The whitebait season is with us once again.
I wonder how many children in your class have tasted whitebait fritters or better still been out catching them? Do they know anybody that catches whitebait?
What do your children know about whitebait?
Whitebait made front page news in our local paper last week! The article stated that 'they are a small fish in trouble. But that is nothing new.Their gradual demise has been well documented since 1840 when shoals were as long as a rugby field were a common site. Back then whitebait were weighed in tons; the next century it could be measured in kerosene tins, then pounds and now, more than ever, in cups.'
It would be great if you could acquire a few whitebait to keep in the class aquarium to study.If not access pictures of whitebait from the Internet of from reference books and make use of for research.
Whitebait make an interesting 'mini study'. Such a study could be part of the literacy programme and an opportunity to introduce research reading and writing to the class. A small research booklet could result and include observational drawing and diagrams.
Some questions might be:
Why do they have seasons ( introducing the idea of sustainability)? The season , in most of New Zealand, runs from August 15th to November 30th.
What are whitebait? Children will discover there are several native species that collectively are called whitebait. There are five main species of whitebait. They are called kokopu or inanga. The scientific name for the species is Galaxidae named after the Milky Way because they are caught their eyes, with their translucent bodies, look like dazzling stars
How do you catch them?
How do you cook them?
Some interesting maths could be developed around the cost of whitebait? How much do they cost each. Maybe the teacher could buy 200 grams so as to estimate how many in a kilogram!
|Art work @ 11c a whitebait!|
In earlier days teachers would have called this a single animal study.There are possibly articles in school journals for students to refer to? Schools could contact the Conservation Department for information.
For information about inquiry learning
State of science teaching in New Zealand