A Visit to Zoorasia to Learn about the Bali Mynah

The Grade 2s visited Zoorasia to learn about the Bali mynah bird as well as inquire into the habitats of certain endangered animals living in captivity there.

2C trip to Zoorasia

Ahead of our visit, we learned that Zoorasia has a breeding program for the Bali mynah bird, which is critically endangered. It is a wonderful example of how people are trying to help species survive. To prepare for our visit, we read about the Bali mynah, watched a video and wrote questions for our trip.


These are photos of Bali mynah birds living in captivity at Zoorasia.

Here are the thoughtful questions that the Grade 2s prepared ahead of our meeting with the zoologists.

I wonder what the zoo people teach the baby and adult mynahs.
Why don’t the people at the zoo teach the babies to survive?
I wonder why Bali mynahs don’t eat vegetables.
What kind of fruit do mynah birds eat?
What kind of insects do mynah birds eat?
How do they catch the bugs?
Where do they find the insects?
Which plant does the nectar come from?
What do mynah birds do everyday?
Why do mynah birds mimic?
Do they live with their families?
What do they use to make their nests?
Do Bali mynahs hibernate?
How do people catch the Bali mynahs?
Why don’t the mynah birds escape from the humans?
Wouldn’t the mynah birds escape from the humans if the mynah birds noticed the humans?
I wonder why people just want to ignore the law because birds are such an important living thing.
Why can’t people understand that lots of animals are endangered and you should conserve? For example, the Bali myna bird is almost extinct because people are capturing them.
How can the mynah bird sense the predators with their group (flock)?
Will mynah birds be extinct in the future?
How can you breed the Bali mynah and make 100,000,000 birds?
How many Bali mynah birds are there right now?
How can we bring the mynah bird to Bali again?
Why are there no Bali mynah books?
What is the difference between the female and male Mynah birds?
What is the Bali Mynah’s favourite food?
How do zookeepers make (breed) the Bali Mynah?
How many more Bali Mynahs are in the world now?
How long does it take for the Bali Mynah to lay eggs?
Can the Bali Mynah adapt to living in the snow?
Why do people want to have the Bali Mynah as pets?
How many Bali Mynah are in the zoo right now?
What do the Bali Mynah do during the day?
How do the zookeepers get the Bali Mynah into the zoo?
What do the zookeepers do to keep the Bali Mynah safe?

During the presentation, the children took notes about the answers to their questions. They have been learning to take notes, since Semester One. It is amazing what second graders can do!

While at the zoo, we observed two Bali mynah birds in captivity as well as several other endangered animals and completed a Draw, Name, Connect, Explain thinking routine for them. This helped us to gain a better understanding about what it is like for animals to live in captivity in contrast to their natural habitat.

How Wolves and Deer Change Rivers

The Grade 2s have been inquiring our new unit, “Human activities can challenge plant and animal survival.” The students were given this question to answer. Do you think wolves or deer can change the geography of the land? Explain why or why not. As expected one of the children asked, “What is geography?”

We looked at the question again for context clues and noticed the word land”. This helped a bit and the students made lots of suggestions. Slowly, building off each other’s ideas, we realized that geography had to do with natural things such as: trees, plants, rivers, seas, oceans, volcanoes, lakes, animals, mountains, rocks, beaches, etc.

Then the children wrote their responses to the questions and explained their reasoning. Afterwards, we watched a video called, How Wolves Change Rivers. We hope you watch, too. If you haven’t seen it yet, prepare to be amazed.

How Wolves Change Rivers Embed Code

As the video moves quite quickly and is loaded with valuable information, we watched the movie a couple times, while pausing to talk. The children offered examples of cause and effect from the video to explain how wolves and deer were able to change the geography of Yellowstone National Park.

We compared the banks of the river to the marble run to help us better understand.

We shared our ideas and thoughts about the video and built off each other’s understandings.

How Wolves Change Rivers

After talking about cause and effect and it’s relationship to the video, the children answered the same question again. This is a version of our “I Used to Think… Now, I Think…” routine.

Here are some of the examples of what the children said. These comments show a reasonable understanding, while others not shown, demonstrate a need for further investigation.

