Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story.
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.
- Could you point out the Hauraki Gulf on a map of the North Island? How about the Hauraki Plains? Have a look at these on a map and see how they are geographically linked. How might activity in the Hauraki Plains impact the Hauraki Gulf?
- What stories can you tell about what is happening in the photos, without having to read the article? What is happening between land and people, land and sea, or rivers and sea?
- When the Endeavour and its crew visited the Hauraki Plains (then a significant wetland) and re-named the Waihou River with an English name – the Thames – they observed a kahikatea tree with a six-metre girth. Its first branch was at a height of 30 metres. Can you imagine how tall this tree must have been? How many people might be able to link hands around a tree with a six-metre girth?
- Dairy farmers are working hard to meet environmental regulations, but the modern model of intensive farming presents problems that are hard to solve. One of them is described: A urine patch contains nitrogen equivalent to 1000 kg per hectare per year. This is too much to be absorbed quickly by the roots of grass, so most enters the groundwater and percolates into streams. Can you draw a diagram showing how nitrogen moves between animal, grass and ground?
- The Firth of Thames was once covered with a carpet of mussels that covered 500 square kilometres. The article describes how mussels not only filter huge amounts of water, absorbing nitrogen-rich plankton, but also harbour anemones, starfish and sponges, as well as providing habitat for fish. Sedimentation now makes it difficult to get wild mussel beds started again. What do you think could be done long-term to help us deal with sedimentation in the Firth of Thames and in other places?
Activity: Box dolls-house
Find a box and see what you can do to make an amazing dolls-house that is all your own creation.
You will need:
- A box
- Ice-block sticks – large and small are useful
- Small boxes, tinfoil
Step One: Decide how you would like to divide up your dolls-house. To make a wall, cut ice-block sticks to the same length and glue them together. You can also layer small boxes on top of each other and beside each other to make ‘stories.’
Step Two: Make floor coverings. You can make ‘tiles’ by cutting up small ice-block sticks to different lengths and gluing them down end to end. Or glue a piece of card, paper or felt onto the ground for carpet.
Step Three: Make furniture, such as a bookcase, from a small box divided up with ice-block sticks and hung on or against the wall.