Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Tocal Field Days

Last Friday we went to the Tocal Field Days - it's a big weekend Agricultural Exhibition and the Friday is the day for schools to go. One of the homeschool mums in our area organised for us to go as a school group, so off we went for a fun day.

We were split into two groups, and booked into two educational sessions for the day, the rest of the time was free to wander.

Our first talk was called Web2Spider - it was all about classifying the types of spider webs you see around the place, and identifying what type of spider built it. Sue from the Australian Museum had some cool spider exhibits set up for everyone to look at first of all, and then she gave us a brief talk on how to classify the webs. We were only looking at orb webs in the brief time we had.

Then for the real fun! The kids split into small groups, and armed with spray bottles of water & a classifying chart, off they went to find spider webs. The spray was to be able to see them more clearly - as you can see we found some great ones!! I think there was more finding & spraying than classifying going on, as most of the kids were young, but hey, they had fun, and I'm sure they all learnt something. I know I did!

Our 2nd talk after lunch was Amy from the Newcastle Markets. Annoyingly called 'Apples ain't apples', she spoke about the differences between fruits & vegetables, identified the different parts on a flower (eg flower, stem, root, leaf) and how you can classify vegetables by that method. It was another good talk - I know Billy learnt heaps from that one as he has been lecturing me on it all week! We were with a school class for that one, and gee there were a couple of kids that needed a good .. um .. talking to?!

The fun bit of that talk was the kids then got to taste 3 different types of apples and were asked which ones were sweeter, crunchier etc.

The rest of the time we wandered around, sometimes by ourselves, sometimes with others from the home school group. Billy went on the jumping castle, we looked at and patted various farm animals, ate lunch and looked at loads of displays.

We also sat and watched a show put on by local performers "Ship of Fools" - I've seen them before in various disguises! - it was all about saving water.

This was demonstrating how the water cycle works - Supa Squirt, the man on the unicycle, was holding a cloud to catch the water droplets that Bubbles was juggling!

All in all a good day, but very exhausting!


Lightening said...

You guys sure seem to do some cool stuff!!!! Wish we had access to a few more of those kinds of things around here.

Kym said...

That looks like a great day out.

Alita said...

Looks like lots of fun! Might think about going along next year.

Kris said...

Kez,I just loved this post. It is really inspiring to see what can be done with educating kids in new and much more engaging ways. When I went to school it was quiet in the classroom and not much else - this is a much more vibrant way to do things. I would love to do the spiderweb classification thing myself.

Also, I think the apples session should have been called "How do you like them apples?"

By the by (and showing the failings of my own education)what is the difference between a veggie and a fruit?

Kez said...

Thanks guys - it was really fun (Alita, you should definitely go next year!). It's great to find fun, non-traditional, hands-on ways of learning. I know I personally learn so much more that way.

Kris, according to the lady from the fruit shop - botanically the difference between fruit & veges are that fruit have seeds and vegetables don't. Which means that tomatoes & capsicums are both fruit.. I'll stick with what I know them as though lol.