The term continues to fly by and with Easter gifting us this short week of 3 school days we got our teeth into a 2 day intensive inquiry in relation to our Wilderness Area.
Late last year we were lucky enough to be awarded around $500 from The Pat Kelly Enviro-school Fund to help fund an enviro project. At our 2019 bronze reflection it was identified that we’d like to plant more trees in our wilderness area and continue to develop it as a native bush area. As you might remember from previous blog posts we’ve done some ground work learning around native birds, native trees, bats, lizards etc so developing our bush block is a great follow on from previous building blocks of learning.
So….what did we do? We started by ‘roaming the known’ or exploring the current situation. We brainstormed what we had in our bush already, putting this information into categories such as animals, native trees, exotic species etc. We headed out into the wilderness to explore some more. We took loads of pictures of what we found and areas that potentially needed development. Back in the classroom we worked in small groups to design our ideal wilderness area. This was our time to explore alternatives. It was awesome to see the children truly collaborating their ideas, negotiating, discussing and making compromises.
Once we’d made the dream plans we came together share and find some common elements. Then we had to refresh ourselves about the different types of native trees that we could possibly plant. We read some fact cards and shared with the group some info about different trees. Using this information as well as what we knew from our visits to bush to make a list of all the trees that we felt would grow in our area. After that it was off outside with our list, our dream plans and another piece of paper to properly map the area. We had to draw a map of the Wilderness, showing where we had trees already and where there was space to plant more. On our map we planned space for pathways, where we wanted to put a seat, lizard habitats and other key interest areas.
We used a measuring wheel to measure spaces and used this information to decide what types of trees would fit where. After we’d finished outside we came back in to draw the final map as the first one got a bit messy as we changed our mind a bit! The last thing we did was then decide exactly which trees we wanted to plant in the spaces. Everyone had their favourite type that they wanted and luckily we managed to please everyone. Our next step is to get these trees ordered and ready for a planting day in the winter.
The intensive inquiry was a great way for the students to use literacy, maths and key competency skills within an authentic context.
With our Wilderness Project well and truly on track we dipped back into some other learning we had been doing earlier in the term.
We had been tasked by the Stoney Whānau to do some investigating into some old graves they became aware of on their farm. This led us into exploring who lived in our area early last century and what Pukeokahu was like many, many years ago. It took quite a bit of work but we managed to get a general idea of who the graves may belong to. Today the Stoney’s took us on a walk through their farm to the site. As we walked we talked about what we knew and Steve was able to share some stories of our local iwi who lived in the area. On our way back to home base we also explored an area which has some very, very old fruit trees. We picked some of the fruit to try and grow some seeds. Many thanks to the Stoney Whānau for inviting us to their farm, the children enjoyed their walk and seeing the many pets at the end!