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New Zealand’s only colony of Sub-Antarctic penguins has welcomed two new arrivals! The Gentoo penguin chicks hatched at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium last month and can be spotted nestling under their parents in their icy domain.

The babies hatched on 4 November and are under the watchful eye of their protective parents. Despite being the exact same age, one chick weighs 2500 grams and the other weighs 1600 grams. In the team’s experience, this is likely to indicate that the larger chick could be male and the smaller one female.

“We’ve had two wee Gentoo chicks hatch and are totally enamoured with our latest arrivals. We haven’t decided on names yet as we are waiting for their little personalities to start shining through,” said Laura Seaman, Penguin Team Leader at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s. 

“The larger chick is being raised by first time parents Humphrey and Myrtle, who have been doing an excellent job, which is lovely to see. The smaller chick is being raised by seasoned parents Tua and Al, who have parenting down pat.”

Gentoo penguins are the third largest penguin species, known for their charisma and swimming abilities. It won’t be long before the new chicks have fledged and can begin learning how to swim! 

In additional to the popular Sub-Antarctic penguin colony, SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s is also home to sand tiger sharks, tuatara, rescued sea turtles and more! For opening hours, tickets and further information, visit: visitsealife.com/auckland

This week marks the beginning of December and the beginning of the holiday season. It probably means that Christmas music will be ringing through the supermarket, the radio channels and may be added to your personal playlist.

The 1st of December, for some of you, might mean mark the first day of your advent calendars. The origins of advent calendars can be traced back to the 18th or 19th century in Germany. They were used to illustrate to children how many days were left until Christmas to help build up their anticipation.

Traditionally, advent calendars were used by religious families who made chalk lines on the walls or lit candles as a countdown for every day in December up until Christmas Eve. It evolved into the practice of hanging a devotional image along with the calender/ chalk and this is what led to the first wooden advent calendar in 1851.

Such calendars are far from the chocolate filled ones we know today- they certainly didn’t contain any treats. Traditional German calandars
The first printed calendar appeared in the early 1900s and eventually, small doors were added in the 1920s by a man named Gerhard Lang. However, they nearly became extinct so to speak.

In the 1930s cardboard was rationed and there was a Nazi ban on printing calendars with images. Luckily (especially for those us who have a sweet tooth), after the Second World War, the production of German advent calendars began again. At this time, the idea of adding chocolate became popular and advent calendars spread around the world.

Current day advent calendars
Advent calendars today don’t have the same religious ties that they used to but they still are great for building the Christmas excitement and anticipation.
Will you be opening your first door on your advent calendar tomorrow?

What else are you looking forward to in the lead up to Christmas?
Let me know below!

Singapore has become the first country in the world to allow the the sale of lab grown chricken meat.

The meat will first be sold as chicken nuggets. 

The chicken will be priced at premium chicken prices due to the cost of production.

This type of food is known as clean or cultured meat. It is grown from animal muscle cells in a lab

The product will be manufactured in Singapore.

The bones of a 37-million-year-old Sabre-tooth tiger are going up for auction.

Saber-tooth tigers, or the Smilodons, are small mammals known for their pair of long, razor-sharp teeth.

It’s one of the most iconic prehistoric animals and existed during the last ice age – 12,000 years ago.

The remains of this tiger was found in South Dakota, in America, last year.

While the skeleton is complete, it doesn’t include ALL of the bones. The “missing bones were remade with a 3D printer.

Now they’re going up for auction. Due to how rare the skeleton is, many experts believe it will be sold for around $150,000NZD.

Sabre-tooth Tigers

They lived in North America, Europe, and Asia 42-20 million years ago.

They lasted for about 22 million years.

The Black Caps have won their T20 series against the West Indies.

New Zealand won the first two games, while the third game was washed out due to rain.

In the final game, where just 2.2 overs were possible, the West Indies reached 25-1 after losing the toss and being asked to bat first on Monday. However, that was all the cricket that was played due to steady rain.

New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson, who took the only wicket to fall in match three to take his series tally to seven, was named player of the series.

The Black Caps next T20 matches came with a three-game series against Pakistan in mid-December.

New Zealand and the West Indies now move into a test series with the first game in Hamilton on Thursday.

China says it has successfully landed a spacecraft on the Moon’s surface.

The purpose of the mission is to gather rock samples and bring them back to Earth for research.

The spacecraft is expected to spend two or three days collecting about 2kg of rocks.

It will be the first time in 44 years that samples have been brought back from the Moon.

The last mission to collect Moon samples was the Soviet Luna mission in 1976.

The materials being brought back are thought to be 1.2 or 1.3 billion years old and should provide insights on the geological history of the Moon.

India is the seventh largest country in the world, slightly bigger than one third of the USA. The country is located on the Asian continent. The Himalayan mountains are located in the North of the country while the country on the peninsula is surrounded by the Indian Ocean. India has some the world’s highest mountains and is home to many large mammals such as the snow leopard, the Indian rhinoceros, the Bengal tiger or the Asian elephant.

As India is the second most populated country in the world it has many big cities. However, about two thirds of the population still live-in rural areas. This can pose many challenges for the kids in India when it comes to their education and there is often little the Government do to solve this issue. In fact, there is an argument to be made that Indian schools are failing their students.

India’s education policy has gone dangerously off track since the implementation of the 2009 Right to Education Act. The law, which was designed to guarantee a good education to all Indian children between the ages of 6 and 14, was hailed as a landmark reform. But six years on, school enrolment has hardly improved, and actual learning has sharply deteriorated.

With 41 percent of its population under the age of 19, according to the 2011 census, India is relying on the young to secure their nation a successful future. But its public schools — where 70 percent of all children study — are not up to scratch. In the 2009 PISA survey of the reading, math and science abilities of children in 74 countries, India ranked second-to-last, beating only Kyrgyzstan. Since then, it has refused to participate in the survey.

Since the implementation of the RTE Act, total enrolment in public schools has fallen by 11.6 million students. By the beginning of the 2014-15 academic year, nearly 97,000 public schools in India had 20 or fewer students. Raising the quality of government schools can have massive positive effects on learning outcomes for students, and therefore needs to happen quickly.

To me, it seems that India must reorient its education policy to focus on improving students’ learning levels. Otherwise, it risks squandering the life chances of millions of children, as well as the entire country’s prospects at further economic progress.

With 472 million children, India has the largest child population in the world, and recent research shows they around 40 million children from poor families have been impacted. Covid-19 has made everyone’s lives harder, maybe it’s time for the Government in India to make access to a quality education easer for its school students.

Critical Thinking Questions:

  1. What are some everyday challenges faced by school kids in India?
  2. How does the history of India affect the kids at school today?
  3. How do you think Covid-19 has affected life for children in India?

Practical Thinking Questions:

  1. What changes do you think should be made to the education system in India?
  2. What challenges children in India face when it comes to accessing education?
  3. Research some positive cultural traditions children in India participate in?

One of New Zealand’s most famous walks, the Milford Track, has opened for the first time since February.

Devastating floods hit Fiordland in February damaging some of the Milford walking tracks.

Repairs included a new bridge to replace the one that was wiped out by flooding.

Bookings for summer opened a few months ago, and were sold out within a few hours.