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  • Rights: 2012. University of Waikato. All Rights Reserved.
    Published 16 August 2012 Referencing Hub media

    Alastair Kerr explains how Rhode Street School students are using Science Learning Hub resources to turn their school grounds into an outdoor learning environment. Alastair finds the interactives and videos particularly useful in providing his students with reliable information and scientific expertise.

    To view the resources Alastair used with his students, visit the Ferns context.


    The kids found the area behind on the south side of the building, there was nothing growing there, a bit of grass but it was really scruffy, so the question we came up with, what will grow there? We discovered that ferns are probably one of the best options. So we found some ferns, we planted ferns. So today we’ve been out looking at those ferns, identifying the parts of them, what makes them different from plants.

    The website gives us the detail that we need. It’s kind of like having an expert right beside you to show you these things and give you the knowledge and expertise that you probably don’t have yourself, and you can rely on this to give you the help in the classroom and the teaching.

    On that frond, are they growing on all of them?

    Spores are growing on the bigger leaves not on the smaller leaves, and it’s starting to grow down the middle more.

    Are the fronds the spores are growing on, are they any different from the other fronds?

    Yeah, cos some, cos the fronds on some of them are a bit thicker.

    The different kids find things at their own level, and they’re able to read the things that they can and digest those things. Particularly with those animations, it gives them, it’s visually appealing so it appeals to younger kids as well as the older ones. The videos too, with the experts, I think they are brilliant because they have these people demonstrating things and showing them things that you can’t see anywhere else.

    Asplenium lucrosum – cultivated hen and chickens fern – when it’s trying to make spores, the fronds segments are very narrow, whereas on the same plant, you get fronds which are not trying to make spores and the frond segments are quite wide.

    These people are people that are enthusiastic about their particular niche, and they have the expertise and they’re able to get across those ideas really well.

    When we took a group of our enviro-agents to visit Maungatautiri, to the ecological island there, and they got to thinking, why can’t we have our own? So what we saw out there on the back field is the start of it.

    But they’ve come up with the ideas. They’ve come up with some concept drawings and bits and pieces, and we put that together. One of the things we’ll be looking at with our ecological island is the Hidden Taonga, and I found that talking about those ecosystems, that’s what we’re wanting to develop.

    Well it’s going to give us the opportunity to give kids a real hands-on experience with looking at a lot of our native flora and fauna – be a place where the kids can actually start their own experiments and carry them out, watch them happening.

    The Learning Hub is going to be great to help support some of those ideas.

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