It was a fantastic prizegiving for Room 3. Congratulations to Mizuki who was awarded the Squire/Strang Fine Arts Cup for his outstanding performance in visual arts, Sativa who received the Duncan Sports Cup for being the Year 6 girl's most outstanding sportsperson and Charlotte for receiving the rosette for being Room 3's most outstanding student.
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Tuesday, 12 December 2017
Monday, 11 December 2017
We used information from the Department of Conservation (DOC) to compare and contrast the hedgehog and the mouse.
Animal pests such as possums, rats and stoats are well known for eating the eggs and young of our native birds and destroying plants and trees. However these are not the only introduced pests that threaten the survival of our native plants and animals. Two lesser known, but equally problematic pests are the hedgehog and the mouse.
Size - Avengers
Although relatively small in stature, the hedgehog and the mouse can still cause big problems for New Zealand’s flora and fauna. One of the smallest pests in New Zealand is the mouse. This small brown\grey rodent is measured 10cm long. Slightly bigger the hedgehog measures 20-30 cm long. The hedgehog is a small brown creature with sharp spines covering their bodies.
Eat Native Species - Justice League
When hedgehogs were first brought to New Zealand it was thought that they would only eat slugs and snails, but the settlers were unaware that soon this pest was going to eat native animals such as lizards, snails and invertebrates. They also eat eggs and chicks of birds especially those that nest on the ground, for example the dotterel and tern. Hedgehogs are also known to consume weta and giant centipedes. One hedgehog was found with 283 weta legs in its stomach. The mouse might be small but they have an enormous appetite eating a range of native plants and animals such as bird’s eggs, chicks, invertebrates, leaves, seeds, fruits, fish eggs and insect larvae.
Brought to New Zealand - X-Men
Historical evidence states that it was early European settlers who were responsible for introducing both the mouse and the hedgehog to New Zealand. However it is believed only the hedgehog was brought here intentionally. The hedgehog was brought to New Zealand by early settlers to make them feel more at home. People thought that the hedgehogs would eat slugs and snails from vegetable gardens but people didn’t realise that they would endanger our native environment. However the mouse was different as it was accidentally brought here with the early settlers on ships and boats.
Maori Names - Guardians of the Galaxy
The Maori have given names to both of these pests. The hedgehog in Maori is known as tuatete. The English name hedgehog comes from pigs (hogs) because of the grunting noises they make. Mice also have a Maori name which is kiore, they share this name with rats too. When mice first arrived in New Zealand, they were not known as mice but Henrietta’s. This is because they arrived on the Australian ship the Elizabeth Henrietta in 1824.
Although both pests are known to wreak havoc on New Zealand’s flora and fauna evidence suggests it is the mouse that has the greatest negative impact in comparison to the hedgehog. The mouse far outnumbers the hedgehog, has a greater appetite (eating a wider variety of plants and animals) and can cover a wider area as they can also climb trees. When pests and predators were introduced to Aotearoa they took a serious toll on the survival of our native plants, birds, reptiles and invertebrates, who were ill equipped to deal with the threat. To this day animal pests continue to be a major threat. Therefore controlling these pests is essential for the survival of our special native plants and animals.
Thursday, 7 December 2017
Tuesday, 5 December 2017
After reading about New Zealand's possum problem in "Designed for Good" by Philip Cleaver, we created advertisements for products that use the meat and fur to encourage people to tackle the problem.
Possum Coat by Charlotte
Possum Pants by Harrison
Possum Pie by Harrison
Possum Pies by Kristy
Possum Pie by Nikhil
Possum Socks by Sam
Possum Pie by Alexus
Monday, 4 December 2017
Tuesday, 28 November 2017
Monday, 27 November 2017
Sunday, 26 November 2017
After reading 'Saving Poorman's Stream' by Maggie Lilleby the Justice League evaluated the claim 'The council should be responsible for cleaning up rivers and streams'.
Many New Zealand streams and rivers are polluted with rubbish, including Poorman’s stream in Nelson. Poorman’s stream was monitored by a group of school children which led to the formation of a local volunteer clean up group. However we question whether it is the responsibility of the local community or the council to maintain the health of local streams and rivers.
One reason why the council should have been responsible for the clean up of Poorman’s Stream was because they had the resources. Councils have tips and refuse centres that can dispose of any rubbish collected. A further reason in support of council’s being responsible for the health of rivers and streams is that the council can pay people to clean rivers and streams. They can budget for clean up crews and allocate funds accordingly.
