ROCKPOOLING: Notes for Teachers 2
Shorewatch Biological Recording Information Page


Naturescope

The  'Naturescope' is provided by Hogg Laboratories and made by Invicta Ltd.

 The 'Naturescope' which is a 'mobile laboratory' for examination of the small animals of ponds, as well as insects etc. on land, and costs £11.40, plus postage. It is a micro-aquarium (you need to fill it with seawater) of clear plastic, with magnifying lens so that the smaller animals can be seen in close-up. It is lightweight (325 grams) with an adjustable strap so that it can be carried around the neck by a child of school age. This means that the youngster can have both hands free when clambering over slippery rocks on the shore.
 

Small Rock Pool Animals

I took the opportunity to test this product with the youngsters and brought along a few small animals including hermit crabs, sea anemones and prawns. This appealed to the youngest of the children up to the age of about 10 years old. They could view the small animals easily from lots of different angles and magnified through the central lens provided. However, I also supplied an additional magnifying lens which helped when observing through the side of the container.
 After an hour, the water had to be changed so that the small creatures remained alive and active. If you slopped the water about it came out the top of the scope. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it would discourage the creatures from being kept too long.
 There was a small instruction book with it, but this was not comprehensive and children would need to be told to return the rock pool creatures back to the habitats in which they were found.
 The scope was not tested to destruction, but it was dropped a few times, by accident, and still remained intact.

The Naturescope is also useful for holding seawater to take temperature and specific gravity  readings (using a bulbous hydrometer) as the instruments can be read through the side.

Naturescope
Supplier:  Hogg Laboratory Supplies Ltd, Sloane Street, Birmingham, B1 3BW.
Tel: 0121 233 1972.   Fax:  0121 236 7034. 


CD-ROM REVIEWS
 

Microsoft Oceans
 CD-ROM
 Microsoft Corporation 1995
 CD Set 473-052-009
 Price £29.99.

This CD-ROM introduces the browser to the mysterious world of the oceans. For anyone with a 486 Multimedia IBM compatible computer with at least 8 MB RAM*, a SVGA Monitor, and an interest in the oceans this product is worth having a look at if you get the chance. Whether it is worth buying depends what you want. For hard information rather than popular interest stuff, the books reviewed in this issue are my preference.

Scope

The opening illustrated menu divides the subject matter into Marine Life, People and the Sea, Guides and World of Water. The contents include over 700 articles, 1,000 photos and 1,000 audio clips, plus over 100 video sequences. This is entertainment rather than an academic text.
 Therefore, it will make an ideal Christmas present. The target audience is certainly a younger age group, which are familiar with computers, and for teenagers this is a valuable educational product. Serious students should have a look at the quizzes before they buy. If they can answer every question correctly, they might get frustrated.
 Although the UK version has British spellings, the examples of crabs etc. are mostly foreign. Microsoft Encarta is sometimes better for information on marine invertebrates, as well as the explanation about the tides.

* Technical specifications are lower, but it would not work on the trial 486 computer with 4 Mb RAM. It will run under Windows 3.1 or Windows 95. A Sound Card is necessary for the audio scenes.



Who's Who in the Environment
 England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
 Environment Council

These four books are the definitive guides to the major non-commercial organisations in the UK that are concerned with the environment on a regional or national level. They are indispensable to all environmental groups and local authorities and very useful for individuals as well.
 PC disk versions are also available, except for Northern Ireland data.
Order from:
Tel: 0171 824 8411 Fax: 0171 730 9941.

 NEW ADDRESS:

The Environment Council
212 High Holborn
London
WCIV 7VW

EMail: environment.council@ukonline.co.uk


Seashore Life
 CD-ROM
 Anglia Multimedia Ltd

This is a brief guide to the world of the British seashore for age group of between 6 to 12 years old. The CD-ROM will work on PC (IBM compatible) computers or on Macintoshs or Acorn computers. For a PC the minimum requirement is for a 386SX 20MHz with 4Mb RAM but it will run very slowly on such a system. A Sound Card is necessary to take full advantage of the software. A MPEG card installed will allow full screen video viewing. A VGA Monitor is the minimum requirement, but the photographs will come out much better on a SVGA display.

Lighthouse

The young student will start in a Lighthouse and be invited to click on one of six options to get the feel of life on the seashore. In this respect it succeeds quite well.
The Map enables you to explore different types of beaches and find the animals that live there.
The Bookcase is a basic database of some of the animals that you are likely to discover on the seashore. It is strong on birds but very weak on the rockpool fish and other creatures.
The Filing Cabinet shows why animals are classified into different groups.
The Television includes 24 small moving sequences and 13 animations. You really need the full screen for these, but they are still no match for a seashore video.
Boots and Bucket helps to identify animals that you cannot name. It is a good idea but the youngster will need help from a teacher.
Quiz Magazine is a quiz suited to the young student after he, or she, has explored the other options.
The information and photographs on the Estuary are good.

Teachers

The CD-ROM also contains Activity Sheets that a primary school teacher could use on a seashore trip. These are accessed through File Manager under Windows 3.1. The teacher will need to be familiar with the shore they are going to visit first, and will need some other books as well. The whole program is designed to work tie in conjunction with the National Curriculum.
 The images can be copied onto the computer hard disc.

Conclusion

Overall, my impression that this is a poor product, with errors, and certainly not worth a price tag of £39.95. Reduced offers may be available. There is simply too little information included.

The Seashore CD-ROM is now included in the Nature CD-ROM produced by Anglia (I have not checked whether this is the full product including the Activity Sheets), and the Seashore CD-ROM was also given away free on a magazine cover (effectively costing £5).

There is a web site for this CD-ROM.
Link:
Seashore Life  CD-ROM  (Anglia Multimedia Ltd)


Rockpooling

A 'Rockpooler' is a naturalist explorer of the shore. Rockpooling Reports in Glaucus are detailed studies introducing a visitor to various shores around the British Isles. The idea is to give rockpoolers information that may help them when visiting shores of which they are not familiar.



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