For teachers

Photo Teemu Saloriutta

Vanhankaupunginlahti phenomenon-based learning tasks for pupils in comprehensive school and upper secondary school

The phenomenon-based learning tasks can be used as part of phenomenon-based teaching, or as the programme for a theme day.

The questions presented in the tasks are intended to guide you in the beginning and to make it easier to approach the phenomenon. They are not intended to be followed literally or alone; rather, every group or student can carry them out individually, as is the nature of phenomenon-based learning.


1. Practical alternatives for the teacher for carrying out the path:

‘The class must remain under the monitoring of one teacher.’ – Only choose one phenomenon for all groups to examine.

‘The class must remain under the monitoring of one teacher, but the class is calm and well-behaved.’ – Instead of one phenomenon, you can choose two located close to each other so that the teacher has visual contact for both tasks. Such pairs could be Helsingfors and Fishing; Birdlife in Viikki (Pornaistenniemi bird watching tower) and Old sins of Vanhankaupunginlahti bay; or Birdlife in Viikki (Lammassaari bird watching tower) and Nature management.

‘Several teachers are participating.’ – The class can choose as many of the six different phenomena as there are teachers.


2. The phenomena should be picked at school beforehand. Get to know the website and phenomenon at school before going to the site. The actual work is carried out at school after the visit.


3. The alternative phenomena and their colour codes are listed at the starting point, marked in black on the map:

Helsingfors (marked on the map in light blue)

Fishing (marked on the map in summery yellow)

Birdlife in Viikki (marked on the map in orange, like the Helsinki metro) Note: the tasks at both the Pornaistenniemi and Lammassaari bird watching towers have the same content.

Sea levels with the changing climate (marked on the map in darker blue, like the buses in Helsinki)

Old sins of Vanhankaupunginlahti bay (marked on the map in brick red)

Nature management (marked on the map in green, like the Helsinki tram)


4. There are tips and online links for the teacher, listed below by task.



  • Why do you think Gustav I wanted to found Helsinki just here in 1550? Tips for the teacher: How did people make long journeys in the Middle Ages? What was considered valuable nutrition? How were residential areas protected?
  • A hundred years later, in 1640, it was decided that the centre of Helsinki would be moved to the area of the current Senate Square and Kruununhaka. After you go around the island, think about practical reasons for the decision. Tips for the teacher: At the time, Sweden was a superpower with a large fleet of ships for warfare. Large sailing ships did not cope well with the mouth of the Vantaanjoki river at the rocky bottom of the Vanhankaupunginlahti bay. In the spring, the river could also be threatening – how?
  • The Power Plant Museum is located in the Museum of Technology.
  • The dam prevents the migration of many species of fish into the Vantaanjoki, but taking down the dam would destroy industrial heritage from the end of the 19th century. Find out about the alternatives presented for the dam. Has the city decided what to do yet? Tips for the teacher: Report on the legal requirements for taking down the Vanhankaupunginkoski dam (in Finnish), The Vanhankaupunginkoski dam to remain as it is in Helsinki – the eastern fishway to be repaired (Yle news on 10 Jan 2017, in Finnish)
  • Look for an old picture of the rapids in the service. Take your own photo as close to the same place as possible. Tips for the teacher: A striking exhibition can be put together from the before and after photos.




Birdlife in Viikki

Tips for the teacher: The management and utilisation plan for the Natura 2000 area of the Vanhankaupunginlahti bird wetlands for 2015–2024 (plenty of useful information and answers to many questions).

  • What do you think draws waterbirds and waders to such an area? What about smaller passeriformes? What birds can you see or hear right now? Tips for the teacher: On the Species of Vanhankaupunginlathi page of this website presents many bird species found in the area. The board ‘The reed beds hide a wide range of different species’, located by the duckboards leaving for Lammassaari, has information on the reed beds and the various species.
  • Magnus von Wright can be considered the first ornithologist in Viikki in the 19th century. Who was he? Tips for the teacher: One hundred pictures painted by Magnus von Wright can be seen in Finna at the Helsinki City Museum.


Sea levels with the changing climate

*Please note:* The post does not yet have the centimetre scale. It is coming later.

Tips for the teacher: The current sea level can be checked on the Finnish Meteorological Institute website, and the City of Helsinki Flooding Instructions are available at


Old sins of Vanhankaupunginlahti bay

  • What did the Vantaanjoki river mean to the city? Tips for the teacher: Settlement, agriculture, industry, land and water traffic connections. A harbour operated in the area, and filling earth was brought in. The area has seen many kinds of uses. When the city moved, the area was a wasteland and dumping ground. Water from the river has been used for drinking – how is its quality?
  • Particularly in the 20th century, the area suffered in many ways. Talk about the most essential factors in the contamination of the soil and underwater benthal deposit in the area. Tips for the teacher: Agriculture, wastewater brought by the river and produced by the city, industry, dumping ground operations and waste combustion, ash dumping ground, wasteland. In addition, the state of the sea bed is affected by harmful substances brought in along the waters of Vantaanjoki from the time before proper sewage treatment.

Tips for the teacher: Many kinds of garbage, waste, and ash accrued on the wastelands, and the area was effectively a dumping ground. There were workshops and warehouses. This can be seen in the amount of heavy metals, nutrients, and harmful organic compounds present. The soil must be examined and if necessary, the contaminated soil removed and replaced with clean topsoil.


Nature management

Management and utilisation plans are drafted for all Natura 2000 sites in order to secure the conservational values of the areas. Start looking for answers in the Vanhankaupunginlahti management and utilisation plan (in Finnish), and complement the information with other sources.

Tips for the teacher:


Additional materials:
Wetland cards


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