WEEK 2: Water, Water, Everywhere

Welcome to the second week of the Summer Learning Journey. We hope that you enjoyed learning about the amazing land habitats that we have here in New Zealand and overseas. This week we are going to  focus on water; the lakes, rivers and oceans that make up our beautiful country. Are you ready to jump in and get wet? Let’s hope you brought your togs!




DAY 1: Swimming with the Fish


Activity 1: Surfs Up! [4 points]

In New Zealand we have many beautiful beaches and stunning waterfalls. One of the most spectacular waterfalls is called Kitekite and it is located in Piha, a small village west of Auckland. Tourists and locals flock to Piha during the summer season to enjoy the waterfall, the local beach, and the great surf. Have you ever tried surfing? Although I have never surfed many of my friends have and they absolutely love it. In fact, it is their favourite summer activity! What is yours?

For this activity, please take a picture of yourself doing one of your favourite summer activities. It could be anything! Here is a picture of one of our team members (Laura) doing one of her favourite summer activities.

On your blog, post a picture of yourself doing one of your favourite summer activities. Below the picture tell us what the activity is and tell us why it is one of your favourites.


Activity 2: The Great Taupo Cycle Challenge [4 points]

Every year approximately 7500 people arrive in Taupo, New Zealand to compete in a one-day cycling race around Lake Taupo. The race route is 160 km in length. Participants can choose to compete in the full race or the half-race (80 km). Let’s imagine that you were given a free ticket to compete in the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge next year and you were able to bring three people with you as your ‘support crew.’ Who would you bring with you?

If it was me, I would choose my son, Aronui, as one of my supporters because he’s really funny and energetic. I think that he would make sure that I had a great time and that I spent the entire day laughing and smiling. I would also choose my sister, Leigh, because she is very strong and fast. Thirdly, I would choose my co-leader, Hazel, because she is very organised and would make sure that we followed the trail and didn’t get lost!

On your blog, list the three people you would like to have on your Lake Taupo Cycle Race Support Crew. Tell us why you have chosen each person.


Activity 3: Something Smells Fishy…[10 points]

One of the longest and largest rivers in the world is called the Amazon River. It is located in South America and is approximately 6400 kilometres (kms) long. That is four times longer than the entire country of New Zealand. Wow!

Scientists believe that there are over 3000 different kinds of fish that live in the Amazon River. Now, that is a lot of fish! To learn more about fish, we went online and found some really cool facts about fish.

For this activity, we are going to provide you with five sentences about fish. Some of them are true and some are them are not. It is your job to read these ‘facts’, and decide whether they are true or false.


On your blog, write out each fact and in CAPITAL LETTERS beside the fact, write the word ‘TRUE’ if it is a true fact or ‘FALSE’ if it is not true.

True or False?


Fish Fact #1: The oldest known fish in the world is a 65 year old Australian lungfish.

Fish Fact #2: Sharks are the only fish that have eyelids.

Fish Fact #3: Starfish are a type of fish.

Fish Fact #4: Fish communicate with each other by making low-pitched sounds (moans, hisses, etc)

Fish Fact #5: Fish usually swim together in groups called ‘classes.’

DAY 2: Fabulous Flora

Activity 1: Weaving a Tall Tale…[4 points]

There is a long history in New Zealand of collecting natural plants, including flax (harakeke), and using them to create cloaks, baskets (kete), mats, traps and ropes. Flax weaving is an art form. It can take years for people to perfect the art of weaving. Have you ever tried it?

For this activity, you are asked to watch a short video of someone weaving a fish (ika) out of flax.

On your blog, tell us whether or not you would like to try flax weaving. Does it interest you? Why or why not?


Activity 2: Mighty Mangroves [4 points]

Here in New Zealand we have a native tree called a Kiwi Mangrove. Kiwi Mangroves grow in shallow water (harbours). The largest mangrove or manawa forests in New Zealand are located in Northland and in Auckland. According to many environmental experts, they are one of the toughest and strongest trees in the world because they can survive in really harsh (difficult) conditions.

For this activity you are asked to think of someone who is very tough and strong. They can be someone who you know personally or they can be a character that you have read about in a book, seen in a movie, or on a television show.


On your blog, tell us about this person. Who are they? Why are they, in your opinion, so strong and tough?


Activity 3: Stranger than Fiction [10 points + 5 possible points]

Here on earth there are more than 298 000 different kinds (species) of plants. Some of these plants live on land and some live in the water. Follow this link to read about 10 of the strangest plant species in the world. When you are finished, choose two of the plants from the list.




On your blog, list three similarities and three differences between the two plants that you chose. To earn five extra bonus points, post a picture of both plants on your blog..



DAY 3: First You ‘Sea’ Me, Now You Don’t…


Activity 1: Night Owls [4 points]

Here in New Zealand we have many amazing and unique sea creatures, including penguins. The blue penguin, or kororā, is particularly special because it is the smallest penguin in the entire world! Blue penguins are typically found on the east coast of the South Island in places like Oamaru but they can be hard to spot as they rarely leave the water. If they do come onto land it is usually at night, when most of us are sound asleep! That’s because they are nocturnal. Not all of us, however, sleep all night. In fact, some people love to stay awake late into the evening. People who like to stay up late are called ‘night owls.’ Are you a night owl or are you an early riser, like me? I typically wake up every day around 6:00 a.m. and jump out of bed, ready to start the day!

On your blog, tell us whether you are a night owl or an early riser. Then, tell us about the rest of your family. Are they the same as you? .


