Thursday, 13 April 2017

Crazy Hair day

As part of Deegan's community service she organised a crazy hair day to raise money for Kids Can. Her Mum and sister Taylor are doing the Pork Pie mini run to also raise money. It was such an awesome day and there were so many amazing hair styles. Well done Deegan and everyone. Awesome!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The sun has disappeared!

What if it did? What if they sun suddenly disappeared? What would the consequences be for our Earth? Could we survive? This is a great hypothetical question to bring together a lot of what we have learnt over this term so far. We had a fascinating discussion around what would happen and it really got us thinking. I was really impressed with your ideas and questions guys. You are curious and that is a great learning position to be in! After exploring our own ideas we used this short article and video to further guide our discussion.


We have taken a brief look into how plants make food through photosynthesis. The ingredients for this process are carbon dioxide (CO2), water (H2O), and visible light. Nutrient full water is drawn up through the roots and stem into the leaves. Carbon dioxide is absorbed through little pores under the leaves. These ingredients meet in small sacks called chloroplasts (which are full of chlorophyll, the substance that makes plants green) and in the presence of sunlight they are converted to carbohydrates and oxygen.  This is another reason why sunlight is essential to our existence.

Here are a few images and videos which we used to learn about photosynthesis.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Tans, burns, UV, and DNA

We had some great discussion around the below article, video, and image. It was interesting to explore the science behind sunburn. It helped us understand that the damage to our skin is quite different from being burnt by hot water or a flame. The DNA in our skin cells is actually altered by the UV light.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Why does colour fade?

When your tent, clothes, or soccer ball colour fades where does the colour go? Do all coloured things fade? Do some colours fade quicker than others? Can you stop something fading? These are the questions we have been looking at.

We are conducting a bit of an experiment. We have selected various materials and are exposing them to UV rays over the next couple of months. We want to see what materials fade and how fast.
We considered the variables such as if the materials are all getting the same amount of light. We have put them on our window sill and discussed if the window glass will affect the results. We found out that most window glass reduces the UVB but not the UVA. It will be interesting to see if there are particular groups of materials that fade and which colours fade the quickest.

A yellow rubber ducky absorbs all colours of the rainbow and turns them to heat, except yellow, it reflects the yellow light back to our eyes. The yellow colour fades when UV breaks down the molecules that reflect the yellow light. So a faded object is absorbing more light and reflecting less.

We watched these two videos to help us understand colour fading.

The colour red fades more than any other colour, especially blue. This can be seen in the below photo.

Most fading of colour happens with dyed products. My question is will the material of a red tent break down quicker than a blue tent or is it just the red dye that will fade quicker? Will the strength of the material break down at the same speed, regardless of the colour? 

Monday, 20 March 2017

The electromagnetic spectrum

We have been looking at the energy/light/photons that start off in the core of the sun and then arrive here at Earth. This energy is called the electromagnetic spectrum. Visible light is only part of it. It includes radio waves, UV waves, microwaves and some other types of waves. The sun is not the only source of these waves, in fact humans also emit electromagnetic radiation. It has been fascinating learning about how useful all these waves are for our everyday life. We use them in remote controls, TV's, radios, cellphones, cooking our food, medical procedures, and the list goes on.

This documentary is creating lots of great discussion around this topic. We are realizing that scientists use these waves for learning all sorts of new science.

Makuhari visit

We had a great time today with the students from Japan. We made sushi, origami creations, had our names written in Japanese, and experienced lots of other cultural activities.

As a class we spent the afternoon looking into the bombing of Hiroshima. This was a significant event in world history and had horrific consequences. It complemented our inquiry into the sun and the electromagnetic spectrum. We looked at the science of the bomb but also the catastrophic human impact. We watched a documentary and heard many stories from survivors. It was a heavy topic but gave the students an appreciation of the power of nuclear weapons and the vast consequences they have on humanity.

