Pasir Ris Park Mangrove Boardwalk

We were at Pasir Ris Park Mangrove Boardwalk yesterday for #2 of #sglittleXplorers series, collaboration with Familytrippers.

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Pasir Ris Park is more popular for its beach and its ‘spiderweb’ playground…

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Source: Little Day Out

But right in the middle of the whole stretch, there’s a small area of mangrove.
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Getting there

Public transport: About 5-10 min walking distance from Pasir Ris MRT station. You’ll need to walk towards Downtown east.

Driving/ Cab/ Uber:
1. Carpark B, enter from Pasir Ris Drive 3. Unfortunately, Carpark B is still not in Google Map, but you can search for the sheltered pavilion, Piai Plaza. Google map coordinates here.
2. Carpark C.

Boardwalk trail

About 1-2 hour walk. No soiled-path. It’s a boardwalk throughout without any slope. No cycling allowed, but I guess you can push your pram if you’re coming with kids.

The best time to visit is in the morning because it is low tide. During low tide, you’ll get to see the roots and creatures. Then, just as you end, you can see that the water level is higher compared to what it was when you walked in. I feel, this makes a good observation and comparison for the kids. They will also able to appreciate the conditions and environment of the mangrove as an ecosystem with distinctive features due to influences of tidal movement.


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Source: Lumingardus

So, what are some of the interesting sightings and learning adventures we had?

Sea Poison

Sea poison is commonly found in back mangrove region.
IMG_20161231_094817.jpgPretty sight of pinkish flowers on the ground welcomed us just a few metres before the start the boardwalk.

The bud swell in the daytime, the whitish part in the photo below, and bloom only after sunset.
fb_img_1485860024306Flowers on the ground is a usual sight every morning, because after these flowers bloom at night, they eventually fall off from the tree, by sunrise the next day. Strong fragrance is also present only after sunset.

Why this special adaptation? Well, these flowers are pollinated by insects that are more active at night, common example is moth.
fb_img_1485678874486The flowers are white, because these animals do not have colour visual at night. Hence, it’s not necessary for them to be brightly-coloured, as observed in most of other insect-pollinated flowers.
fb_img_1485678870954The fruit is a fibrous husk as its seeds are dispersed by water, a typical feature of most mangrove plants.

p/s Do you know that another common flower that emits fragrance at night and is pollinated by moth too is spider lily. Spider lily is commonly found in neighbourhood area, so do lookout for it!
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Pong Pong tree

IMG_20170130_102008.jpgPong pong is quite well-known as a poisonous plant. The parts of the plant that are poisonous are the seeds and the latex/white sap from the bark and leaves.

The fruit floats as dispersal of seed is by water, a common feature of most mangrove plants. The fruit is eventually left as a fibrous husk, as seen in the photo above.

We were also lucky to spot a shoot growing from the seed in the husk!
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Vivipary

mangrove-ecosystem-32-728A common reproductive adaptation of mangrove plants is vivipary. The conditions of the environment is harsh for a typical germination of seed in the soil. To increase higher rate of survival of offsprings, the plants undergo vivipary.

viviparous-reproductionThe seedling (also called propagule) will grow on parent plant, mainly to receive nutrients. It’ll become heavy and eventually fall. It’ll float in water and then rooted in soil to grown into a young plant.

We were lucky to spot a few propagules hanging on a plant.img_20161231_100344_01

If you’re at the boardwalk, lookout for the Vivipary info board below.
img_20161231_100411You’ll have a higher chance to spot propagules from the tree right behind the board.

As we walked further down, we also saw a propagule perhaps only recently rooted into the mud and growing into a young plant.
photogrid_1485785429398Really cool to spot them at the different stages!

Oh, and another interesting fact about the propagule. One end of it is more water-absorbent. And, there’s a reason for it! When it drops into the water, it float horizontally. But due to one end of the tip being more water-absorbent, that end becomes heavier, enabling it to float vertically and eventually heavy enough to sink and rooted into the mud. Cool stuff, right!

