Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 9: Our Presentation to 'Sarah'

It has taken a while to put this blog post together because as a teacher I was quite overwhelmed by the many golden moments we had last Monday! Delia Baskerville, senior drama lecturer from the school of Education at Victoria University in Wellington, visited us in the role of ‘Sarah’, who in our drama is one of our company’s managers. The children presented their work to her, following the plan they had put together the previous week, and it was a very successful visit. ‘Sarah’ was extremely impressed by the detailed knowledge the team had of their different research areas and their ability to explain and clarify what they meant in response to questions that challenged their understanding.

The first part of our morning was spent putting the finishing touches to our posters and arranging them around the room so they could be presented to ‘Sarah’, when she arrived. We had a run through of how we would welcome her, considering carefully the etiquette of introducing ourselves, making her feel welcome, offering seats, answering questions, guiding her through the presentation, inviting her feedback, and closing the visit and farewelling her at the end. We also had a quick practice at being ‘information buttons’ and some time to think of how best to explain and present the poster work.

‘Sarah’ arrived after morning tea. The welcome was effective with Sally meeting her at the door, introducing herself, welcoming her with a badge and an outline of the presentation (on the company letterhead paper). Mia then invited ‘Sarah’ to look at the first part of the informative foyer design, which was about ‘Life on Board The Aumoana’. The rest of the group were lined up as ‘information buttons’, ready to read aloud excerpts from diaries written by scientists working on board The Aumoana (which they had written earlier). After ‘Sarah’ had activated the different buttons, (and learned a lot about life on board the boat!), she was invited to watch a short film (made by the team) where a number of research scientists (some of the team in role) answered questions about life on the boat. This was a very interactive and effective start to the presentation.

Mia being an 'information button'

'Sarah' is invited to watch some videos, which the team have made to give information about life on board the boat and diving in the Ross Sea.

Julius then introduced himself and offered to guide her through the different poster displays. At each display the group who was responsible for that work, presented their poster and answered ‘Sarah’s’ questions. As well as being guided through the different research posters ‘Sarah’ was also shown another video about diving in the Ross Sea (again made by several team members), given an explanation of the company’s historical timeline by Georgia, and given an explanation of the team’s plan for their next expedition by Lucy and Zoe, which included showing ‘Sarah’ the longitude and latitude points on a map of the Ross Sea where the sampling has been planned to take place. While ‘Sarah’ visited the different areas of the informative foyer design the team also visited each other to learn about the different areas of expertise. The atmosphere was a buzz of information being shared and discussed, filmed and photographed by Max, Louis, Helena, and Tim. Once the presentation was over Rosa and Lucy offered ‘Sarah’ a refreshment and then invited her to a meeting with the whole team where they wanted to invite her to give her feedback.

Julius explains ocean currents to 'Sarah'

Robbie explaining ocean depths around New Zealand

'Sarah' questioning the team about their work

Lucy and Zoe explain the longitude and latitude points where the team plan to do their sampling on their next planned expedition to the Ross Sea

The class atmosphere during the presentation is a buzz of information being shared

‘Sarah’ was encouraging and shared a warm and positive response to the work that had been shared in the presentation, but she was also clear that there was pressure on her from management to withdraw the money for the project and to rent out the foyer space for other uses. This tension lead the children to work collectively to convince her with strong arguments about why they felt the informative foyer design was important. Throughout the meeting the team impressively remained in role. Not one hand was raised in the air, instead every team member listened carefully to each other’s arguments, adding their own ideas at the best time to build on the different arguments being offered. At one moment there were two team members finishing off each other’s sentences, every one was very much in tune with each other judging successfully when it was best to lead with an argument and when to follow and support others.

The meeting: 'Sarah' and the team in role as colleagues

A meeting of thinkers!

'Sarah' begins to be won over by the wonderful arguments!

The team close the meeting and farewell 'Sarah' with the national anthem.

The team showed they were able to think critically about the value of marine scientific research and its importance to society. The team drew on everything they had learned and their own personal experiences to try and convince ‘Sarah’ to support their project. They brought up the oil spill, the fishing industry (including problems of over fishing), pollution, and the larger eco-system of the planet. None of these ideas had been explored yet as a group, all the links just bubbled up as the team developed their arguments. The team showed that they were a confident and capable group as they put forward a number of good strong arguments about the importance of educating people about the scientific work done in the sea around New Zealand and came up with some creative ideas about how the foyer display could make money including charging school groups/visitors or making informative DVDs to sell to people who visited.

