Monday, 29 July 2013


Week 1 Why do we keep animals in zoos?

Today we read the story "Elwyn's Dream: saving the Takahe" by Ali Foster. It is the story of the man who started Pukaha Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre.We decided he was a very responsible, caring and brave man. He had a great idea to save the takahe and took a long time planning his idea so that it would be successful. He wanted to save the takahe from becoming extinct so he created a safe place for the takahe to live and breed. We thought that maybe that's why zoos and other types of animal parks keep animals too. We wondered if these animals must be safer than in their natural habitat where predators could hunt them while they are asleep. For example the kiwi is nocturnal so we think that while it is sleeping during the day predators could sneak up behind it and hurt or kill it. We also think that zoos and other types of animal parks keep animals safe from escaping and hurting us. We know that we can go and see lots of animals in one place that we wouldn't normally get to see like elephants and giraffes. If an animal becomes extinct we will never get to see it ever again so it is important to save animals.

We have started to do some research about zoos and other wildlife animal parks to find any other reasons they might keep animals.  If you have any questions or comments that might help us with our thinking please post a comment below for us to explore next week...

Week 2  connecting ideas about captivity
Today we warmed up our brains first ready for learning. We had to try and capture an escaped animal using a raincoat, a balloon and some bubble gum. Those pesky animals didn't stand a chance with our imaginations! Bubble gum was used to blow a 'humungous' bubble around the animals, or even to blow sticky bubbles at them to trap them. Balloons were used to tie to the animal to fly it back to captivity or put an animal such as a frog in water to take back safely.  Raincoats were worn to protect us from splashing water and scratches from scared animals. How would you have used these three items to capture an escaped animal?
We then wrote ideas about captivity in different hexagon shapes. We glued the hexagon sides wherever we could connect the ideas. Our brains were so warmed up we could even glue hexagons connecting two and three sides together, connecting multiple ideas. Everyone decided their brains hurt by the end of our session today because we had done so much thinking!
It was great to read and discuss the comments (see below). Everyone agreed that we certainly liked being able to see animals in zoos and thought it was a lot safer than going to their natural habitat.  We too were sad though that the animals don't have their natural environment. We are very excited that Palmerston North is going to get a special place to nurse sick and injured birds. We will be very lucky to have a place nearby to visit and help. Keep those comments coming to help us think in different ways.

Week 3 Weighing up the pros and cons of captivity
Just like our bodies, our brains are responding to warm ups and we are getting more creative, more imaginative with each problem scenario. They are helping us to generate more ideas and think in alternate ways about our captivity concept.  Today we tried to work out possible explanations for animals outside the cages and people inside cages at a zoo! We had some great ideas to this imaginary scenario and we are learning to build on one another's ideas.
To wrap up our captivity concept we each completed a PMI about whether animals should be kept in captivity. We listed all the plus (P) reasons, all the  minus (M), and any interesting (I) reasons. By considering all viewpoints we were able to make our own judgments about whether animals should be kept in captivity. Although we had different, well thought-out opinions consideration of animal's needs and protection were common amongst everyone. It has been great to work together and learn from each other!

The Science of Art

Week 1 What is art?

Wow, there was some animated discussion today as we tried to define 'art.'  Over the next few weeks we are learning to use different thinking tools to help us think in new, and complex ways. Today we used the 'alphabet key' to brainstorm examples of art for each letter of the alphabet. We used this thinking process to establish what everyone's perception of art was as a starting point. We noticed a pattern in out thinking:  we each had a set of 'criteria' in our heads that we used to judge if something was art or not. We quickly found out that we all have a different set of criteria that we use to judge things so we are all starting from a different point. When people have different viewpoints it makes us think about things in a different way which is good. Do we need to agree what art is (and is not) before we move on?

Some of the examples we decided were probably art were:
martial arts
miming and acting

We also found out that we could not come up with even one  criteria that we could always use to judge whether something was art as there was always something that challenged the criteria For example:

"If you make it(or turn it into something)'s art"eg knitting, sculpture. But some things are not made they just 'are' (like nature). Are they art too?

"Can it be art by itself...not just used for art" (eg the earth can be used to inspire a painting, but is it art on its own?)We decided anything can be turned into art but not everything is art on its own.

"Art is beautiful" (but then we decided not all art is beautiful - it depends who is looking at it!)

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with our examples? Can you think of others that will get us thinking? Is there a criteria we can use to establish what is and what isn't art? Please post a comment below to help us with our thinking!

Week 2 Colour
Today we aimed to investigate colour in more detail by looking at prisms, rainbows and chromotography (separating colours) but Tane posed a question early on that really got us thinking and questioning together.   Our discussion centred around whether rainbows were real or were they a trick of the sun and rain?  As Scientists we needed evidence to (dis)prove our hypothesis and form conclusions. Everyone was able to bring in 'evidence' to the discussion that pushed our thinking off on other tangents. 

Here are some of the evidence markers we came up with so far:
If we take a photo it must be real
 If I can see it its real
You can’t see music but that’s real
If you move the rainbow moves with you so it can’t be real

We then wondered if it’s not real how can so many people see it?  Someone the came to the conclusion that rainbows are always there just sometimes you can’t see it (it needs the sun and rain to make it appear).

We certainly have more ideas to discuss and evidence to help us understand about rainbows. Can you help us with questions or comments to get us thinking differently?

Week 3 Perception
We explored how how 'artists' use illusions to play tricks on our eyes with magic and optical illusions today. We were amazed and intrigued by how lines that appear bent are actually straight, static images appear to move and we can perceive something to be there that isn't really! Here are some of the images we looked at. They are from

Some research suggests that girls are typically able to interpret optical illusions differently to boys. This got our scientific brains even more curious and we had to find out if it was true! We are in the process of surveying both males and females, adults and children and next week we are going to analyse the data...I wonder what we will find?

                                          Are the horizontal lines parallel, or do they slope?

Answer: Believe it or not, they are parallel! 

‘You might see the word ‘lift’ or some black splotches. For some reason, girls usually see the word more easily than boys.