Day 3: Let’s go to Rakiura/Stewart Island!

Not literally. Like… in a video.

Written by      

Stephen Belcher

Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s video. Watch the video, then…

Talking points

Try discussing these ideas 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.

How did various animals use colour to help escape predators?

Which animal did you think was the most beautiful? Which one made you feel the most sorry for it? Why?

What was one thing that surprised you? What was surprising about it?

Can you remember why the forest on the shoreline had an impact on the sea creatures?

Do any of these creatures live on the land or sea near your place? Which ones? What makes Rakiura/Stewart Island a great home for so many animals?

Task for the day

Make an eleven-armed starfish out of clay! Use air-dry clay or make salt-dough (see recipe below) with salt, flour and water to sculpt a starfish. (Eleven-armed starfish actually have between 7 and 14 arms, although 11 is the most common number, so you can choose how many arms yours has.)

1 cup salt
1 cup plain flour
Up to 1 cup of water (add gradually)

Combine the salt and flour then pour in the water gradually, stopping when it has become dough-like and not too sticky. There should be no residue left on your fingers when you touch it. Knead it on a floured surface for a few minutes to make it soft, workable and stretchy, like you would with any dough.

Make your starfish out of the dough on some greaseproof or baking paper and on a baking tray.

If you’d like to keep your starfish you can ask a parent to help you cook it on a very low heat 100ºC for up to 3 hours. If the starfish is over one centimetre thick then it will probably need to be turned over during cooking.

(It is important not to have the oven on too high. This will cause the salt dough to bubble up and fill with air, as essentially it is being cooked. What you are really aiming for is to dry them out thoroughly, over a slow period of time.)

As soon as they are out of the oven they can be left to cool. You can paint it with acrylic paints… even glitter!

Starfish have no eyes or head and they move around by using little tubes underneath the body. The top of the body is covered with tiny spines which are used to catch food and defend from predators. Add some in if you can!

When you’re done, send the picture to education@nzgeographic.co.nz and we’ll share it… you’ll be world-famous in New Zealand!

In the kitchen

Homemade crackers are so easy to make! Try this recipe—it only takes five minutes to prepare.

2 cups wholemeal flour
1/2 cup cold water
2 tbs olive oil

Combine ingredients and roll out on a flat surface until the dough is thin. Cut into squares.

Bake in a medium hot oven for about 10 minutes. They will crisp up as they cool. Season with salt if you want to.

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