Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Ocean around us - Te Moana Nui a Kiwa.

Since the beginning of term children have been sharing their stories and creating representations of their understanding and experience of the sea. This post will illustrate some of this learning as it develops.   (Posted by Anne)

Becky created a provocation on the light table with some blue cellophane, seaweed, shells, driftwood, netting and plastic whales.
The children used this space in different ways over the morning. Here Grace and Florrie make use of the lower shelf of the light table to  include 'the deep sea' in their play.



  A Story about Orca          By Elliott and Grace

  Elliott used her storytelling skills to create an orca adventure  for video. Grace took up her idea and was joining in with her whale as the video finished.  In Grace's story her orca did get free of the net and the two whales continued to swim around the ocean together, finding food.

A Find on the Nature Programme  25/2/16

Coincidentally, a few days later, on the nature programme, Nikki found some pieces of nylon net lying on the beach. Speculating on what might have caused the net to be there Nikki said, "I think a seal might have been trapped in it. But he's gone out of it now. Maybe some hunters put him in there. I've seen (pictures of )them many years ago being trapped." When asked if they were still trapped these days she said she thought so. "What do they do that for?" I asked. "Just to be mean to them," Nikki said. Nikki thought we should take the net off the beach. "Because we don't leave rubbish on the beach," she asserted. Other children joined in the discussion, talking about other sea creatures that could get caught in nets - birds, dolphins, sharks. Theo mentioned that a person could trip on it because it was hard to see on the beach and Macy, Aria and Grace all worried that horses could get their hoofs caught in it. All the tamariki agreed that the net should be kept out of the water and off the beach. So Nikki packed it into her bag and took it back to the kindergarten.

The Whale Rescue Video 26/2/16 
Back at the kindergarten, as we teachers discussed our day, the story of the finding of the net sparked a connection for Sally. She had recently found a fascinating whale rescue video and shared it with friends on Facebook. We made a plan to share it with the children at kindergarten the next day.  Throughout the day, children viewed it, showed it to their friends and family, and discussed it.
As we gathered on the mat before lunch I did a guided storytelling with the children. They took the roles of baby whale trapped in the net, fishermen setting the net to catch fish to eat, and sightseers finding the trapped whale and setting it free. The role of trapped baby whale was especially popular so we had to agree to continue the game later so more children could experience it. We also provided plastic sea creatures and pieces of net in the water trough for the children to play out the entrapment and rescue. This too, was a very popular activity. As the day finished,  the children were planning to play more of these games when they came back to kindergarten after the weekend.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Conversations about Weta

(Posted by Anne)

Keir, Grace and Bo discuss the weta they found and what they notice about them.

 Bo, Grace and Keir continue their discussion.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Learning about honey bees

When we returned after the summer holidays the sunflowers at kindergarten were in full bloom in the garden. We noticed that the bees and bumblebees were very busy collecting pollen and this has provided much interest and excitement with the children using books to research all about bees. 

Many of the children helped plant sunflowers all around the kindergarten and this has provided some amazing learning.


Acacia investigates the pollen with a magnifying glass.

Liam gets up close and comments " That is really cool pollen."

Unai comments" It's a big ginormous sunflower up close."

Caoimhe and Ciara study the detail of the sunflower. " It's got tiny flowers inside too." comments Ciara.

Today Danny brought a slide with a queen bee and a lot of worker bees for the children to look at. We learnt that bees are very important for the production of food, as bees fly from flower to flower, sipping on nectar and collecting pollen and in the process fertilize the plant. Bees have a special tongue that sucks up the nectar and a crop in their throat for storing it until they get back to their hive, where it is turned into honey to use as food. We have learnt that bees make static electricity on their flight to the flower and this is how the pollen sticks to their busy body. They then take the pollen back to the hive where it gets made into honey. To identify the queen bee, Danny puts a white dot on her. The queen is usually brown with a long and graceful body and the largest bee in the colony. All bees in the colony work together for the good of the hive, each has a job to do. We learnt that only the queen lays eggs in the hexagon cells, the larvae then hatch from the egg and the other worker bees’ feed them honey and then close up the hexagon cell. The larvae then change into a bee and then the bee emerges from the cell. Most larvae grow into worker bees. Worker bees collect the pollen and make honey to feed the larvae. We have learnt that only one queen lives in a hive and has two primary purposes, which are to produce chemical scents that help keep the unity of the colony and to lay lots of eggs. She is in fact an egg-laying machine, capable of producing more than 1,500 eggs a day at 30-second intervals. That many eggs are more than her body weight!  Danny also showed us the bee suit he wears to protect himself from being stung when he is collecting the honey or working at the hive. He showed us the smoker he uses when working on the hive to keep the bees calm. Honeybees rely heavily on pheromones to communicate throughout the hive. When bees think they are under attack, they release an alarm pheromone to alert the other bees, which agitates the entire hive. Smoke masks these pheromones and confuses the bees, allowing the beekeeper to work in the hive and keep the bees calm. We also got to see a hive up close, without any bees in it. The children continue to enjoy watching bees working around the sunflowers. What amazing insects they are.

Cole and Harry spend time investigating books about bees.
Penny learns all about the 'scout' bee, who looks for  pollen and nectar.
Noah and Ayva learn that bees are attracted to certain flowers.

                                Danny brought an empty bee hive to show the children. What amazing learning that went on.

Becky got dressed up in Danny's bee suit to show the children what Danny wears when he is collecting the honey from the hive or working with the bees.

The children are able to see real live bees at work in the glass slide. The queen had a white dot on her and was larger than the other bees,

When the bees get hungry over winter Danny feeds them some sweet liquid.

We were able to have a little taste, yum!

Special thanks to Danny for taking the time to bring his bees for the children to see and for sharing his wonderful knowledge. The learning was incredible.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Discoveries on the Nature Programme

A loop of rope sticking up out of the sand led to much speculation, investigation and hypothesizing as the children worked with Russell to dig.  "Here Russell, use this," said Grace, handing him a scallop shell to dig with. Then everyone else wanted one so Grace kindly went off to find some more.
Nikki was finding shells of her own. "A black shell! Cool! I like that," she said.
Looking down into the water in the hole, Joseph said, "It's a lot of  black."
"The water's black," Grace agreed.
"That's because we put black sand in," responded Elliott.
Elliott also had ideas about why the rope couldn't be pulled out of the sand. "Guys, I think I know. This, this knot, is tied. They tied it onto something and the thing is stuck. Forever. It's stuck there forever."
Later, Macy had another enthusiastic suggestion. "I know why you can't pull it out, Russell. A thousand crabs are holding on to the end of it!"
In the video below, the children continue their discussion of what their find might be.

(Posted by Anne)