Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Try this: food colouring fireworks

Exploring water and making (silent) fireworks.

Here's a neat experiment that explores what happens when oil and water meet.

You will need:

  • A big glass bowl filled with water
  • A mixing jug
  • Measuring spoons
  • A mixing spoon
  • Food colouring: two colours, if possible
  • Cooking oil
  • A piece of white paper
  • Safety goggles are definitely optional - but an apron might be a good idea in case things get messy!

First, measure out one tablespoon of oil and put it into the jug.
 Next, add a few drops of food colouring.

Mix the oil and the food colouring together.

Carefully pour the oil and food colouring mixture onto the top of the water.

Now it's time to watch carefully. Hold the piece of paper behind the bowl. Watch as the food colouring blobs burst and sink through the water.

Mix up a second tablespoon of oil with a different food colouring. Add this to the bowl for two colours of 'fireworks'. Enjoy the show!
Things to think and talk about:

What patterns can you see in the water?

What is happening to the food colouring?

What happens to the oil? Can you think why?

Try gently blowing the oil bubbles. What happens?

What happens when two colours mix together?

Can you predict what colour fireworks you will get if you add different combinations of food colouring? Red and yellow? Blue and yellow? Blue and red?

Have fun playing with this experiment and please do share your ideas and firework photos on Seesaw.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

We are (home) learners!

Autahi homes are hives of activity.

It has been such an inspiration to see and hear about what everyone has been doing at home this week. Thank you for sharing! Here's a little snapshot of our community of learners.

Starting the day with some exercise is a great first step, and even more fun when shared with others.

  Brothers can be great teachers.

Time for some maths. You've been practising writing numbers ...

... and making some awesome creations. How many groups of three can you see in this tower?

How many Lego pieces in these cool patterns?

Now for some writing. This week, we've been learning about the letter W. How many things starting with w can you find around your house? 

You've been writing wonderful wiggly worm stories.

Finally, you've been such great helpers to your families - and helping out is fun, too, right?

Do keep posting your photos on Seesaw and sharing your ideas so that we can all learn from each other.

Veggies on tour!

Our little radish and spinach seedlings have come to live at Beth's house for a bit.

I have put them on my front deck and will take care to water them each day. Some people say that plants like to listen to music so I have been playing my radio to them. RNZ Concert seems to go down well.

I have also been reading them inspiring stories.

Yesterday, I took a close look at the seedlings to see how they are growing.

Here is Team Spinach.

The biggest spinach seedlings are now about two centimetres tall, which is probably about the same size as your pinky finger. If you have a ruler at home, take a look and see how big that is. Our spinach  plants have quite long, narrow leaves and pink stalks. I wonder if they will keep their pink stalks as they grow bigger.

Here is Team Radish.

Our radish seedlings are nearly three centimetres tall. This is probably the size of your index (Magic Pointing) finger. Check with a ruler, if you have one to hand. The radish leaves are very interesting. The first leaves that sprouted are very smooth with a gently wiggly shape. But now, a new kind of leaf is growing from the middle of the plant. It is rough and hairy and has a zigzag edge. I wonder whether the radish plants will carry on having two kinds of leaves as they get bigger.

Check the blog for more veggie news - and let me know if you have any wonderings about our little plants, or any advice about how I can take good care of them.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Water play and exploration: activities to try at home

What is more fun than playing with water?

Our Inquiry in Autahi this year centres around Sustainability. We have already begun to plant seeds - more to come on this - and, of course, our plants need water to grow. With this in mind, we are also beginning to think about the role water has in our lives. What do we use it for? Where does it come from? How does it behave and what can it do?

In Autahi, some of our best learning comes through play. Play offers golden opportunities to experience and explore, try out new ideas and talk about our thinking with others.

Here are a few ideas for simple activities to get you and your children thinking and talking about the wonders of water. They all use common household items. We are going to be trying them in class this week: you might also want to have a go at home. We would love to know how you get on and what discoveries you make. And if you have ideas for other activities, please do share them so that we can try them, too.

Dive in for lots of splashy, splashy, floaty (and sinky), melty, drippy fun!

1. Frozen taniwha eggs

Take a party balloon. Pop something inside such as plastic jewels, beads, animals. Mix a jug of water with a little food colouring. Fill the balloon with water (a funnel works well for this). Tie a knot in the top of the balloon and repeat.

Freeze your 'eggs'. When they are hard, peel off the balloon outer and you will be left with beautiful taniwha eggs.

Now, time to melt them and liberate the treasure inside! A squeeze bottle or eye dropper filled with warm water can be used to gradually melt the eggs, drop by drop. Try adding a little salt: what does this do to the ice? Try immersing an egg in a bowl of water. Leave an egg out in the sun and check on it regularly: how long does it last?

Variations: freezing a washing up glove filled with water and small items is great fun. Once hard, peel off the rubber glove and enjoy experimenting with your 'ice hand'. 

Or, if you have plastic dinosaurs or other animals at home, place them in a plastic container, top up with water (coloured, if you like) and freeze. Turn out your ice block. Now the challenge is on to rescue the frozen animals from the arctic ice!

2. Bath time for teddies 

Fill the sink or a bucket with water. You might want to add a gentle soap or bubble bath. Give grubby soft toys a little bath, drying them with a towel. Now, hang them outside to dry. Note how wet they are when you hang them up. Visit them throughout the day. Are they getting drier? What is happening to the water? 

Variations: Puddle Watch. Make a puddle on the deck or pavement outside. Draw a circle around it in chalk. Revisit your puddle from time to time. What do you notice? What do you think is happening?

