Aug 31: Noughts and Crosses Game

Hospital for birds, and make your own noughts and crosses game.

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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.

  • In your own words, can you explain why tūturuatu ended up living on Rangatira Island, in the Chathams, instead of all around mainland New Zealand? What is the problem with them living only on this island?
  • Are you surprised to read that one rat wiped out all 70 tūturuatu on Mana Island, when the Department of Conservation was trying to establish the species there? What does this anecdote highlight about both rats and native birds?
  • Conservation workers collect eggs from wild populations such as those on Rangatira Island, to increase the gene pool of captive-bred birds. Why is this so important?
  • Why do you think someone with an international profile in the scientific community, like Miguel Quiñones-Mateu, would volunteer to help save the hoiho?
  • Hoiho numbers have dropped from 600 breeding pairs to just 165 in just over 10 years. When you read through the list of possible reasons why, do you have any suggestions about ways humans could step up their efforts to help the hoiho? How might Covid-19 have helped the species recover? How does the article say it has been unhelpful?

Activity: Noughts and Crosses Game

Make your own noughts and crosses game with these cute painted rocks. You could swap out the ladybirds and bees for some native birds such as hoiho and kākāpō.

You will need:

  • Similar-sized rocks or shells
  • A flat board
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes – fine and thick
  • Ruler
  • Pencil

Step One: Collect 10 rocks or shells of a similar size and shape.

Step Two: First, paint each rock with an undercoat, if you have some.

Step Three: When the undercoat is dry, paint each rock with a dark colour such as black.

Step Four: For the bumble bees, use a small dry paint brush to apply yellow paint in small short brush strokes to form three stripes. For the ladybirds, use a red or colour of your choice to paint two wings.

Step Five: Next, paint the detail of the wings. Use a very fine paintbrush to paint two wings on to the bumble bee using white. For the ladybirds, use black to paint spots on to the wings.

Step Six: Make the eyes by painting two white ovals, with a smaller black circle in each for the pupils.

Step Seven: To make the game board, cut a piece of plywood into a 27cm x 27cm square and paint in a dark colour.

Step Eight: Using a ruler and pencil, measure out a grid with lines 9cm apart. Use a thin paint brush and your choice of paint to paint on the lines.

Step Nine: Allow to dry and then get playing! Send us a picture of your noughts and crosses!