It was wonderful to be a part of a discussion where children and adults were sharing ideas, questioning one another, and challenging each other to think critically as equals, all being in role in the drama as colleagues. The children clearly saw themselves, in their roles in the drama, as capable, resourceful, and confident team members.

When Zoe stood up at the end of the meeting to thank ‘Sarah’ for visiting and to invite everyone to stand for the National Anthem, it felt just right after the impressive ‘think tank’ meeting and all their powerful arguments around education and the sustainability of the planet, it was quite moving!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 8

Our finished posters!

Putting the final details on our posters.


Today we spent the morning putting together the final copies of our foyer display posters. We finished editing all of our written research and printed it out. We then had to organise all of the writing, along with images we had chosen and photos of our clay models, into a presentable order. We did a lot of cutting, experimenting with different titles and headings, and re-arranging of our work on pieces of card. We did this until we were happy that they looked visually effective and had all the important information on them in the best possible order. When we were happy with our poster layout we glued everything into place and used pastels to add colourful borders, underlines, and bold ‘attention grabbing’ headings. We were a very industrious and busy team until every group finished their research posters! Posters describing life on board The Aumoana and about the diving work done on the boat were also completed. The company logo was also finalised and company letterhead designed, which had the logo, mission statement, and company name on it. A company name tag was also made for’ Sarah’ to wear when she made her visit. These were very effective. The posters all look fantastic and everyone felt very proud seeing all their research presented so effectively. Well done team!

'Sarah's' name badge and our company letterhead showing logo and mission statement.

Once the posters were completed Max and Sally filmed one group that had organised an interview about life on board The Aumoana and another group that had organised a presentation about diving procedures and the equipment needed for diving under ice in Antarctica.

These films have now been made into small movies that will be on display as part of our foyer display design. Actors, film crew, and audience (with their feedback and support) all worked well to get these put together.


Mr Chadwick wrote back to us with a couple of Maori proverbs that he thought might go well with our mission statement. After some discussion this is the proverb we chose to go alongside our company’s mission statement:

He taura whiri kotahi mai ana te kopunga tai no i te pu au
From the source to the mouth of the sea all things are joined together as one


Our next job was to sit down as a whole team and decide how we were going to present all our work to ‘Sarah’ when she visited.

Ms Gain stepped back and let the team discuss this on their own, this was a big challenge! We had to organise ourselves, listen to each other, negotiate, and make decisions that the whole group were happy with. Rosa was the scribe and everyone shared their ideas.

The team deciding on how they will present their work to 'Sarah'

An order of events was written down, which include:

• a welcome (offering a drink and giving her a name badge),
• a general overview of what the presentation will involve (giving ‘Sarah’ a copy of the programme so she knows what to expect – on our company letterhead!),
• showing the posters about Life on the Boat and the movie of the interview.
• inviting ‘Sarah’ to push ‘information buttons’ where we read out diary entries that have been written about doing research work on a boat,
• someone guiding her around the different research groups and each group presenting their work and talking her through the poster,
• showing her the poster about the next planned research expedition,
• showing the second movie on diving along with the diving poster,
• showing the company historical timeline, including the mission statement and values,
• inviting ‘Sarah’ to join the team at a meeting table so that we can invite her to respond and ask her “what do you think?”
• farewelling with a song: ‘God of Nations’ in Te Reo Maori and English (“because our work is to do with the whole country”).


In the afternoon we received an email from ‘Sarah’ in management with some worrying news. The news was that senior management are considering renting out parts of the company building in order to help the company financially. The parts of the building that they are considering renting out, and thus removing from NZ COSSA’s useable space, include one of the meeting rooms, some of the carparking space, and the entrance foyer!

This news was met with outcry and disappointment, as this will leave us without a space for all our work. Cries from around the meeting table included:

“They can’t do that, we have worked so hard!”

“Ring Sarah and tell her we don’t like her email”

Georgia reading email from 'Sarah' to the team.

The team then discussed further what this news meant for us. We decided that the decision wasn’t final and there was still a chance of convincing senior management that having an informative foyer display is important for educating the public about our work. Two ideas shared were:

1. To talk to some people in education and get some support from them. It was felt that once educators saw our work they would understand how important it is to educate people about sea science activity around New Zealand.

2. To have a trial for a month and show management how effective the foyer display is in informing and getting interest from the public.

At the end of her email 'Sarah' said that she could no longer make a visit today and suggested that perhaps she put her visit on hold until a more final decision was made about the future of the building. The team thought that Sarah should still visit so that we could have the chance to convince her and show her the quality of the work we have done. Lucy found an old phone in the classroom and Rosa ‘made a call’ to Sarah to respond to the email and ask her to still visit us.

