Together at home #06

Let’s learn about birds that fly underwater…

BELOW ARE SOME talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story.


Discuss the ideas presented in the penguin story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.

  • The writer watches a penguin egg hatch. Are you surprised by how excited the parents are by their chick’s arrival? What do you know about how penguin parents help each other to be parents?
  • What do you notice about the difference between the chick’s feathers and the adult’s feathers? What might this be?
  • What else do you see in the photos and the videos that shows the ways penguin’s bodies help them on land and sea?
  • The article describes tourists sitting and staring at penguins when they come ashore, not realising that they want to cross the beach to their nests. How do you think we could teach people to leave penguins alone? What else could we teach people about penguins?
  • The map shows how much swimming penguins do between New Zealand and Antarctica. What does this show about the life of penguins? How might marine reserves in Antarctic waters affect penguins?


TASK 1: Use the photo of penguins swimming as inspiration for your own penguin picture! Send your art work to your teacher.

TASK 2: Try this fun lockdown version of ten pin bowling using some old bottles and any paint that you have lying around home.

  • First, paint your bottles. Paint the tops separately so they don’t get stuck on. Use any colour you have—these penguins don’t have to be black and white. House paint will give adhere well to plastic—we used interior house paint from an old test pot.
  • Cut flippers out of paper. We used an outdated New Zealand atlas—you could use any paper. Glue these paper flippers on and if possible, varnish over them with a clear glue or varnish. We used mod podge.
  • Paint a face and feet onto your penguins.
  • Fill each bottle with a small amount of water (about 200ml works) and line them up in the hallway.
  • Find a ball or hacky sack and take turns to try to knock the penguins over. Knocking a penguin over flat earns you 10 points—with five throws allocated to each player, how many points can you get?  Adapt the rules as you want to. Adding more water makes it harder to knock them over; less water makes it easier.


Love writing? Imagine that you’re a penguin entering the water for the first time and use this sentence starter to tell a story about your mind-blowing experience of the ocean: 

I pushed down my fears for the last time and set my beak determinedly towards the water. I launched forward and closed my eyes. No going back now. Cold exploded around my body and brain but when I opened my eyes, I forgot it all.  Around me was…

If you come up with an amazing story, send it to your teacher AND why not to and they will publish it online… your first NZGeo tear-sheet! (That’s fancy publishing talk for your name on published work—some people say it’s a big deal.)


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