Friday, 8 November 2013

Walking the Talk

This morning, as Mrs Graham walked to school, she noticed the grass berm all along her street was covered with styrofoam balls - the type you get in beanbags.  They were so thick that it looked as if there had been a recent hailstorm.  What was most disturbing though, was that the weather forecast for heavy rain and all of those balls would end up in the stormwater drains - some already had.

Because this street is so close to our school and we have been learning so much about the dangers of rubbish getting into stormwater drains, we decided to do some community service and get out there and pick up as much of it as possible.

We had just 30 minutes to make as much of a difference as possible.  This photo does not even show all of what we picked up.  The worst part is that we couldn't get it all either.  There is still so much we had to leave behind.

We are proud though that we were able to take our learning out into the local community, and for some fish we did make a difference!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Our Song for Camp MERC

Check out this catchy tune!  This is one of the songs that we have written to give to Camp MERC to help build their environmental programme.  The song lyrics were composed by our students, the intruments were played by out students and all of the actions were developed by them too.  We think they've done a wonderful job of writing a tune that will get stuck in your head and promote this very important message.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Coastal Clean-Up

Yesterday Rooms 20 and 22 went on a trip to the Rotary Walkway in Pakuranga.  We decided that since we had been busy making resources to teach others about marine conservation, it would be approapriate to do as we say and take some action as well.

We teamed up with Ryley from Sustainable Coastlines once again to undertake a cleanup of the Tamaki Estuary.  This stretch of water has been identified as one of the dirtiest in Auckland.  On arriving there you wouldn't have believed it.  On a beautiful day, the waterway looked clean and inviting so we were a little worried that we might not find any rubbish at all.

How wrong we were!  In 1 hour, in one small bay, we managed to fill four 50L bags with rubbish.  We found glass, bricks, someone's dinner plate, a door mat, rolls of sticky tape, discarded bags of dog poo (What's the point of going to the effort of picking it up and wrapping it in plastic just to leave it there???) and so many plastic bottletops.  This was exciting for us because we had been learning about how plastics photo-degrade.  We actually found evidence of this. See the video below:

What was really concerning though was just how much evidence we were finding. This plastic must have been in the waterway for at least 6 years for it to have photodegraded like this.  The bigger problem that this causes is that when it shatters, the tiny pieces look like food to many marine animals.

We also found nurdles - small plastic pellets that are the base product of most plastic items.  These tiny pellets look just like fish eggs and make a toxic meal for a hungry fish.  Around the high-tide mark, we found hundreds.  Apparently they enter the river as waste from the plastic processing factories that line the river.

Nurdles with paper clip for size comparison

After stopping for morning tea, we cleaned a second bay and ended up with eight bags of rubbish.  We could have gone on for much longer - there was so much that we just had to leave behind as we ran out of time.  It really does make you think about where our rubbish ends up.  One of the best spots for us was near the stormwater outlet - so much of our rubbish enters the waterway here.  That was really obvious to us!

In the afternoon, we did some activities on the beach.  Each group marked out one square metre and sampled the various organic and inorganic items in our area.  We are hoping to use this data to be able to make an estimate of how much rubbish is washing up on our beaches.

Ryley commented and said,

"It was a pleasure working with a group of students that showed such genuine enthusiasm and interest in learning about coastal protection."  

Room 20 and Room 22 should be very proud of the contribution they have made to marine conservation.  We walked the walk!

P.S. This weekend, on Saturday 21 September, is International Coastal Clean-Up Day.  What will you do to help?

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Happy Shark Week Everyone!

Everyone in Room 20 knows that Mrs Graham loves Great White Sharks so there is often talk about sharks in our classroom - whether it be sharing funny photos like these:

reading the "Gilbert the Great" series of books (highly recommend - they're in our library!!!), 

being inspired by shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton,

 or discussing the poster about shark finning that hangs on our wall.  Did you know 190 sharks die from finning EVERY MINUTE worldwide.  What a tragedy!  

One of our favourite things to do though is to check in with the Ocearch Shark Tracker.  This is an awesome site where you can see the actual migrations of Great White Sharks in South Africa and America.  Ocearch is a research group that tags the sharks with satellite transmitters to allow us to obtain better information about these endangered species.  Check it out here:

We are doing our bit to help encourage people to change their attitudes towards these magnificent creatures.  Check out the tracker and learn a little bit about the sharks.  It's fascinating!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Mathletics Class of the Week

We did it again!  Room 20 has been named the Mathletics Class of the Week and have earned the right to display the trophy in our class for the next fortnight.

We can credit much of this achievement to Catherine, who managed to reach 9th in the world (Thanks for letting me know to correct this Catherine!!!) by earning over 10 000 points in one day alone!  What a fantastic achievement!

Well done Room 20!  How long do you think we can keep it up?

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Did You Ever?

In Room 20 we have been writing poems around the theme Did You Ever?  These poems are so simple to write, yet so effective in their message.  The basic structure is as follows:

  • Begin with a Did You Ever ... question
  • The next three lines describe the experience following the pattern: noun verb+ing
  • End with a comment or recommendation
Play the slideshow to read our poems.  Have you ever experienced these things?

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Maths Olympiad

Well today was the day of the 2013 Maths Olympiad.  Room 20 has been busy having a go at practice questions over the last week and a bit and we were hoping that it would pay off today.

At Elm Park, we have a Maths Olympiad Challenge each year.  It is a bit like a team problem solving relay.  Each class enters two teams who have 30 minutes to answer 20 questions.

Room 20 was represented by Anahita, Zhaoyu, Hubert and Lee (Team 1) and Maddison, Catherine, Louis and Charlie (Team 2).

The competition was fierce.  All teams got stuck on questions 2 and for a long time there was not a lot of movement on the points table.  At this point many teams opted to pass, but Team 2 stuck with it and was one of only two teams to solve the question correctly!

But it was Team 1's day.  Once they had gotten past that small hurdle they were away and eventually took out the title!  Congratulations team!  You were fantastic representatives for Room 20.

The four winners will have their names engraved on the Elm Park Maths Olympiad Trophy, and will go on to represent Elm Park at the Mathex Competition later in the year.

Team 1: Anahita, Lee, Hubert, Zhaoyu

Team 2: Charlie, Catherine, Maddi and Louis

 Room 20 supporting our teams

Today was also the day for the Teacher's Maths Olympiad where teachers put themselves in the students shoes and race to solve maths problems.  There were four teams including Mrs Graham's "Divide and Conquer" team.   Unfortunately  "Divide and Conquer" didn't manage to conquer coming in second to Mrs Walker's "Colourful Calculators".  The pace was frenetic but it was lots of fun.

Divide and Conquer