Emma and Tabitha went to Japan with their Mums over the summer and went to Hiroshima. They visited a peace memorial where thousands of paper cranes had been offered. We decided it would be a great thing for our students to contribute to. So we are sending 82 paper cranes to the contribute to the peace memorial. Well done guys. Paper cranes are not the easiest of origami creations but you did awesome.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The Journey of Light

The students have been creating flow diagrams and writing explanations on the journey light takes from the center of the sun to the Earth. They will be uploading their explanations to their blogs soon for you to view. It is a fascinating journey which takes over 100 000 years. They have learnt about the three main layers of the sun, atoms, plasma, and nuclear fusion. They then compared nuclear fusion to nuclear fission. The idea of creating energy on Earth from nuclear fusion is an exciting concept if scientists can work out a way to do it on a practical scale. The students are asking really interesting questions, especially around how scientists find out this information. This is such an awesome question for aspiring scientists to ask.

We have watched this documentary as part of our inquiry.


As part of Ruma Kokako's Te Pahu Challenge the students need to learn a new hobby and also complete 20 hours of community service. The students have had their proposals approved for these and it is really exciting to see all things things they will get up to this year.

The student's hobbies include all sorts of things, such as, juggling, knitting, astronomy, photography, learning Italian, horse riding, animation, cooking, the rubik's cube, and all sorts of other interesting things.

The students will present their hobbies to the class at the end of the year. The students will blog about their progress and I am really looking forward to seeing the progression of their learning.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Novel studies

Many of the students have started a novel study. There are two inspiring novels that the children are looking at:

I am Malala - This is the inspiring true story of a young teenage Pakistani girl who has fought for girls education. She was shot by the Taliban, survived, and has continued fighting for girls education all around the world. At 16 she was the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner and today she is still only 19 years old.

Boy Overboard - This is the inspiring fictional story of a brother and sister who flee with their family as refugees. It begins in Afghanistan and deals with the issue of refugees. Once finishing this story the students will take an in-depth look at the theme of refugees. They will look at from a variety of perspectives developing their own informed opinion.

The students will be learning a variety of literacy skills using these novels. To start with we are focusing on their ability to complete short answer questions using appropriate detail and including the question in their answer.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Description writing

As part of learning to use our senses to add detail to our writing the students did a description piece about a hospital similar to the photo. They wrote their own piece, reflected on it with another student and then wrote a combined piece with a buddy. Here are a few excerpts from their writing:

The quiet squealing and crying of the medical trolley rolled around the bare brick hall. All day I can only hear groaning and screams of pain. The doctors and nurses dance their pencils on paper incessantly. I start to slip into darkness when a shell went off in the distance, the walls spitting it back in a never ending echo. The patient next to me has a deep gash on his forehead. His face is very pale and gaunt. He wrinkles his nose at the odor no one can explain. The nurses wander around as if in a trance, their weary eyes dart about the room, flicking from bed to bed. As the nurses bandage my shoulder all I can hear is the sound of my own ragged breathing and the screaming inside my head.   By LOLA and MADELINE.

The lids of my eyes yawn open. The pain of where I got shot overwhelms me. I groan helplessly on my old withered mattress. I hear the notorious sound of the medical trolley strolling through the corridor of the hospital. As I look over I see my friend, lying there in his rickety old bed, gazing into emptiness. 

The smell of blood and smoke lingers in the air. The drone of a bomber dropping bombs speedily came closer. Blood covered bodies came in every second. The nurses frantically run around caring for the victims of war. I see a mangled face of a bloke with eyes closed to stop blood filling them. Facing me he groaned "Help me." Screaming catches my attention. I turn around to see a crowd of people are holding a man down while others amputate his leg. I nervously look at my own leg "Will that happen to me?

Midnight. The smell of sick filled the room. People groan in agony. I slowly walk soundlessly into the room. The walls of the hospital are covered with old grime and dirt where old patients would lean on when waiting for a bed. I see an old man calling for help. I run to him. I grab the medical trolley, the squeaking of the wheels make my ears want to bleed...

I slowly opened my eyelids with no memory of what had just happened. Quiet mumbles echo down the solid brick building. The squeak of the nurses trolley screeches in my ears. The smell of urine wafts under my nose, it makes my stomach churn. My clothes are drenched in blood which makes my knees feel tingly. I need to get out of here I thought to myself.

Monday, 20 February 2017

I made tea

Adding detail in our writing is so important for giving a clear picture for the reader. We have started looking at this and used this website to help us understand what it is all about. Click through to the website (by clicking on I made tea) and you will learn why adding detail can vastly improve a sentence such as I made tea.