Fish tail palm

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The leaves of this plant looks like a fish tail, hence the name. A 4-yo participant also pointed out that it looks like someone bit it. And, he pointed out a good observation cuz there’s a reason for it! The leaves appears as though it had been bitten so that insects will not feed on it.

Roots adaptations

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Avicennia plants have pneumatophores (Pencil-like roots)
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Bruguiera plants have Knee roots
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Rhizophora plants have stilt roots. They also have prop roots growing out from the branch into the soil.

Aerial roots adaptations are observed in mangrove plants because of low oxygen concentration in the mud. The roots “appear” out of the soil to increase exposure for oxygen.

And that’s pretty much some of the interesting sights we had at Pasir Ris Mangrove Boardwalk. Do make a visit soon to learn more about the mangrove ecosystem!

 

5 Activities for respiratory sytem

 

respiratory
Source: BBC Bitesize

1. Model Making

Introduce the parts of respiratory system by making a model using straws of different sizes and Q-tips. Large size straws using straw from bubble tea, regular straw and a narrow straw, such as those for hot coffee (but don’t forget to cut it through the middle).

respiratory system
Model of respiratory system using straws

Start with the bubble tea straw to represent trachea, then regular straws to represent bronchi, coffee straws as bronchiols and finally the cotton end of Q-tips as alveoli (similar to the sac-like shape of alveoli). What you’ve done is a model to represent the passageway of air as you breath in and out.

Use of analogy
You can also compare this to the road system, for example…
Trachea ≈Expressway
Bronchi ≈ Exit of expressway (unlike expressway with multiple exits, there are only 2 bronchi in our body)
Bronchiole ≈Regular roads (branches off to streets and avenues, similar to branching observed in bronchiole)
Alveoli ≈ Carpark (loading and unloading taking place in carpark is similar to gaseous exchange taking place in alveoli)

2. Model of lungs

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Source: Science Sparks

What’s the science behind it?
When you pull down the knotted balloon, it increases the volume in the bottle, which lowers the pressure. As the environment has high pressure than the model, air rush in (because air moves from high to low pressure), hence inflating the balloon in the bottle. As the knotted balloon is released, volume in the bottle decreases, hence pressure increases. Hence, air moves out from the balloon and it deflates.

How similar is the model to lungs?

lungdiab
Source: Hyper Physics

The knotted balloon in the model represents the diaphragm. Diaphragm is dome-shaped muscles located below the lungs. Its rhythmic contraction and relaxation results in breathing. Pulling down the knotted balloon is similar to diaphragm contracting. When the diaphragm contracts, it moves downwards, increasing volume of chest cavity.

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Source: Online Sources

When the knotted balloon is released, it represents relaxation of diaphragm. The diaphragm moves upwards when it relaxes, decreasing the volume of chest cavity.

4. Chest measurement

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Source: Vlinder

During inhalation, chest moves upwards and forward as it expands.

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Source: Ekshiksha

Grab a measuring tape to do a simple activity with your child. Lets compare the measurement of chest during inhalation and exhalation. Your child can compare the measurement and you can use this results to link to concepts of breathing. Also, let your child to do it on friends and family members too to inculcate scientific skills such measurement and communicating data.. You can use template here to record the results.

template chest measurement acitivity
Click to download template

Extension (for 10 years old above)
Make it into project for your child as he/she do the measurement on friends and family members. Extend it for your child to make it into a report or poster to incorporate science skills and elements of STEAM.

template poster for chest measurement acitivity
Click to download template

Incorporation of STEAM (where applicable)
Science skills: measurement, recording results, communicating data into table/graph
Technology: Use of Powerpoint to make poster/report
Art: Design of poster/report
Math: Use of table, comparison of data

Not sure how to start? Grab the template here!

5. Measuring breathing rate

Here’s another idea for a science project. Why not compare the breathing rate for various activities?

template breathing rate acitivity
Click to download template

To determine breathing rate, count for each time you breathe in for 1 minute.

Through this activity, you can introduce the concept that breathing rate increases during strenuous activity.

Science behind it
During physical activity, such as running, the muscle cells need more energy. Breathing rate increases to transport oxygen at a faster rate to cells to increase the rate of respiration, hence release more energy.