Conversation Starters with Your Child

After arriving home from the Island Natural Science School, your child should have many different exciting experiences that they can share with you.  Our conversation starters are designed to allow you to start conversations about these experiences.  The questions start with cursory-based review questions and move to higher level ones designed to have students reflect upon what they learned and then make informed decisions or opinions about the lesson.  
We would love to hear if these questions were useful in learning more about your child’s experiences while visiting the Island Natural Science School.

First, ask your child in which lessons she/he participated.

Our Day Program lessons include:  Predator and Prey, Community Studies-Photo Orienteering, Conserving in the Community, Farm-Biodiversity, Lighthouse, Andy Goldsworthy, Watercolours, Survival: Upper Canada, Where Does Our Food Come From?, Garden-Biodiversity, Flight, Biodiversity Hike, Hike/Bike and Sketch, and Hike/Bike and Games.  Our evening programs include Night Hike, Co-op Games, Mini-Olympics, Na Fish Na Fish, and Drama Energizers.

Day Lessons:

Predator and Prey:

1.  What role did you play in Predator and Prey?  What did you eat?  What did you do in order to survive?
2.  What was  the hardest part of surviving?
3.  What did you learn about the lives of animals living in the wild?
4.  Will you change your behaviour/attitiude towards wildlife?  How?  Why?

Community Studies/Photo Orienteering:

1.  In which community on the island did you do the photo-orienteering excercise (Ward’s or Algonquin Island)?  
2.  How is this community similar to ours?  How is it different?
3.  Would you like to live on the Island?  Why or why not?
4.  If you were a tour guide on the Island, what would you show tourists?  Why?

Conserving in the Community:

1.  What evidence did you find of people conserving energy on the island?  How did they conserve energy?
2.  Is conserving energy important?  Why or why not?
3.  Which methods do we use at home to conserve energy?
4.  Which other methods would you like to start using at home to conserve energy?  Who would this work and/or look like in your family? 


1.  Tell me about J.P. Radenmueller?  Who was he?  What was his job?
2.  What do you think happened to J.P.?  Why?  What evidence from the story do you have to support your thinking?


 1.  Who is Andy Goldsworthy?  What kind of artwork did he do?  Visit the link to see some of his work:
2.  Describe the artwork you created in the style of Andy Goldsworthy.


 1.  Have the child/children show you their artwork.
2.  Ask:  What are some of the elements of art that you experimented with in your piece?
3.  What does your artwork represent for you?  What emotion(s) does it bring out in you?
4.  What do you hope people will feel when they look at your artwork?
5.  Give your piece a title.  Why did you choose this particular title?

Survival STEM

1.  Describe to me the shelter you built and what steps you took to build it?
2.  What is bannock?  How did you make it?  What do you think is important to know about making and cooking bannock?

Conservation of Energy Game:  Where does your food come from? 

1.  Describe how you played "Where does your food come from?"
2.  Choose one snack you worked on during the activity.  How far did this food have to travel?  How did this snack compare with the other ones?
3.  What did you learn about the distances food travels and the energy it takes to get food to our tables?  Why is this importnat to know?  How will this impact your descisions on which foods to buy next time you are at the grocery store?

Garden - Biodiversity

1.  What activity/activities did you do in the garden?  Describe the sounds and sites you experienced in the garden.
2.  What was your favourite activity?   Why did you enjoy this?
3.  Was there anything that you did not enjoy in the garden?  What was this and why did you not enjoy it?


1.  What are the 4 forces of flight?
2.  What kinds of factors affect flight?  What experiments did you do to find this out?
3.  What was the best part of the flight lesson?  Why?

 Biodiversity Hike

1.  What is biodiversity?  Tell me about an example of biodiversity?
2.  Why is biodiversity important?
3.  What happens to biodiversity when a plant/bird/mammal/insect/reptile becomes extinct?  How does this change in biodiversity impact us and other living things?

Hike and Sketch

1.  Look at your sketch book.  Which sketch was the hardest?  Easiest?  Why?
2.  Re-read your group’s poem.  If you could add or subtract any words, what would they be?  How does this improve/change your poem?

Bike and Games

1.  Explain the rules of one of the games you played?
2.  Which game did you like the best?  The least?  Why?
3.  Do you think this activity was healthy?  Why? 

Evening Programs:  NIght Hike, Mini-Olympics, Na-Fish Na-Fish, Drama Energizers and Co-op Games

Night Hike

1.  What places did you visit on the NIght Hike?
2.  What did you find most exciting on the Night Hike?  What was the scariest part?
3.  Tell me about the maze and its importance in Canadian History.


1.  What are the colours of the rings in the Olympic flag?  What do these rings represent?
2.  Of the games played, which one would you want in the real Olympic Games and why?
3.  What team skills do you think your team could have improved?  How would those changes affectyour results?
4.  Which game was your team most successful at and why? 

Na-Fish Na-Fish

1. What does Na-Fish Na-Fish mean?
2.  Which activity was your most favourite?  Why?  Describe this activity for me.
3.  Did you prefer the quiet or the active, louder activities?  Why?
4.  What did you learn about your classmates?  What did you learn about yourself?

Drama Energizers

1.  What was your favourite game and why?
2.  Describe how your clan members interacted with each other during the drama games.
3.  Tell me which new drama activities you participated in and what you enjoyed about these activities.
4.  Were you able to step out of your comfort zone during the drama games?  Why or why not?

Co-op Games

1.  What did you learn about yourself and your classmates during these activities?
2.  What skills are involved in creating a successful team?
3.  Which cooperation skills did you learn?  How might the skills that you learned during co-op games apply to real life?  Which of these skills is your best one?
4.  Which game did you find the most challenging?  What was challenging about this game?  How did you and your team overcome this  challenge?