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1982 STAQ Coastal physics Trial

This product is proudly Australian Made

ISBN : 0 9598303 8 3

Published Date : 01 June 1982

Product Code : 1982 STAQ

Format : PDF Free archive download

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Teachers Information


From the original unit. " My thanks must go to S.T.A.Q. for providing the financial backing and support for this project. Thanks also to my Mother and Father who deciphered and typed my bad writing; and to Len Zell of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority who read and critised the draft and for making many useful contributions. As this is a first draft any comments would be gratefully acknowledged."

From the original ....

The following helped and advised Allistair Martin (M.S.C. Tas.); David Kopelke (B.I.F.S.C. Qld); Jim Redfield (C.S.I.R.O.); Roy Jenkins (F.U.S.E.); Dennis Bridger; Ann Kenny; Graham Mitchell; Greg Martin; Steve Hall (G.S.H.S. ; Sue Oates; Merrin Kilgour (B.S.H.S.); and the Departments of Harbours and Marine, Fisheries, Oceanography, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, The Beach Protection Authority, Gold Coast WaterWays Authority and The Brisbane Education Centre for all their help.  

I also must pay tribute to the inspirtional leadership of Dr Cec Burr from the Mt Gravatt College of Advanced Education, whose STAQ conferences were an inspiration.  Special mention to Bob McAllistar from STAQ whose provided the leadership to have the trial materials published and to the Brisbane Education Centre Judi Zolecki for typing the drafts.

Syllabus topic Man, Resources and Environment


The extent and type of resource development in any society depends on the goals and values of that society. These goals and values are not determined in isolation but are historically and culturally conditioned. 

Two kinds of processes may follow from this realisation.

Firstly, better management and planning can be called for, aimed to minimise the 'less than desirable consequences of resource development; for example, State Governments in Australia legisl­ate to control exhaust emissions from cars to minimise the effect of these emissions on the environment. 

In addition, a re-evaluation and possibly modification of social goals may occur simultaneously. For example re-evaluation of the consequences of unrestrained personal urban mobility has lead to improved public transport systems.

One purpose of the topic 'Man, Resources and Environment' is to increase awareness of such processes, and thus encourage responsible participation in them.

Bob saw that the concepts of beach erosion caused by building too close to the coastline and the processes by which it occurred, fitted perfectly into this topic.


This unit resulted from funding from sales of the STAQ Marine Science series produced through through the Brisbane Education Centre.  The brainchild of Bob Moffatt, it drew on his experience as a surfer growing up in the 1960's at Alexandra Headlands Queensland and the way Physics could be applied to Marine Science in the new Multistrand Science syllabus topic  - Man, Resources and Environment.

Bob was greatly helped by his mentors from the STAQ executive at the time (Bob McAllistar, Cecily Gredden) and the great conferences run by leaders such as Drs Jack Marsh, Cam McRobbie, Cec Burr, David Tulip and Keith Lucas.

In the forward he wrote: 


Australia's coastline forms a special place in our environment because over 90% of us live there. Due to different Ecological, Economic, Social and Recreational interests many conflicts arise over the use of our Estuaries, Beaches and Barrier Reefs. Sand Mining, High Rise development, Longline Fishing, Low water Land sales, Resort development and oil Pollution are but a few of the real issues that face us now. There is an urgent need for all Australians to develop an attitude towards sensible resolution of these conflicts. This set of notes is one in a series that hope­fully will give students the skills necessary to become involved in these issues and make sensible contributions to coastal environ­mental decision making. In doing so I hope that the coastline may be managed in such a way that future Australians will derive as much pleasure out of it as I have. 

The purpose of this TRIAL unit was to see

a. if marine science activities could be used to match the new Qld Multistrand Science syllabus

b. If they actually worked

c. if they received a favourable peer review at BSSS moderation meetings

Support Material

School ripple tanks
Beach Protection Authority Pamphlets 


Waves, currents and beaches

Wave formation
Breaking waves
Wave reflection and refraction
Beach currents
Point diffraction
Wave set up and set down
Longshore currents
Depositional landforms from longshore currents
How Man interfere with longshore currents
Beach erosion
Classroom experiments waves, refraction, currents and groins


The importance of tides
Sun, Earth Moon systems
The Moon's orbit
Rotation fo the Moon
Gravitation and tides
Daily tides
Spring and Need tides
River tides
Investigations - Plotting the tide and Tide Models by FUSE