Or, Paint the Fence. Channel your inner Karate Kid with a container of water (a.k.a. paint) and a brush. Paint the fence/deck/pavement. Step back to admire your handiwork. Does the area you painted stay wet? 

3. Loading boats

This is an activity for a bucket or bathtub of water. You will need a selection of plastic containers and some plastic toys that don't mind getting wet (Lego bricks and people are good for this). Float a container in the tub. Begin adding toys. How many can you fit before the 'boat' sinks? Which of your containers can carry the most? What is the water doing to keep the boat afloat?

Variations: If you're feeling handy, have a go at making paper boats to try this experiment with. There are instructions online for simple origami boats. It is also fun to try floating cardboard boxes (raid the recycling bin). The paper adds an extra challenge as it gets wetter and soggier.

4. Art projects

Frozen paint: this works well with any water-based paint. You will also need an ice cube tray and some lolly sticks. If using ready-mix paint, squeeze about half a cup into a bowl and add the same amount of water. Mix together well. Then fill your ice cube tray with the paint mixture. Freeze until a hard skin appears on the paint (about half an hour). At this point, you can carefully poke a lolly stick into each ice cube. Freeze until hard. Now your ice cubes are ready to paint with!

Drip art: make up a runny solution of paint. Using a brush, drip the paint onto the paper in one spot. Now, move the paper around, allowing the drip to travel and create a pattern. Add more colours and more drips. A variation on this is to cover a page with paint and then use a clean brush to drip water onto it. Watch as the water makes a track through the paint.

5. Fill the bucket 

Finally, a fun outdoor game to let off some steam!

You will need two buckets/containers and two cups. Fill one bucket. Place the buckets a good distance apart from each other. The challenge is to transfer the water from one bucket to another using the cup. Take a scoop of water, and run/walk to the empty bucket. Tip the water into the empty bucket. Run back and repeat.

Increase the challenge: set a timer; use a sponge instead of a cup; use a cup with a hole in the bottom; have two teams and make a race.

Keep an eye on the Blog to see how we got on with these activities.


Monday, 16 March 2020

More about our radish and spinach seeds

We are hoping that the weather will stay warm and are keeping a close eye on our little seeds. 

Meet Team Radish! We planted 'Easter Egg Mix' radish seeds in the pink planter. These should produce some pretty, multi-coloured radishes, hopefully in time for Easter. Before we planted the seeds, we took a look at them under a magnifying glass. We thought they looked like little pebbles.

Introducing Team Spinach! Our seeds were very craggy and bumpy. We decided they looked like bread crumbs or asteroids. We predicted that our seeds would germinate in two hours. We are still waiting, but hope to have some nice green spinach to nibble on very soon.

We are following our watering rota to make sure that everyone gets to give our seeds some love (and water) over the next few weeks. Let us know if you spot any green shoot pushing through the soil. It could be any day now!


The radishes have begun sprouting!!!!

Friday, 13 March 2020

Our new garden

We have recently started planting some seeds in the planter boxes outside our classroom. Our goal is to create a garden where we can explore how things grow and care for the local environment.

At the moment we have radishes and spinach planted in our garden. It will take a little while to grow but we have responsibilities to water the garden carefully every day.

We hope to have more to show as our garden develops over the year so take a look and see if you can spot any shoots peeking through.

Reading in the junior years

Last week we ran an evening session where Ximena and Carl went through what reading looks like in the junior years.

Please follow the link below to the presentation. In it you will find some tips for things you can do at home as well as the progression readers will make as they gather the skills and strategies to be amazing readers.

Reading in the junior years

We appreciate your feedback and if you have any questions please come and find us around the classroom and ask.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

A day in the life of our reading classroom.

A day in the life of our reading classroom.

Every day in Autahi is full of opportunities to practise our reading skills and enjoy a story.

Here we are in our Guided Reading group, getting ready to read our book. Everyone is using their pointing fingers to show where they are going to start reading the story.

We know quite a few Rocket Words in our story, but we also need to know what to do if we find a words that aren't so familiar. Here, we are practising the skill of using robot arms to find the sounds in a word and then blend them together.

Sometimes, it is fun to read a book we know with the whole class. It takes a bit of Bravery, but it's great to share our learning.

After a busy morning, we find another chance to enjoy a book, with a quiet story time. We love listening together and talking about the story. Story time is also a good chance to discover new books to read again during Buddy Reading.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Buddy Reading and lots of lovely new books to enjoy.

Buddy Reading and lots of lovely new books to enjoy.

Elbow to elbow, knee to knee,
I'll read to you, you'll read to me.
Elbow to elbow, knee to knee,
Book in the middle, so we both can see!

Each day, after Morning Tea, we pair up to do Buddy Reading. This week in Autahi, we took delivery of a choice selection of lovely books from the National Library. We couldn't wait to get stuck in during Buddy Reading time.

How does Buddy Reading work? Well, each buddy chooses a book that they would like to read. Then, the buddies sit together, "elbow to elbow, knee to knee", and take turns to share their books.

It's fun to look at the pictures and try to tell the story together. What can you see? What's going on in this picture? What will happen next? We become confident with how books and stories work.

This is a book that we know quite well because we've read it before. We like re-telling the story and looking at the funny pictures together. Buddy Reading is great for boosting speaking and listening skills. 

This book has moveable pieces so that we can make up our own stories and tell them to each other. We use our creativity and build our vocabulary, too.

Buddy Reading is a chance to try out books that we might not have chosen ourselves, and make exciting new discoveries. Connecting with someone through sharing a book is also a great way to make friends.

Buddy Reading builds relationships as well as reading skills. As the year progresses, we will be doing lots of reading together, sharing all the good things that books have to offer.