Aug 21: Turtles

Here’s a lockdown life-hack… wear your home on your back like a turtle and you can travel anywhere!

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Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story.

Talking points

Discuss the ideas presented in the story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.

  • Which of these photos are your favourites? What do you think are some of the beautiful, or interesting things about turtles?
  • Turtles have survived incredible changes to their environment but the article points out that it is the plastic bag that may prove to be the most devastating change yet. Who do you think is responsible for making sure plastic bags don’t get into the ocean—individuals or the government? Why?
  • The article describes all the amazing care offered to sick turtles that end up on New Zealand beaches; antibiotics, incubators, special food and so on. It can take them up to two years to recover. What do you think it is like for the people who care for these sick turtles?How might it feel for them when a turtle was eventually released into the wild?
  • A lot more turtles are turning up in New Zealand waters. The article points out that they need a healthy habitat with seagrass and algae to eat. Do you know what is needed for seagrass and other plants to thrive in our harbours? What role might sedimentation and pollution play in suppressing seagrass?
  • Is there anything to do with turtles that you want to find out more about? Are there any actions you could take to make life better for the world’s turtles?

Activity: Paint a swimming turtle

Use the photo of the turtle, photographed from below, as inspiration for this painting. We used watercolours but you could use any medium to create the light and dark effects.

  1. Firstly, paint the outline of a turtle in the middle of your page. Follow the shape of the turtle in the photo. Notice the shape of the front flippers and the back flippers—they are quite different to one another.
  2. Secondly, fill this outline in with the darkest blue you can make.
  3. Thirdly, paint a dark blue border.
  4. Fourthly, using a lighter blue wash, bring this border inwards in a circular shape around the turtle.
  5. Fifth, using the lightest wash you can, paint right around the edge of the turtle. You can use a tissue to blot around the edges if the paint needs to be lightened.
  6. Send us a picture of your swimming turtle painting!