Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Counting sheep a new challenge for science students

Friday 21st September 2018

Counting sheep a new challenge for Northland science students

Counting sheep is often touted as a remedy to help troubled sleepers nod off.

But for Whangarei Boys’ High School students, counting sheep has become part of the curriculum.

Two classes of Year 11 science students are studying a learning module called ‘Keep calm and count sheep’.

The resource examines the nutritional requirements of ewes and the factors that influence sheep growth rates.

“This module is a great way of injecting real-world farming and food production into the science lab,” said Pip Beauchamp from NZ Young Farmers.

As part of the course, almost 40 students visited Greg Lovell’s farm, northwest of Whangarei last week.

The Lovell’s run 4,500 romney ewes, 300 angus breeding cows and 600 dairy cows on a 1,800 hectare farm.

“We got to help weigh and draft a mob of ewes and lambs in the yards,” said 15-year-old Taine Beardsell.

“It was quite cool to see how technology is used to record and monitor growth rates.”

Students took part in a farm walk where they examined different pasture species.

“The boys had been learning about different types of pasture in class, so they were able test their knowledge in the paddock,” said Pip.

“They got to compare the nutritional value of Italian ryegrass, established ryegrass, clover and kikuyu.”

The Red Meat Profit Partnership-funded resources have been a hit with students.

“It was great to get out of the science lab and go on a field trip,” said 15-year-old Jack Bowering.

“Visiting the farm really enabled us to get a much more detailed understanding of digestion and nutrition in ruminant animals.”

“A highlight was examining the organs of a dead sheep. It was interesting to see the vital role they play in weight gain and reproduction,” he said.

It was Taine Beardsell’s first time on a sheep farm.

“It was pretty amazing. I didn’t realise how many factors contribute to ensuring a lamb reaches its target weight by a certain date,” he said.

Teacher Henry Dunckley downloaded the free learning module from the Agrication website and wrote an assessment for students to complete.

The website contains four cross-curricular junior school resources and three internal achievement standards in maths,englishand science for Year 11-12 students.

They’re designed to help teachers inject “real-world examples” into their classes.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Charlotte Yates' Mansfield Project

Katherine Mansfield's vapid verses are of even less interest than her over-rated short stories, but Yates has risen to the challenge of producing a fascinating compilation album by a variety of musicians to accompany her poetry. More>>

Howard Davis: Dazed & Confused by Beats

Beats is both a coming-of-age tale and a romantic movie about endings, set to a nostalgic backdrop of the disappearing tail of the UK's illegal rave scene. More>>

Howard Davis: And The Oscar Goes To … Parasite

For its deliciously dark wit and genre-bending ingenuity, Bong Joon-ho's latest movie has just won four out of a potential six Academy Awards, including Best Screenplay and Director. Only ten foreign-language films have previously been nominated for Best Picture and none have won before. More>>

Howard Davis: 1917's 1,000 Yard Stare

Sam Mendes has created a terrible and barbarous trek, one that we appreciate all the more for being catapulted right into the midst of this ear-splitting melee from the film's opening sequence. More>>




  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland