Papua New Guinea: Kirapim

We are off to Oceania and the island country of Papua New Guinea or PNG. Papua New Guinea is just North of Australia in the Pacific ocean and is made up of 600 islands. The largest island is called New Guinea, the Western half is a province of Indonesia and the Eastern half is Papua New Guinea.

Since PNG is located in the southern hemisphere they have the pleasure of seeing the southern cross constellation. So much like Australia and New Zealand, it is a part of their flag.

Papua New Guinea Flag Craft

This flag is fairly simple to make aside from the bird featured on the right side, it is a Reggiana Bird of Paradise and the national bird of PNG.

To make the flag we started by folding the paper in half diagonally from the top left to the bottom right. Before we painted we placed 4 star stickers in the shape of the southern cross. Next came the paint! The bottom left with the stars is black and the top right is red.

Cut out a yellow Reggiana bird of paradise silhouette and once the flag is dry secure the bird on the red part of the flag. There you have it- a Papua New Guinean flag!

Tectonic Plate Science Activity

New Guinea was formed, not by a volcano like some of the other islands of PNG, but instead it was created by colliding tectonic plates. Tectonic plates are massive pieces of the earth’s crust that shift and move slowly floating on top of liquid rock in the Earth’s mantle. Mountains, like the Himalayas, are formed by tectonic plates running into each other and shooting upwards. They also cause earthquakes in California, USA or Japan, this happens when the plates slide against each other. In the same way islands can be formed by one plate diving under another and that is how New Guinea was formed!

The Australian and Pacific plates came together to create the islands of PNG. So to learn about this and the layers of our earth we turned to two of my favorites from my own childhood- The Magic School Bus and The Reading Rainbow. We also used pillows to create our own islands, but more on that in a minute.

We started by reading The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth.

Ms Frizzle and her class venture deep underground collecting rocks for their class’s rock collection. In the end they come back up out of the center of the earth in an active volcano!

To help reinforce the book, we watched a classic episode of The Reading Rainbow.

Fun fact: I once shared an elevator with the talented woman who sings the Reading Rainbow theme song, it was wonderful.

Finally, to wrap it all up, we used sofa cushions and our imaginations to create new islands by colliding tectonic plates!

Then, naturally, we hopped from island to island and along the way we collected ‘rock’ samples like Ms Frizzle’s class and we even ‘fell through’ the Earth’s crust and landed in a fit of giggles! We both had a lot of fun and it was a great way to start learning about Papua New Guinea!

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