Yesterday we hosted the third instalment of Farmschool - 'Air'. Mother Nature hosted us with another glorious day, perfect in which to examine this ethereal element that surrounds and survives us at all times, filling our lungs with life and our days with fun...such as flying kites! After a brief bit if science (what is air made of? 21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen and 1% other rare earth gases), we played with the idea of how we can 'see' air...in popped popcorn, in a balloon, moving a fluttering streamer and when the trees move in the breeze. Breeze! Quick - carpe diem kids!!! And so the kites flew in a colourful cacophony of running legs and twisted strings, laughing adults and serious children. As the gusts came and went we played with creating flight.
Then it was time to think about those creatures that fly every day as part of their lives....the birds. We began by telling the kids the story of the gorgeous little golden whistler who had 'given its body to science' by flying head first into a window. The kids got to hold and examine this beautiful creature (if they wanted to - some were understandably squirmy) and feel how incredibly light it was. Tiny thin leg bones, hollow structural bones and even air pockets in its skull make the flying birds able to maintain flight.
Armed with our new bird knowledge we set off for a 'twitch' (bird watch) around the property. We saw magpie, a hawk, a noisy friar bird, swallows, willy wagtails and wild black ducks. We also chatted about airborne pollen and how some seeds can 'fly'. We spotted a large raptor nest and tried out some bird calls. Such vibrant and curious learning! The kids are starting to feel really comfortable at the farm now and explore with open minds, developing their love and respect for the world around us.
Then it was time to make our own flyers...and the great paper plane challenge was underway! At one stage I think there were 15 kids on one trampoline all sharing their paper plane making know how and together designing the ultimate creation!!! We marked out measurement lines with spray paint and tallied up the results of how far the planes flew. Paper clips were then attached to the noses of the planes and the experiment repeated - with clear results that an increase in nose weight increased the distance the planes would fly. Aerodynamics people!!!
And now another day awaits...what will it hold?