Sarah agreed to visit us next Monday. Let’s hope we can convince her!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 7: Foyer Display Design Work and Muritai TV

Today we worked really hard in our groups to finish our research posters and foyer display design. We worked so hard and were so busy that the day flew by, all the bells for morning tea, lunch, and the end of day rang before we knew it! Ms Gain even forgot to take any photos!

We finished adding information to our posters, chose the images we wanted including maps and diagrams, created titles and headings for our posters, and published our information on keynote and comic life. We also chose some information to present by pretending to be information buttons and film footage. Next time we meet we are going to be visited by a drama specialist in role as our company manager. We are going to have to present all our work to her and walk her through our foyer design ideas.

So far for our foyer display design we have:

• 6 different research posters (1 for each group) with either an ‘information button’ or piece of ‘film footage’ to go with it.

• Clay models of, and information about, the different types of equipment used on board The Aumoana.

• A company timeline and history.

• NZ COSSA’s Mission Statement, Values, and Company Logo.

• A display about diving work including a poster and a small video clip.

• A display about Life on Board the Boat including boat plans, an example of an upcoming planned expedition, photos from on the boat (our freeze frames), details about the equipment that needs to be worn while working on deck, ‘information buttons’ reading some excerpts from diary entries written on the boat, and a small videoed interview with scientists about their experiences working on The Aumoana.

Muritai TV visited us today and spent a long time talking to us about the work we have been doing. We all took turns to tell the interviewers about our fictional company and the work we have been doing to design a new informative foyer display for the company building. There was a lot to talk about as we described our company, (its values, mission statement, history, workspaces), the research we have been doing, and what learning in Mantle of the Expert is all about. Keep an eye out for the link to the documentary here soon!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 6: Afternoon: Some Drama

In the afternoon we practised filming some of our small dramas that we had created last week to be a part of our foyer display. We have one group doing an interview with a number of ‘marine scientists’, which gives information about life on board the boat, and another group doing a diving equipment check and a short informative talk about diving in Antarctica.

Some of us as audience made suggestions to the group about how they could make the information clearer and the people filming also made suggestions, for example how best to stand or sit including not covering faces with paper when reading, and ways to make things clearer such as thanking each person after each interview before moving on to the next person. These suggestions helped polish the performances. Next week we hope to have some finished films of these small dramas to be a part of our final foyer display.

Finally we used drama to reflect on the values and mission statement of our company that we had come up with last week. Going back into role and imagining ourselves as marine scientists working for NZ COSSA, we thought back to a moment that may have led us to working as a marine scientist. We thought about something that could have made us want to work with marine life and investigating marine environments, and in a job that involved practical work on a boat as well as research and lab work. Here are a few of the ‘memories’ that were shared…

I knew I wanted to work in the sea when I caught my first fish, it was a little spotty and I thought it was amazing…I also wanted a job where I could be active and wouldn’t have to just sit at a desk all the time.

When I first saw a blue whale I decided at that moment that I really really wanted to be a sea scientist…

When I was 8 we went to a place called Green Island and I went snorkelling there and I saw all these corals and turtles and all these animals that I had never seen before and I wanted to protect them…

Once my sister dived into the sea and caught a baby shark and I thought ‘I want to work in the sea!’, I wanted to find more sharks!

When I was little me and my parents went diving in the sea except we didn’t have all our equipment we just went beside the beach and saw fish, and I decided I wanted to do proper diving when I grew up…

Once I saw lots of beautiful sea creatures, lots of fish, dolphins, and turtles and I thought I really wanted to work where I could help look after those animals.

When I was little I loved playing games about animals, especially sea animals…
Mia P.

When I was little I loved skipping along the beach, examining the little things on the seaweed that washed up on the shore…

Day 6: Mid Morning: Planning A Research Expedition to Antarctica: Maths and Problem Solving.

Next we planned a research expedition to Antarctica. Each group had a different research project that involved using different sampling equipment, the equipment that we had just modelled using clay.

The team was given a range of information including:

• The expedition was to be 3 weeks long
• Distance from Wellington to Antarctica is about 3000km
• The boat travels 20km an hour
• Antarctica is dark all the time in Winter and light all the time in Summer
• In winter there is a lot of ice in the Ross Sea that would make sampling too hard and also make it more dangerous for the boat to travel through.
• Plankton blooms occur in Spring and Autumn

Using this information we had to choose the best time to travel (we decided late Spring: November), work out the travelling time in hours first (150hours each way) and then days (6 ½ each way), and then work out how many days remained for the research work (8 days).