Activity 2: A Local Delicacy [4 points]

Whitebait is a very special fish in New Zealand. It is rumoured (believed) to be a very delicious fish. Some restaurants in New Zealand make dishes that feature whitebait, including whitebait fritters. Have you ever tried whitebait fritters? They are a favourite dish of many of my friends. I, personally, prefer foods from places like Mexico and Italy. Pizza and nachos are two of my all-time favourite foods! In fact, I often make homemade pizza with Aronui on Friday nights using the same ingredients (pizza base, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, chicken, red onion, basil and feta cheese) each time.

For this activity, please choose a favourite food and find a recipe for it.


On your blog, share a list of the ingredients that you need to make this food. You must type out the list of ingredients yourself (and not simply copy and paste it from a website) to earn full points.


Activity 3: The Midnight Zone [10 points]


Deep in the ocean, far below the surface, lies an area called the ‘Midnight Zone.’ It is called the midnight zone because it is always dark or ‘pitch black’ in this area. Much of the deep sea has yet to be explored by humans, however, we do know a little bit about the creatures that live here. One of these creatures is called the ‘Colossal Squid.’ A colossal squid can weigh as much as 495 kilograms (kg)! Here in New Zealand, we have a full sized colossal squid on display at
Te Papa Museum in Wellington. It is the only specimen of its kind in the entire world! This squid weighs approximately 500 kg. In 2018, a team at Te Papa decided to move the giant squid from one area of the museum to another.


Let’s imagine that the average adult can lift 25 kg and the average child can lift 15 kg. How many adults and children will it take to move the giant squid into its new room at Te Papa? [Note: There is more than one right answer to this question.]

On your blog, tell us how you will solve this maths problem. You can write your answer in words, use a Sketchpad image or post a video explaining how you would figure it out. Be sure to give us your final answer. .


DAY 4: Spectacular, Spectacular


Activity 1: Planes, Trains and Automobiles [4 points]

Arguably, one of the most dramatic and spectacular (beautiful) places to visit in New Zealand is Milford Sound. It has been referred to as the ‘eighth wonder of the world.’ It is a beautiful fiord (steep valley) that was formed when big pieces of ice (glaciers) melted. The melted glaciers created a beautiful river that is surrounded by dramatic cliffs and snow-capped mountains. People who visit Milford Sound are able to take a boat cruise through the middle of the fiord, walk around the area on the Milford Track or fly above the fiord as part of a private helicopter tour.

Let’s imagine that you had the chance to visit Milford Sound by boat, foot (walking) or air (helicopter). Which option would you prefer?

On your blog tell us which of the three options you would take to explore Milford Sound. Be sure to tell us why you have chosen this option.


Activity 2: It’s All in the Name [4 points]

Rotorua is one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations. It is a city filled with incredible forests, mountain biking tracks, lakes, and geothermal wonders, including hot springs (geysers) and mud pools. One of the most famous geothermal pools is called the Devil’s Bath at Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. It is a neon green pool of stinky water.

Over the years, people have suggested that we come up with a new name for the pool. What do you think we should call it? Take a minute to let your creative juices flow.

On your blog, give us a list of three to five options for the name of this geothermal pool. Put a star (*) beside the name that you like the most.



Activity 3: Picture Perfect [10 points]

While New Zealand is home to some beautiful waterfalls, there are a number of stunning waterfalls in places like Canada and South Africa. In Canada, the largest waterfall is called Niagara Falls. It sits on the border between Canada and the United States of America. Thousands of tourists flock (go) to Niagara Falls every year to see the falls and to have their picture taken in front of this natural wonder. Over the past few years people have started taking ‘selfies’ and posting them online. Do you ever take selfies?

For this activity, choose one of the following three selfies. From left to right: Selfie #1, Selfie #2, Selfie #3








On your blog, write a short story about what you think is happening in the picture. Be sure to tell us where you think the people are and what you think they were doing at the time that they stopped to pose for the selfie. To earn full points, the story must be 8 – 10 sentences long.

DAY 5: Wasting Away


Activity 1: Off the Menu [4 points]

Fishing is a really common activity in New Zealand. In fact, people have fished in New Zealand for centuries. Unfortunately, over the past few decades some people have caught too many fish in one area and left the region without enough fish to refill (replenish) the stocks. When this happens we call the area ‘overfished’ and it is closed to all private and commercial fishing. If people are caught fishing in these areas, they are required to pay a fine (money). The maximum fine for fishing in a restricted area is $100 000.

What do you think about this rule? Is it fair that people are charged up to $100 000 for overfishing?

On your blog, tell us what you think about this rule and why you think it!.


Activity 2: The Black Drain [4 points]

Approximately two-thirds of all rivers and one-half of all lakes in New Zealand are too polluted to swim in, according to a recent article in an online newspaper. One of the most polluted is the Tarawera River in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand. Pollution enters the river from a local pulp and paper mill, from local farms and through the local sewage system. Many other rivers in New Zealand are also polluted with waste from businesses and farms.

Use Google to help you find two other polluted rivers in New Zealand.


On your blog, tell us:

1) The names of the rivers. 2) The location of the rivers. 3) What is being done to clean up the rivers (if anything).



Activity 3: Faded Glory [5 points]

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system, made up of 2900 individual reefs. It is so big that it can actually be seen from space! The reef is located on the east coast of Australia and many people believe that it is millions and millions of years old. For most of its life, the reef has been a healthy, vibrant ecosystem. Over the past thirty years, however, it has changed dramatically. Much of the beautiful bright coral has become bleached and has lost its colour. Sections of the reef have also been damaged by tourists, cyclones and the introduction of new, damaging invasive species.

The Australian government is working to protect and preserve the reef. Each year they spend about $200 million dollars repairing and protecting the reef. It is a lot of money and they could really use some help raising the money (funds) required to repair the reef. This is where you come in!

On your blog, list three different ideas or strategies for raising funds to preserve the Great Barrier Reef. What could you do to fundraise here in New Zealand?