I used to think…
no, because deer and wolf don’t eat rock, rivers, sand and more…
Now, I think…
wolves and deer can change the geography of the land because deer eats all the plants so the river falls apart or down. Wolf kills the deer so deer doesn’t eat plants.

I used to think…
wolves and deer can change the geography of the land by making new habitats. They can do that by getting leaves and sticks and rocks and more.
Now, I think…
wolves and deer can change the geography of the land. For example, deer destroyed the grass and ate all the grass. For example, wolves changed the river by killing the deer so that they deers would stop eating all the grass that affects the river.

I used to think…
wolves and deer can change the nature because they might use all of the stuff in the ponds, snow and all different kinds of stuff.
Now, I think…
wolves and deer can change the geography of the land for example wolves can change rivers when wolves come rivers are sort of healthy. When deers come its sort of not healthy I think.

I used to think…
deer and wolves can change the geography of the land because the deer could die and decompose and fertilize the land.
Now, I think…
wolves and deer can change the geography of the land for example the wolves made the river meander less and the deer ate the vegetation and that meant the river meandered so the wolves killed dome deer and they stopped eating as much now so the river is not meandering.

Since many of the children had only a surface understanding of this complex idea, more hands-on learning was necessary.

To help deepen our understanding, we looked at the roots of plants in soil to get a better idea about how they hold the soil together and did a quick experiment. Be sure to ask the children about the roots in the basil plants and roots in the fish tank.


Later, we began making posters to show how Yellowstone National Park looked during the following time periods:

-Before 1925 (when there were wolves in the park)
-Between 1925 & 1995 (when the wolves were gone from the park)
-After 1995 (when the wolves were reintroduced to the park)

After creating the posters we will complete additional Cause and Effect Brainframes to show how our understanding has changed and developed.

Humans and Nature

In the photos below, you will see human-made things and nature. There are examples all around us. Think about what you see outside your window or on your way home from school.

How can humans affect nature?

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photo from Barcelona Zoo

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photo from India Tours and Travels

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photo from Wikipedia

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photo from the Telegraph

Grade 2 Student-Led Conferences!

For the past few weeks of school, the Grade 2s have been preparing for their Student-Led Conferences. As a class, the children brainstormed a variety of learning experiences that they wanted to share with their parents during their conference time. They came up with a big list of ideas for Unit of Inquiry, Mathematics, and Language and then narrowed it down.

Above is our new student, Karen, who is teaching her parents about estimating and measuring water using milliliters. She has only been here for two weeks!

Here are some of their ideas:

The children who attend Japanese class presented their Japanese book reviews or how they are building their directional language. In addition, all the children chose one of their single subjects learning experiences to present. Students in Grade 2 chose one of the following activities: Art Sculpting with Clay, the Drama Hot Seat Interview, the Physical Education Activity Log, and Playing the Xylophone for Music.



All the learning experiences were activities that the children had done in class. The children spent a lot of time preparing for their conference and organizing their materials for the big day. During the conferences the children taught their parents what they learned and let the parents have a go. They explained their current understandings, answered questions and led them through the conference, even completing a reflection and Seesaw post for their Learning Journals.  They spoke in English as well as their mother tongue to explain to the best of their ability. The children did a wonderful job leading their parents through their conference with confidence and independence.




El Día de los Muertos

Last Friday, Lupita, Rene’s mom, visited our class to teach us about El Día de los Muertos. Rene helped to teach us too! Both Rene and his mom painted their faces for the occasion.


We learned that in Mexico families celebrate El Día de los Muertos by making an alter to remember family members, who have died. On the alter you put their favorite food, drink or toy as well as candles and flowers.

After we listened to the presentation, Lupita taught us how to make our very own papel picado, which are colorful streamers used as decorations. She had a pattern all ready for us. Cutting the outside was the easiest part. The inside squares, circles and other shapes were a bit harder because we had to fold the shape in half and then cut. They looked so beautiful when we finished.


After all our cutting, we shared a special bread that was a little bit sweet. We dipped it in hot cocoa before eating it. This special bread is made only for El Día de los Muertos, but Lupita brought us some early, so we could learn about their culture.