The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.
~Mark Van Doren
A SURPRISE package arrived in the mail the other day … ALL the way from the OTHER side of the WORLD! It was COMPLETELY unexpected and GREATLY appreciated by ALL! You may be asking yourselves, “What in the WORLD did the Battalion Bloggers RECEIVE from the other side of the world?”
Well, we have a VERY special TEACHER in AUSTRALIA who frequently leaves comments on our blog posts. His name? YOU guessed it: Ross Mannell! Earlier in the year, when the Battalion Bloggers were BRAND new to blogging, Ross left them a few comments. The bloggers have spent a LOT of time learning how to REPLY to these comments meaningfully. We asked MANY questions to learn MORE about Ross and the beautiful land he lives in. MANY of our bloggers wanted to learn more about the ANIMALS that lived in Australia. So, our teacher on the OTHER side of the world began to add to our knowledge by sharing detailed comments and posts, written JUST for US, on his extended comments for students blog.
Since Ross KNEW how keen we were to learn MORE about the animals in Australia, he sent us a care package he had collected with 36 … yup … THIRTY-SIX … different Australian ANIMAL baby cards! We are SURE glad Ross likes to shop at Woolworths! We’ve had an AMAZING adventure … a mini multidisciplinary INQUIRY … and learned SO much more about the wildlife in Australia.
On Monday, when we arrived, the cards were all taped to the wall outside our classroom. Each of us had a “sticky” and got to spend time reading EACH of the cards. There were twelve baby animals that lived in trees. Twelve of these baby animals lived on land AND twelve of these cards had baby animals that lived in the WATER! Oh … it was SO hard to choose just ONE baby animal to learn a little more about. MAYBE a FEW of the Battalion Bloggers will take on a triple doggy dare and do some FURTHER research at HOME! 😉
It’s FUNNY, but, once we’d place our “stickies” above the animal of our choice, we sat on the floor and took a CLOSER look. You will NEVER guess what we had created … a … GRAPH! Once we discovered it was a BAR graph we decided we needed to LABEL it! It needed a TITLE … and the horizontal and vertical axes needed to be labelled so that anyone passing by would understand what we were doing!
We discovered MANY interesting things while inspecting our graph. The biggest group of people chose land animals. Fewer people chose tree animals. More people chose koalas than any of the other animals. Three more people chose land animals than water animals. There were SO many interesting bits of information we could see on our bar graph.
NEXT came the recording of our “wonders” and time on the iPads to discover MORE about the animals we had chosen! What an AMAZING day of adventure! It’s time to grab a warm drink and settle in for an enjoyable read! What follows are just a FEW of our discoveries:
Tree Animal Discoveries:
“Wow! I think it is SO cool that flying foxes are also called Fruit Bats and they eat eucalyptus flowers! Did you know their wing span is a metre wide? I thought it was so cool that there are sixty kinds of bats in Australia. They get their name because their heads look like a fox. Flying foxes are 25 cm long for an average size. Flying Foxes are members of the pterapdidoe group. There are three types of Flying Foxes: a Red Flying Fox, Grey Headed Flying Fox and Golden Brown Flying Fox. I wish I knew what part of Austalia they lived in!” ~Ethan
“Here we GO! Did you know that the Grey Headed Flying Fox is Austalia’s largest bat? Do you know what the Grey Headed Flying Fox’s scientific name is? It is Pteropus Poliocephalus! Did you know that the Grey Headed Flying Fox’s alternative name is Fruit Bat? Do you know what the Grey Headed Flying Fox’s size range is? It is 23 – 28 cm! I wonder what the other two types of flying foxes are like?” ~Melvin
“Wow! Did you know that a koala’s lifespan is up to eighteen years? Did you know that a koala can be 70 – 90 cm or 27 to 35 inches long? Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves. Koala’s are very picky eaters. Those picky little eaters! Here’s another fact about its food. If a koala can’t find any eucalyptus leaves they will not eat! A baby koala stays in his or her mother’s pouch for nine to ten MONTHS!” ~Catherine
“Did you ever wonder about koalas? Koalas live in forks of a tree. Koalas sleep in the forks of a tree for about 19 hours a day! The koalas are nocturnal, meaning that they sleep during the day and are active at night! Did you know that koalas are only found in Australia? They look like soft and cuddly teddy bears. Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves. They are very, very picky eaters. If a Koala can’t find any eucalyptus leave they will not eat at all. The oil on the eucalyptus leaves is poisonous to mammals. They live in the eucalyptus trees and the leaves provide the water that they drink. Koalas are mammals. The koala’s fur helps to keep it cool in summer and warm in the winter. It was really exciting to do this and I hope I can do it again!” ~Hilary
“Did you know that koalas sleep in the fork of a tree? They sleep between 16 and 20 hours a day. They eat eucalyptus leaves. They are very picky eaters. If they don’t find eucalyptus leaves they will not eat. Don’t you think that’s amazing? Koalas do live a long life. They live around 12 to 16 years old. In fact the female koala lives longer than male koalas. That is amazing!” ~Aya