On the other hand one reason why the local community should clean up the streams is because it is the local people who are polluting the streams and rivers. Mitchell, a local school boy said that “most of the rubbish is near the bridges that people walk across,” this indicates that it is the local people who are throwing rubbish into the local stream. Another reason why it should be local people and not the council cleaning up is that they are more willing to volunteer and clean up streams compared to the council. Lots of people wanted to take part and volunteer in cleaning up Poorman’s stream, including school students from all five of the nearby schools.
We believe the council should help with river and stream cleaning by collecting and disposing of large items of rubbish but ultimately, the local community should be responsible for cleaning and maintaining local rivers and streams since they contributed significantly to the problem in the first place. It is important to maintain river and stream health because there are many native birds such as the kotare that rely on the local streams as a vital food source. If you discover rubbish and pollution in any local waterways it is best to contact your local council or the Department of Conservation (DOC) immediately.
Wednesday, 22 November 2017
The X-Men discovered a whakatauki - Maori proverb in the text 'Kaupapa Kereru". This led them to discover some more whakatauki that resonated with them. How do you interpret these whakatauki?
Tuesday, 21 November 2017
In writing we wrote about a range of native birds. See more great examples on our individual blogs.
Ruru by Nikhil
Fantail by Jacky
Kotare by Alexus
Kaka by Tariq
Harrier Hawk by Harrison
Black Robin by Brianna L
Kakapo by Charlotte
New Zealand Falcon by Joshua
The Tui by Liam
The Weka by Suyash
Monday, 20 November 2017
Sunday, 19 November 2017
Continuing our inquiry into the native bush we collaborated on a cause and effect of introduced species to New Zealand.
Possums, rats and stoats have had a huge impact on our environment since their introduction to Aotearoa. To combat these pests New Zealand has an ambitious aim to be rid of them all by 2050.
Possums were introduced to New Zealand from Australia in 1837 to establish a fur trade. However there numbers soon grew to such an extent that there is now approximately 30 million possums in New Zealand. The effect of this invasion is the serious damage of native trees. Possums eat a huge number of leaves. This can stress a tree so much it will eventually die. Some forests have lost all of their rata and kamahi, two of the possum’s favourite species. Possums have no natural predators in New Zealand therefore numbers must be controlled with traps, poison and by being hunted.
Stoats are public enemy number one and were introduced to New Zealand by European settlers in 1879 to control the number of rabbits and hares. An unexpected effect of their introduction though was to cause the extinction of many native birds. Stoats attack birds that nest in trees such as the mohua and kaka. Stoats can take out eggs, chicks and incubating adults in one go. The stoat has also caused many subspecies to become extinct such as the bush wren, laughing owl and the New Zealand thrush.
Norway (brown or water) rats were introduced to New Zealand unintentionally by being stowaways on the boats and ships that arrived in the late 1700’s. The introduction of rats contributed to the extinction of some native bird species. Rats are especially dangerous because they are able to climb the trees and enter the nests of native birds.
Possums, rats and stoats are New Zealand’s most wanted pests having caused the destruction of the native bush and the extinction of native birds and animals. To protect our native forests, animals and plants we must rid these species from our shores for good.
After reading "Kaupapa Kereru" by Ross Calman the X-Men used a SOLO Hot map to compare the kereru with the kakapo.
When walking through the bush, you’re likely to hear kereru crashing through the trees, wings flapping noisily. You may also catch a glimpse of their plump shape and sleek, colourful plumage. Another native bird you may encounter, if you are lucky, is the largest flightless parrot in the world, the kakapo.
Native to New Zealand - Liam and Connor
The kereru and kakapo are amongst many birds native to Aotearoa. The kereru can be found in the lowland, native forests of the North and in the South island. The kakapo is found in the forested islands of Maud island and Little Barrier Island.
Vulnerable to Extinction - Arav and Sam
Like many of our native birds, the kereru and kakapo is under threat of extinction. The kereru is under threat by Illegal hunting. Some other threats include being eaten by animals such as cats, possums, stoats and rats. These creatures have been reducing the numbers of kereru over the years. The kakapo however is in more immediate danger as numbers have reduced to only 126 birds.
Eggs in nests - Siya and Sarah
Both the kereru and kakapo build nests to lay eggs and raise their young. Kereru lay between one to three eggs depending on the food source available. The nest is an untidy platform that sits in the trees. The parents lay one egg at a time and take turns looking after their young which takes about a month to hatch. However the kakapo is different as it lays between one to four eggs on the forest floor.
Organisations helping protect them - Angelika and Sativa
Luckily for the kereru and kakapo there are organisations that have been formed to help protect them. Kaupapa Kereru was first created in 2000 by Ngai Tahu to help protect the kereru. Actions Kaupapa kereru have taken have been growing plants that kereru eat, trying to keep cats away from breeding grounds and schools have also been helping by making and selling kaupapa kereru calendars. As for the kakapo a partnership between D.O.C and forest and birds was formed to protect the kakapo.
