Here are some words about our current Mantle of the Expert work, which is with a class of year 4 students.

In this Mantle of the Expert unit the children are in role as a team of earth scientists who work in a fictional company called 'Geo Ready' (modelled on New Zealand’s real crown institute ‘GeoNet’).

Working in this role children will have jobs and tasks to complete that will lead to learning about:

a. New Zealand’s geological hazards: volcanos, earthquakes, and tsunami

b. Scientific equipment used to measure land movement/activity

c. How earth scientists at 'GeoNet' decide where to place their different monitoring systems. In making these decisions children will have to consider things such as types of land forms and rocks in an area, environmental factors such as weather, read maps, investigate history of land, look at old land records, and investigate land ownership and explore ways to seek permissions from land owners.

The work will involve inquiry research, writing in a range of genres including letter writing and report writing, reading a range of materials including lots of map-work covering a variety of keys and scales, and mathematical skills including measuring, and diagram/graph work.

We hope you enjoy sharing our learning journey and the discoveries we make! You can also read past learning journeys by selecting from 'Previous Mantle of the Expert Work at Muritai School', which is a tab on the right hand side of this blog page.

Detail from a map of Wellington geology

Sorting rocks

10 September 2012



As archaeologists in this Mantle of the Expert unit we have studied many artefacts that were sculpted in stone and pottery in the Golden Age of Ancient Greece.  We have seen a lot of relief sculpture where the pictures are carved in to stone so that they stand out.  We have seen this style of sculpture on Ancient Greek buildings including The Parthenon and The Erecthion, often in the form of friezes that go around the building.  The goddess Athena, goddess of Athens and Odysseus’s saviour, is also the goddess of crafts including pottery and sculpting.  So…

today we had a go at being sculptors.  We worked with clay to make a series of tiles to illustrate the story of the Odyssey, which we are now all experts on!  We learnt a lot about how to work with clay using different tools, with lots of problem solving and creativity along the way.


First we had to roll out clay and cut our tile shapes.  We used long straight pieces of wood to make straight sides and a ruler and knife to cut out our square.  We then used a special potters tool to make grooves in the back of our tile so it would not curl when it dried.  We also made two holes in the top so it would be able to be hung on a wall.


Next we worked with small bits of clay to sculpt our pictures.  We used our plans from last week as a guide but had to do lots of experimenting to see how best to make our pictures work.  We used toothpicks and other clay tools.  We also made slip (a mixture of clay and water) to attach pieces on to our tile.  We learnt how potters attach handles to cups by scratching grip marks onto the handle pieces and the cup before using slip like glue to attach it.  We experimented with this method until we got our relief work looking how we wanted it to.


Six Headed Scylla
Odysseus's Boat
Goddess Athena puts a stop to any more fighting.
Odysseus with his great bow ready to shoot through the holes of 12 axe heads.
Hermes the messenger god - with wings on his feet.

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