“Hmmm. What do I wonder about koalas? Wait … I know … what do koalas make their homes out of? The answer is koalas sleep in the day. They sleep in the nooks in trees. I did lots of research! Did you know koalas can sleep for up to 18 hours? Those LAZY koalas! These plum and fuzzy mammals were hunted in the 1920s and 1030s. I still do not know what they were hunted for. Even though koalas are called bears they are marsupials. Baby koalas are called joeys. What do koalas eat … they eat eucalyptus leaves! Guess what? Every so often koalas eat a little bit of dirt! It helps them digest eucalyptus leaves. When a baby is born it rides on it’s mother’s back, or it clings on it’s mother’s belly. What? Really? Koalas have two thumbs. Koala’s do not eat meat at all! Mother koalas are pregnant for about 35 days. Wow. Did you know when a baby koala is born it is blind and hairless. I had so much fun researching! I hope I can do this again!” ~Jenna
Land Animal Discoveries:
“Hey, red kangaroos have squared-off muzzles! Females are smaller than males, just like us! That’s a way that you can tell which is which gender. Isn’t that cool? Where do red kangaroos live, you ask? Well, they live in a lot of habitats throughout Australia and New Zealand. The red kangaroo usually is found in dry, grassy and sometimes even in desert areas. What? Red kangaroos can live by or in tropical forests. Red kangaroos eat grasses, leaves and other veggies that can be spotted by them. Red kangaroos travel in groups called mobs. Wow! Red kangaroos can jump up to nine or ten feet. They can grow up to 1.9 metres. The tail length is about 1 metre. These kangaroos are about 1.5 metres high. They can weigh up to 85 kg. I had the best time sharing my research with you!” ~Kennedy
“Did you know that red kangaroos can swim? Hey, did you also know that red baby kangaroos are called joeys? I wonder how high a red kangaroo can jump? A red baby kangaroo lives in it’s mother’s pouch for about 8 months. I can’t believe that red kangaroos are mammals. If a red kangaroo is pushed under water, the kangaroo may use its for paw to hold it’s enemy under water so it drowns it. Oh my gosh. Did you know that a female red kangaroo is smaller, lighter and faster than a male kangaroo? Red kangaroos eat grass, leaves and tree bark. Wowza! I can’t believe that a red kangaroo has good eye sight but only responds to moving objects. I had a lot of fun researching!” ~Kelly
“I wonder why emus are called emus? Did you know that a group of emus is called a mob? Emus can’t fly but they can swim! When I found out that they are the second largest bird in the world, I wondered what the third largest bird is. Emus are big birds and so are their eggs. They are large and dark green. In fact, they are so dark it looks like black. Emus also eat leaves, grass and fruits, plants, insects and flowers. I want to research more about emus at home.” ~Daniel
“Have you ever seen a bilby? They are super cute! Bilbies are light grey and white with a really long black tail that has a white tip. They have a long pointy nose, big ears and are about the same size as a rabbit. I wish I had a bilby stuffy!” ~Sam
“Did you know that bearded dragons are both vegetarians and meat eaters? Bearded dragons diets are 80% bugs and 20% plants if they are young. 80% plants and 20% bugs if they are adults. The only reason I know this is because of a very special someone named … you guess it … ROSS! Because he know that we were very interested with the animals in Australia. So, he shipped us some very cool Australian animal cards. The bearded dragons life span is 7 to 10 years in the wild and 12 years if adopted. That was a lot of fun.” ~Alex
“If you want to learn about tasmanian devils, keep reading! Tasmanian devils eat insects, snakes, birds, (I don’t know hot tasmanian devils even CATCH birds), fish and anything up to the size of a wombat. The tasmanian devil is the size of a small dog like a Chihuahua, for example. Usually, tasmanian devils live in hollow logs and old abandoned wombat burrows. I wonder why the tasmanian devils can’t make their own place to live? Tasmanian devils can live up to 6 years but if they are kept they will live about 8 years. Tasmanian devils got the word devil from their screams and they got the word tasmanian from a city. Usually tasmanian devils cream when they are fighting over food or territory. I hope I can learn more about the tasmanian devil.” ~Isaac
“OM Gosh! Did you ever know that eastern blue tongued lizards do not lay eggs? Oh. I’m just doing some research on easter blue tongued lizards. They live in Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea. Their length is up to 20 inches. I don’t want to be that small! Really, they can live 10 to 15 years … not a long life. And, they eat bugs and rodents. Ugh! The eastern blue tongued lizard can lose their tail when they are frightened, run and grow a new one. I hope that we can research on Australian animals again!” ~Kale
“Hi readers! My name is Noam and I am going to tell you about short beaked echidnas. The first thing I’m going to tell you is how long echidnas can live fore. They can live for 58 years in zoos but, unfortunately, it is unknown in the wild. Echidnas are one of the two egg laying mammals. The other one is the platypus. Echidnas can live in Australia, Tasmania, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The habitat echidnas can survive in are: scrubland, deserts and forests. The food echidnas eat is: ants, termites and earthworms. The size of an echidna is 14 to 30 inches long, depending on the species. A baby echidna is called a puggle. It crawls into it’s mother’s pouch after hatching from the egg. I hope I can do MORE research about echidnas!” ~Noam