The Golden Orb

Today we started our inquiry into the incredible sun. We are making a big inquiry into the sun over three terms. The first term we will look at the physical structure and processes of the sun. In term two we will look at its impact on the Earth as well as make some investigations for Science Fair. In the third term we will look at how people harness the sun's energy and whether we could as a school do something to harness it.

We looked at the amazing footage in the above video before the students inquisitive minds got into gear. They asked all sorts of interesting questions that we are all looking forward to exploring. Here they are:
  • Does the sun have a brain?
  • How heavy is it?
  • Why does the sun's heat not get cold as it goes through space?
  • Why is it the colour that it is?
  • How does it feed itself without oxygen?
  • What happens if you are too close to the sun? How close can you get?
  • Are there different types of stars?
  • Will the sun get hotter or colder?
  • How long until the sun dies? What will happen?
  • How far away is it?
  • How dense is the core?
  • Why is the core hotter than the outside?
  • Could the sun shrink down to nothing?
  • How does the sun have eruptions? How big can the eruptions get?
  • Will the sun get larger?
  • Does each star have a solar system?
  • What causes the transitions to either supernova or white dwarf?
  • When was the sun made?
  • How do they learn about the sun?
  • How come mercury doesn't melt?
  • How does the sun stay together?
  • What is the sun made of?
  • Why is the sun a circle?
  • How does the sun create heat waves?
  • What is a solar flare?
  • Where does the sun and Earth get gravity from?
  • Where does it get its energy from?
  • Does the sun move?
  • Is the sun brighter than the moon?
  • How does it project the light?
  • What starts nuclear fusion?
  • Why do planets go around it?

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Te Pahu Challenge - RAFT completed!

Our first Te Pahu challenge has been completed - RAFTING. We had great fun rafting down the Grade 2 Tongariro River near Turangi. There were lots of nerves which showed in initial quietness (or the opposite!) and plenty of giggles. But the nerves eventually turned to screams of delight. It was great to see the students push though the nerves and realise the thrill and satisfaction that is found on the other side of our nerves.

We then spent the night at Whakapapa Holiday Park. We played some sport, dressed up in our best disguise, and then had a range of team challenges. A massive thank you to all the parents who made the camp what it was. It was great to see them disguised as Mexicans, hippos, and many indistinguishable characters. We even managed to hear 3 of them yodel.

On our second day we managed to get some of the students up for an early run and then walked to the beautiful Taranaki falls.

A great way to start the year guys and I look forward to seeing you take on more challenges this year. You can be proud of yourselves and you can give yourself a big tick for the first challenge.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Who to save?

This afternoon we did the below task which led to some fascinating discussion. In groups the students had to choose which 15 out of the 30 people on a sinking ship would get to go in the life raft. It really bought up different ideas about what we see as important and valuable in people. Some strong opinions came out and it got us all thinking and debating. We discussed how a wise leader would approach the task.

Our new leaders!

We are into the new year with a great bunch of leaders. To start the year off we are spending some time looking at what great leaders do, say, and think. Here are a few photos of the students learning to work as a team.

We have discussed how junior students look up to and want to be like year 7/8's. This is a real privilege and responsibility to take seriously. They are constantly watching to see how we act.

We used the below video to discuss leadership. Initiative is a really important leadership quality so we have been exploring what it means and thinking about what it could look like at Te Pahu School.

We looked at how being a leader is about inspiring your followers to live life better. We discussed who has inspired them in their lives. We are looking at some inspiring leaders such as Malala Yousafsai. This video is a trailer to a documentary about her. We read an article about her and many of the students will read her autobiography which I am sure they will be inspired by.

I am really looking forward to watching you grow as leaders this year guys. I think you have so much potential and really believe that if you start seeing yourself as a leader you will begin to really have a big influence on the younger students and your friends.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016


We have done quite a bit of sketching over the last few weeks. We have been learning to create smooth gradients and good contrast. The students practiced making objects look 3D by using shading.

In another task the students were given paper coloured middle grey. They then used a black crayon to show shadows and a white crayon to show highlights. They copied an egg. It was a challenging task that encouraged the development of observation skills.

We have spent quite a bit of time drawing trees. This has included speed drawing with ball point pens as well as drawing with graphite pencils and charcoal. Charcoal was a new experience for many. It was challenging but many have opted to draw with it now.  As part of the process the students made multiple drafts and gave and received feedback for them. Here are a few of the trees.