adams said.

"Students had the opportunity to dissect freshwater mussels to see how the filtration system works to take up the bacteria.

"They learnt how these elements are absorbed and removed from our waterways through the mussels and realised how you can get sick if you eat the contaminated kutai."
Ms Adams said the pupils had a great deal of fun checking out the shapes and colours of the bacteria under the microscope.

An exhibition of the students' findings will be on display at Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-po, Levin, running for a week from August 13.