Water Animal Discoveries:
“Have you ever seen a little blue penguin? Did you know that another name for the blue penguin is fairy penguin? Did you know they weigh about 3.3 pounds? And … did you know they live for about 6.5 years? Blue penguins are carnivores and they eat fish. Their natural predators are sharks and seals. I liked choosing it because it had dark blue feathers that were my favourite colour!” ~Lane
“Wow. That is so cool! The animal I was researching was the bottle nose dolphin. Usually when the bottle nose dolphins swim they swim with at least twelve other dolphins. This group is called a pod. Another fact is that the female is called a cow, the males are called bulls and the young dolphins are called calves. I wonder why the names are so different? Did you know that some dolphins go to murky shores and eat the fish that gets washed up? Weird, hey?!? All dolphins belong to delphindae. That is the scientific family for dolphins. The average length for an adult bottle nosed dolphin is nine feet. Also, bottle nose dolphins can weigh around 500 pounds! Hopefully you learned a lot about bottle nosed dolphins. I sure did!” ~Peng Peng
“WOW! REALLY! AMAZING! COOL! Ross sent us a surprise package with baby animals inside! Each of us were supposed to chose ONE baby animal! It was so hard to chose ONE baby animal because they were all so CUTE! I chose bottle nose dolphins. Here are some of my wonders and questions about bottle nose dolphins. Are bottle nose dolphins meat eaters or plant eaters? They are .. MEAT eaters! Why are they meat eaters? Bottle nose dolphins eat small fish such as squid, crabs, shrimp, and other smaller sea creatures. Do bottle nose dolphins have teeth? Yes. But they do NOT use their teeth to EAT! They use their teeth to help them CLICK, WHISTLE and SQUEEK! What is the scientific name? Tursious Truncatus! I bet YOU can’t say that! I have got lots more wonders and questions but I have to go. I’ll write again! See you later!” ~Claire
“Click. Click. Click. Did you know that the port jackson shark eats crabs, oysters, fish and sea snails? The port jackson shark’s scientific name is heterodontus portus jacksoni! Did you also know that the females can be 32 to 37 inches and males can be 75? They are bottom dwelling. When females lay 10 to 12 eggs, they usually are around 11 to 14 years old. Wow! That was a LOT of researching! Thank you for reading my research about the port jackson shark!” ~Cohen
“Hey, did you know that black swans are vegetarians?! They eat vegetables, and weeks, grass and other plants. I did not know that baby black swans were vegetarian! That is so cool! Black swans have black fur over their body. But, baby black swans have white fur. I think baby black swans are so cute!!! Black swans live in Australia. I wish I had a pet baby black swan. I would make a pool in my basement for him!” ~Hannah
“Did you ever wonder what green turtles eat? Well, I did and now I know what they eat! They eat sea grass. You’re probably wondering what a green turtle is! It’s not green. They are blue with a little bit of green. their eyes are huge and cute. I think they like to sleep on beaches but that picture I saw might be a turtle laying eggs. Did you know the green turtle is names by the greenish colour of their skin? I wonder if there green cuz they eat sea grass? I wonder how awesome some other baby Australian animals are!” ~Amy
“Shh, shh, the ocean water goes slowly on the Australian shore. Yesterday all the Battalion Bloggers research an animal from the Australian wild. I chose the gracefully swimming, beautiful gray Australian sea lions. You could see them from the east coast of Australia although some have been recorded as far north as the mid north coast of N. S. W. (New South Wales). They eat crabs, little penguins, salmon, sharks, squid, and whiting, (a type of fish). Sea lions have hair similar to a dog. The Australian sea lion is a large sea mammal growing two and a half metres in length and weighing up to 220 kg. The make is called a bull. He has powerful shoulders and a very thick neck. The baby is called a pup. It could be born from January until June. Did you know that the females are always littler than the male? They reach a length of 1.8 metres and weigh about 100 kg. I wonder how fast they could swim? Well, maybe I will need a little more research! I hope to get to go to Australia to see that animal!” ~Martin
We did Math, Social Studies, Science AND writing. We learned that HOW you search for information can turn up NOTHING or turn up TONS of valuable information. We discovered that it’s BETTER to put your research into your OWN words because THEN you UNDERSTAND it … but you are ALSO being respectful of someone ELSE’S ideas and not plagiarizing! We ALSO discovered you CAN’T trust everything you read on the internet! Who KNEW?!? It’s IMPORTANT to double and TRIPLE check your discoveries sometimes because not EVERYTHING you read on the internet is TRUE!
Ross … thank you SO much for being our AWESOME teacher in Australia … Mrs. Renton LOVES having you as her partner teacher TOO! You truly ARE a teacher that inspires learning!
A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
~Henry Brooks Adams