Finding Facts and Facing Fears!

February 21, 2019 at 12:19 PM

Did you know that skinks can blink and geckos can’t?
Did you know that a skink can drop off its tail if it’s scared?

Yesterday, a visit from ‘Hands on Creatures’ during science, gave our girls in Years 4-6 a fantastic opportunity to witness some of Australasia’sreptiles and their predators at close quarters – even handling some!

As part of their Term 1 study on reptiles, the girls have been discovering the differences between species, and learning about the reptiles’ behaviours and features - the visit helped extend their knowledge. It also created a valuable opportunity for some to overcome the fear of handling unfamiliar creatures; building both confidence and a sense of achievement when others acknowledged their accomplishment.

This was an exciting experience for the girls as these curious animals are rare and unique, and for most, this was their first time seeing and touching a reptile. Amongst the weird, creepy and crawly spiders, cockroaches, rats and hedgehogs, the students faced their fears and reached out to hold or stroke a range of frogs, skinks, geckos and Australian bearded dragons. 

During the session, the girls were challenged with questions about the animals, and how they function and survive in their habitat - many hands were raised to ask questions as the animals went around the room. The students learnt that skinks and geckos are the only two native families of lizards in New Zealand, and that skinks can blink and geckos can’t; instead, they lick their eyes to clean them. They also learnt that lizards are cold blooded, that they lay eggs, and scream and bite to defend themselves.

Claudia Stewart (Year 6) said she was surprised to learn that there are two types of water snakes that can be found on New Zealand’s coastlines and that the blue tongue lizard feels like a snake with its muscular and smooth body. Phoebe Hirst (Year 6) said she was surprised that skinks can drop off their tail and grow a new one if they are scared or being attacked.

All the students, including the teachers, walked away having learnt something from this valuable lesson and the girls in Years 5-6 are now more than eager to find some of New Zealand’s lizards on their camp in Shakespeare Regional Park next week.

At Saint Kentigern, our students are fortunate to be offered many opportunities to extend their studies beyond the classroom. Spending time with experts, such as yesterday’s visitors, who have specialist knowledge to share, helps bring their learning into context, adding another layer to their learning.

We thank Brian and Tikvah from Hands on Creatures for sharing their animals and knowledge with us!


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