Each group were then given the longitude and latitude co-ordinates of the sampling sites they needed to visit, a map of the Ross Sea area, and information about the amount of time it takes to get samples using the different pieces of equipment.

Using this information the different groups marked their sampling sites on the map and worked out how many hours work they would need to complete their sampling at each site using their equipment, including deploying the equipment and collecting the samples once back on board. Once every team had done this we came back as a group and negotiated when the work would be done in the remaining 8 research days. This was a challenge as we had to make sure everyone was allocated enough time to get all their sampling done!

The sampling sites that had to be visited by the different research groups.

Working as a team to make sure everyone's research was scheduled in!

Day 6: Morning: Clay Models of Equipment

This morning we studied photos and diagrams of different types of equipment, which are used on board research vessels to collect samples for studying. Each research group studied a piece of equipment that would be used for their particular area of research. We then used clay to make models of the different pieces of equipment. Some of us found the 3D modelling quite a challenge, and there was a lot of working out how best to use the clay to get it to stand on its own!

We then made labels to go with our piece of equipment that described what they were used for and how they were used. Different groups used different computer programmes to make the labels, some used Comic Life and some used Keynote.

Sedimentary Trap: Lowered into the sea for several months at a time to collect phytoplankton and microscopic zooplankton samples.
Model by: Helena and Georgia.

DTIS: An underwater digital camera that takes photos of the sea floor.
Model by Tim.

Side Scan Sonar: Travels alongside the boat and collects information to make a 3D map of the sea floor.
Model by Max and Tom.

MOCNESS: Multiple opening and closing nets that collect samples from the sea at different depths.
Model by Lucy and Zoe.

CTD: This piece of equipment is lowered into the sea to collect water samples to measure the salinity, temperature, and depth of the water.

CPR: A Continuous Plankton Recorder. This instrument is towed behind the boat to collect plankton samples.
Model by Samantha and Rosa.

A Multicorer: Takes shallow cores, about 30cm deep, from the sea floor.
Model by Mia P. and Sally.

Life Jacket, Steel Cap Boots, and Hard Hat: Safety gear to be worn while working with any equipment on deck.
Model by Mia W.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Day 5: Afternoon: Reflecting on our Learning

This afternoon we did some preparation for being interviewed by Muritai TV about what we have been doing on Mondays in the Green Room. We reflected on what we had learnt about Mantle of the Expert so far and we discussed the positives/minuses/and interesting things about this type of learning. We also came up with some key sentences about what we have learnt in our research. For homework we are going to have a go at sharing these key sentences with someone in our family.

These are the key sentences that each research group came up with this afternoon:

Group 1
Zooplankton can be different sizes some are microscopic and some are as big as jellyfish.
Plankton means wandering or drifting.
Zooplankton don’t swim very far they mainly float in the sea currents.
Krill is a type of zooplankton.
Krill is very important, nearly everything in the sea eats krill.
Zooplankton is an animal type of plankton, they eat phytoplankton and other plankton.

Group 2
Pythoplankton is a type of microscopic plant that lives in the sea.
Plankton means drifting or floating.
Phytoplankton is moved by the currents, it cannot swim on its own.
Plankton needs nutrients and sunlight to grow, just like plants on earth.
Phytoplankton breathes carbon dioxide and breathes out oxygen.
Phytoplankton make their own food, they are at the bottom of the marine food web.

Group 3
Antarctic Silverfish and the toothfish are part of the notothenioidei fish family.
Silverfish are a type of fish that can live in freezing cold waters, there blood doesn’t freeze.
Silverfish are endangered because they grow under ice sheets and the ice is melting.
Penguins are dying out because the silverfish are dying out.

Group 4
There are volcanoes and sea mountains on the sea floor.
There are different types of muds and clays on the sea floor.
There are fossils on the sea floor like phytoplankton, and zooplankton such as krill.
There are risen bits of land on the sea floor such as the Chatham Rise.

Group 5
Cores are drilled from the sea floor to find different layers.
There are different depths of ocean around New Zealand.
There is a current called the circumpolar current that comes from Antarctica and its cold.
There are currents called the tropical and subtropical current, and these are warmer.
The oceans around NZ are the Atlantic, the South Pacific, and the Tasman Sea.

Group 6
The drill pipes on boats drill into the sea floor and collect tubes of earth to study called cores.
Cores can contain rock, sediments, and fossils.
Cores have a lot of history, different layers can have different fossils.
Fossils can tell you about what was alive in different times.
Cores have different layers from different times.
The layer at the top is the newest.
The deepest layer is the oldest.