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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Earth House field trip to explore aquatic animals of Bay of Bengal

Learning about aquatic animal life of our own region comes into areas of learning i.e Science, animal habitat, and Bangladesh studies. On 12 March, Saturday 2016, 'Earth House Alternative School' planned a field trip to discover 'Bay of Bengal Aquatic animals'. This workshop was organized at 'Bays Galleria' at Red Shift Book Lounge, Radius Centre, Gulshan.

This event was organized to discover Bangladesh's ocean giants: Dolphins, whales, sharks, rays and marine turtles. The hour-long program was tailored towards children.

The event was open to all but most of the participants were foreigners.

Main workshop leader was Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur (Environmental Educator and Director Education and Livelihoods of the Wildlife Conservation Society Bangladesh) with her team members Farhana Akthar and Abdullah Al Masud. There were some English and Bangla books for sale about aquatic animals.

Cetaceans include all whales, dolphins and porpoise. They are marine mammals. Dolphins, whales and porpoises are among the largest and most intelligent animals living on our planet. They live in oceans all over the world. Some dolphins like the shushuk in Bangladesh live in large rivers. Some dolphins like the shushunk in Bangladesh occur only in large rivers. Bangladesh supports an extraordinary variety of cetaceans in a small area of mangrove forest, coastal and submarine canyon waters.

Why are some cetaceans threatened with extinction? 

Cetaceans face many threats from humans. Thousands of cetaceans die each year when they become entangled and drown in fishing nets. The widespread use of mosquito nets for catching shrimp fry has depleted populations of fish prey. Pollution from pesticides and industrial waste make cetaceans sick and reduce their resistance to disease. River dolphins are particularly endangered because people are draining the rivers where they live and dams have isolated groups from coming together to reproduce.
Scientists recognize Bangladesh as a global 'hotspot' for cetacean diversity and abundance. This means that the rivers and coastal waters of the country support numerous species and that their populations are generally more healthy compared to neighboring countries in Asia.

Why should we save cetaceans from extinction?
Our challenge is to protect these amazing animals from extinction.
Dolphins, whales and porpoises are fundamental to life in rivers and the sea. They are symbols of the need to take good care of aquatic resources that are essential for the survival of human communities. Humans have long been fascinated by cetaceans.

Our KS2 students

Few words about Bay of Bengal:

The Bay of Bengal, the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. Roughly triangular, it is bordered mostly by India and Sri Lanka to the west, Bangladesh to the north, and Myanmar (Burma) and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the east.

The Bay of Bengal is one of the World's 64 largest marine ecosystems.

What can we do to help dolphins, whales and porpoises?

  • Being well informed is the first step. 
  • By visiting their website and reading about dolphins, whales and porpoises you are already helping to save cetaceans. 
  • When decisions are made by your family and friends to take actions that might endanger cetaceans you have a responsibility to speak out for these animals. 
  • Tell others about what you know and ask them to join you in protecting cetaceans. These animals are part of the rich wildlife heritage of Bangladesh. Many dolphins die from entanglement in fishing nets and lines. 
  • Encourage fishermen not set 'current jahls' in areas where they see dolphins and to stay with their nets. If a dolphin gets caught its life can be saved by quickly pulling the animal to the surface and setting it free. The net may have to be cut. It can be repaired but a dead shushuk is gone forever.
  • If you find a live cetacean stranded on the beach get it back into the water as fast as possible. 
  • Make sure to keep the cetacean cool and wet. Do not touch, cover or splash water on its blowhole. 
  • A simple carrier can be made from a lunghi for transporting a dolphin or porpoise back to the water. 
  • Never attempt to catch a shushuk or keep it in a pond. It will not survive. Information from dead cetaceans is valuable to help others survive. 
  • If you find a dead cetacean make sure it does not wash away or get eaten by scavengers. 

Cetaceans are protected by law. It is illegal to catch these animals or to sell or buy the whole animal or any parts of it.
Reference: 'Share our smiles- Whales and dolphins of Bangladesh' by Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur
You may get all information at following link:

*'Wildlife Conservation Society' saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education. WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Spring vegetable show and mini master chef competition

Cooking is a development and learning tool adopted by many schools in the world. The best way of learning is by touching, tasting, feeling, smelling, and listening and cooking offers use of all these senses. Children love activities relating to cooking because they can use all their senses.

Our 'Spring vegetable show and mini master chef Plan' was made few days ago, and we decided to add more activities for this evnet. Cooking and baking is part of our curriculum at our school so learning objectives were to teach kids about local and seasonal vegetables, few spices, variety of eggs and then making omelet with these ingredients.

March 3rd, Thursday was not a very bot day but as we arranged all the activities at outdoor, sunlight became uncomfortable after 10 am. Still all kids, few parents and teachers were excited to participate in activities.
In the ground we set up the tables with vegetables, few fruits, different kind of eggs, spices for omelet making, coriander leaves, mint leaves, soy sauce, tomato sauce.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Yearly sports day celebration at Earth House

Sports day of 'Earth House Alternative School' was being waited for many weeks. There was no doubt that it may be an event full of fun, exciting, challenging and rewarding. 'Earth House' at Kashimpur was the perfect place for celebrating these kind of events.

Why sports or games day?

'Earth House' school strongly believes that sports/games should be included in school curriculum and students should be provided enough time for play/outdoor activities.
Sports and games are the ways of enhancing the children’s mental and physical growth. Sports help them in character building and provides them energy and strength. Sports also eliminate mental exhaustion of the children.

Exercise is also known to relieve stress. Some children experience as much stress, depression, and anxiety as adults do.  Even moderate physical activity has been shown to improve a child’s skill at arithmetic, reading, and memorization.

Sports Day at Earth House, Kashimpur:
so finally the day came when we all students, teachers and few guardians went there for this yearly event.

Day before, weather became windy, and showers started pouring for some time. Fortunately, on 25th February, weather was dry from the morning, not so hot or cool. We left school a bit late, but could reach the destination safely.

Exited faces of students at bus
Early years and KS1 kids ready to leave for 'Earth House Kashimpur'


Theater place at 'Earth House'
Prize distribution ceremony and excitement of getting rewards, medals etc
 All students were wearing same sports dress and even early years and KS1 students wore a sleeveless t-shirt. Events started with games such as race, sack race, chocolate race, egg and spoon race for younger kids and same games were repeated with elder kids as well. Vast ground was distributed into various parts, so that kids could play games in rotations.

KS2 and KS3 students played more games till Zuhr salah. Lunch was provided after salah break. After lunch and and a rest of few minutes, sports events started with hula hoop race, badminton and football matches. After these games we proceed towards our small 'theater place' where early years and ks1 students performed a role play based on the story 'Three Billy goats' and recited the rhymes.

Importance of physical activities, sports or games is obvious, but unfortunately many schools are focused to engage students in educational and text based activities.

Promoting physical activity should start from the nursery room, according to Jean Zimmerman and Gil Reavill, authors of "Raising Our Athletic Daughters."

According to Theodore Hesburgh, author of "The Importance of School Sports and Education," it is imperative for school age children to have access to sports and games. Not only does it empower youth and promote higher self-esteem, it also motivates students, enables them to earn better grades, especially in schools where obtaining certain grades is a pre-requisite to staying on the team.

Numerous physical benefits include maintaining a healthy weight, preventing chronic diseases and learning the skills necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle after graduating. Medical researchers have observed that highly active children are less likely to suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer of the colon, obesity, and coronary heart disease later in life.

  •  Education is incomplete without sports.
  • Sport develops a sense of friendliness among the children and develop their team spirit. 
  • It helps children to develop mental and physical toughness.

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