Although both birds are taonga to Aotearoa it is the kakapo that is under more serious threat of extinction. Therefore we need to take action to prevent their loss by donating money and volunteering our time to the D.O.C and forest and bird, as well as helping eradicate threats such as cats, dogs, stoats and rats.
Thursday, 16 November 2017
As part of our inquiry into the New Zealand Bush we compared two of our most destructive pests - the Possum and the rat.
The New Zealand native bush is home to a large variety of flora and fauna. However not all of these species are native or even helpful to the bush ecosystem. Certain animals have done immense damage to the native New Zealand bush. Two such animals are the possum and the rat.
Introduced Species - X - Men
Both the rat and possum were introduced to New Zealand from other countries. The possum was brought from Australia in the mid 1800s to be used for fur. Whereas the rat was not brought here intentionally, they were stowaways on ships that carried Polynesian settlers in the 1250’s - 1300’s. Ship rats or Norway rats came to New Zealand with the first European settlers. The introduction of rats is thought to have contributed to the extinction of native birds.
Pests - Guardians of the Galaxy
The possum and the rat are both pests. They both wreak havoc on the New Zealand bush. Possums eat seedlings and leaves preventing the regrowth of native trees, they also devour buds, fruit, flowers, fungi, insects and eggs. The rat similarly eats eggs but also birds and is responsible for killing native species of birds and bats. Although both destructive pests possums are considered more dangerous due to their large numbers, there is thought to be around 30 million possums in New Zealand.
Numbers being controlled - Avengers
We all know that possums and rats are some of the biggest pests in the native bush. They destroy many important resources like native trees, birds and eggs. People are trying to control the number of possums by shooting and setting traps to kill them. To control rat numbers people such as the Department of Conservation (D.O.C) have enlisted the help of inventors to create self setting traps.
Other uses - Justice League
Although possums and rats are considered pests there are other uses for these animals. Possum fur can be used to make hats, gloves and scarfs. Possum meat can also be used for cooking purposes such as Possum Pie. Rats can be useful in numerous ways, one of these uses is for scientific experiments such as testing different types of medicine. Rats can also be household pets, as rats can be trained to do a variety of tricks.
The native New Zealand bush is a taonga and needs our help in preserving it. We believe it is essential that pest numbers are controlled to preserve our native bush. The possum and rat need to be targeted with new and improved traps in order to reduce further damage to our native bush.
Monday, 13 November 2017
"The Bush Supermarket" by Julie Stroud inspired us to analyse how native birds interact with our native bush.
All ecosystems, whether they are marine, freshwater or located in native bush, involve relationships between plants and animals. In our native bush there is an important relationship between birds and our plants and trees.
Fantail - GOTG
The fantail or piwakawaka eats flying insects, caterpillars and spiders low down among the ferns and tree ferns in the bush. The fantail is able to eat these insects as they use their upright tails for hovering and have bristles around their beak which act like a net. If the fantail was to be removed from the bush ecosystem the number of insects would multiply. Pest insects would spread disease and damage crops meaning fewer native plants and trees.
Wood Pigeon - GOTG
Many of our native trees depends on the wood pigeon or kereru to eat their fruit and spread seeds. The bird’s loss would be a disaster for our bush. Native plants are dependent on birds for successful seed dispersal and regeneration. Once a seed has passed through the digestive tract of a bird, it will often be dropped far away from the host tree’s location, enabling the tree to potentially colonise a new area. Without the kereru native trees would not grow as widely. Trees are needed for oxygen, shelter and to control the temperature and without them our world would not be the same
Harrier Hawk - X-Men
The Harrier hawk has a vital role in the bush environment as it cleans up the leftovers of dead animal carcusses. By doing that role the bacteria from carcusses will not spread disease across the forest. The Harrier Hawk also controls pests such as rats and mice. Without the hawk controlling numbers the rats, mice and rabbits would destroy seedlings and spread disease.
Kingfisher - Avengers
The kingfisher or kotare eats small fish called minnows, shrimps, crayfish and frogs. If the kingfisher was removed from the bush ecosystem the food chain would collapse. There would be an overpopulation of fish, frogs and crayfish. This would mean there would be more competition for food sources meaning more animals would die.
New Zealand native birds have a key role in the pollination and seed dispersal of our native flora as well as protecting the bush from predators. Birds are essential to ensure the future of our native bush ecosystem for generations to come. Therefore it is important to protect them from harm by conserving our native bush.
Sunday, 12 November 2017
After reading 'The Bush Supermarket" by Judy Stroud the X-Men, Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy compared the fantail and the wood pigeon.
New Zealand is home to a range of birds that live nowhere else on earth. Our unique and remarkable native birds include the kiwi, weka, kotare, pukeko, takapu, tui, ruru and many more. Many of these birds are found in our native forests and bush. We are comparing two native birds, the fantail and the wood pigeon.
Maori named a lot of our native birds including the fantail and the wood pigeon. The Maori name for the wood pigeon is kereru and the name for fantail is either piwakawaka, tiwakawaka or piwaiwaka. Maori also have a long history of using native birds as a food source and for clothing. However it was only the wood pigeon that was used as a food source.
The fantail and wood pigeon are both located within the New Zealand bush. The wood pigeon is located at the top of the trees because this is where they can find, fruits, berries and nectar. The fantail is however located lower down amongst the ferns close to its food source.
Both the wood pigeon and the fantail feed on items found in the native bush. The fantails diet consists of flying insects, caterpillars and spiders. Whereas the wood pigeon’s diet consists of fruit, vegetable, juices, leaves, flowers and nectar. This is ideal food for a slow and noisy flyer like the wood pigeon.
Both birds have adapted differently to help them survive in the bush environment. The fantail has evolved to use its upright tail for hovering and has bristles around the beak that act like a small net. These features help the fantail to catch small insects. On the other hand the wood pigeon has features such as large wings to help it fly high in the trees to find fruits, berries and nectar.
Many New Zealand native birds have adapted to survive and thrive in their natural habitat, however some of our native birds are under threat from pests such as possums, and from humans through the destruction of native bush to make way for houses. We believe it is important to protect native species through the eradication of pests such as possums.
Thursday, 9 November 2017
We conducted an experiment with celery, water and food colouring. Plants absorb water through their roots through a process called osmosis. The water travels up tubes in the stems to all parts of the plants, and is used during photosynthesis to make food for the plant. When food colouring is added to the water, it travels with the water into the celery's stem and then into the leaves. Plants also absorb nutrients from the soil through the roots and up through the phloem in the plant's stems. The food colouring illustrates how nutrients are delivered to all parts of the plant.
As part of our inquiry into the environment we conducted an experiment with feathers and oil. When an oil spill occurs in the ocean hundreds of thousands of birds are killed. Oil spills cause the bird’s feathers to loose their buoyancy which makes it much harder for the birds to float in water. Feathers also help the bird maintain a constant body temperature. When the feathers are penetrated with oil, the bird becomes vulnerable to hot and cold temperature fluctuations and extremes. Additionally, when birds which have been coated in oil try to preen themselves, they ingest the oil causing liver and kidney problems. Much of the bird’s food is also coated in oil furthering the ingestion of oil. Because of this and the limited foraging abilities, most birds suffer from dehydration and starvation. We discovered that the most effective way to clean oil covered feathers is to use a mild detergent.
Wednesday, 8 November 2017
Tuesday, 7 November 2017
Sunday, 5 November 2017
After reading 'Plants that Store Water' by Gillian Shannon the X-Men collaborated on a compare and contrast map and summary.
The desert is a hot, barren environment that makes for difficult conditions for plants and animals to survive. However there is one plant that is synonymous with the desert and that is the cacti. The cacti has adapted to live in an often inhospitable environment. We are comparing the cacti with another plant that is commonly found in backyards, florists and supermarkets, the rose.
The cacti and rose are similar in that there are many different varieties. There are over 100 types of roses such as modern garden rose, the climbing rose and the David Austin rose. However the cacti far outnumbers the rose with over 2000 types including the artichoke cactus, peyote and the cactus commonly seen in cartoons and movies, the saguaro cacti.
Both the cacti and rose like all plants need water to survive. A cactus can store water in their stems however roses don't store water and therefore need to be watered often. Roses transport essential nutrients in water through their roots or leaves.
Like all plants roses and cacti have leaves. However the leaves on cacti are very different compared to other plants. Most cacti have lots of spikes or needle like leaves, which act like an umbrella to protect the cacti from the hot sun and also prevent animals from eating them. Alternatively the rose has pinnate leaves. Pinnate leaves have a feather-like appearance and do not protect the rose but help absorb sunlight and water to help the plant grow.
The cacti and rose both have uses beyond being decorative. The cacti can be used for shelter by many animals and insects. The cacti can also provide water to people travelling through the desert as well as being turned into food such as jelly. The rose can also be eaten in the form of sweets and drunk as a flavouring in syrups. The rose also adds scent to perfumes and can even be used in medicines such as rosehip oil.
Overall we believe the cacti is a greater plant to have. Cacti are easier to grow as they don’t require as much watering, they can provide relief from thirst if you are in the desert and provide important shelter for desert dwelling animals. So next Valentine’s Day instead of a bunch of roses why not give your lady a cactus instead?