Pasir Ris Park Mangrove Boardwalk

We were at Pasir Ris Park Mangrove Boardwalk yesterday for #2 of #sglittleXplorers series, collaboration with Familytrippers.

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Pasir Ris Park is more popular for its beach and its ‘spiderweb’ playground…

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Source: Little Day Out

But right in the middle of the whole stretch, there’s a small area of mangrove.
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Getting there

Public transport: About 5-10 min walking distance from Pasir Ris MRT station. You’ll need to walk towards Downtown east.

Driving/ Cab/ Uber:
1. Carpark B, enter from Pasir Ris Drive 3. Unfortunately, Carpark B is still not in Google Map, but you can search for the sheltered pavilion, Piai Plaza. Google map coordinates here.
2. Carpark C.

Boardwalk trail

About 1-2 hour walk. No soiled-path. It’s a boardwalk throughout without any slope. No cycling allowed, but I guess you can push your pram if you’re coming with kids.

The best time to visit is in the morning because it is low tide. During low tide, you’ll get to see the roots and creatures. Then, just as you end, you can see that the water level is higher compared to what it was when you walked in. I feel, this makes a good observation and comparison for the kids. They will also able to appreciate the conditions and environment of the mangrove as an ecosystem with distinctive features due to influences of tidal movement.


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Source: Lumingardus

So, what are some of the interesting sightings and learning adventures we had?

Sea Poison

Sea poison is commonly found in back mangrove region.
IMG_20161231_094817.jpgPretty sight of pinkish flowers on the ground welcomed us just a few metres before the start the boardwalk.

The bud swell in the daytime, the whitish part in the photo below, and bloom only after sunset.
fb_img_1485860024306Flowers on the ground is a usual sight every morning, because after these flowers bloom at night, they eventually fall off from the tree, by sunrise the next day. Strong fragrance is also present only after sunset.

Why this special adaptation? Well, these flowers are pollinated by insects that are more active at night, common example is moth.
fb_img_1485678874486The flowers are white, because these animals do not have colour visual at night. Hence, it’s not necessary for them to be brightly-coloured, as observed in most of other insect-pollinated flowers.
fb_img_1485678870954The fruit is a fibrous husk as its seeds are dispersed by water, a typical feature of most mangrove plants.

p/s Do you know that another common flower that emits fragrance at night and is pollinated by moth too is spider lily. Spider lily is commonly found in neighbourhood area, so do lookout for it!
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Pong Pong tree

IMG_20170130_102008.jpgPong pong is quite well-known as a poisonous plant. The parts of the plant that are poisonous are the seeds and the latex/white sap from the bark and leaves.

The fruit floats as dispersal of seed is by water, a common feature of most mangrove plants. The fruit is eventually left as a fibrous husk, as seen in the photo above.

We were also lucky to spot a shoot growing from the seed in the husk!
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Vivipary

mangrove-ecosystem-32-728A common reproductive adaptation of mangrove plants is vivipary. The conditions of the environment is harsh for a typical germination of seed in the soil. To increase higher rate of survival of offsprings, the plants undergo vivipary.

viviparous-reproductionThe seedling (also called propagule) will grow on parent plant, mainly to receive nutrients. It’ll become heavy and eventually fall. It’ll float in water and then rooted in soil to grown into a young plant.

We were lucky to spot a few propagules hanging on a plant.img_20161231_100344_01

If you’re at the boardwalk, lookout for the Vivipary info board below.
img_20161231_100411You’ll have a higher chance to spot propagules from the tree right behind the board.

As we walked further down, we also saw a propagule perhaps only recently rooted into the mud and growing into a young plant.
photogrid_1485785429398Really cool to spot them at the different stages!

Oh, and another interesting fact about the propagule. One end of it is more water-absorbent. And, there’s a reason for it! When it drops into the water, it float horizontally. But due to one end of the tip being more water-absorbent, that end becomes heavier, enabling it to float vertically and eventually heavy enough to sink and rooted into the mud. Cool stuff, right!

Fish tail palm

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The leaves of this plant looks like a fish tail, hence the name. A 4-yo participant also pointed out that it looks like someone bit it. And, he pointed out a good observation cuz there’s a reason for it! The leaves appears as though it had been bitten so that insects will not feed on it.

Roots adaptations

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Avicennia plants have pneumatophores (Pencil-like roots)
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Bruguiera plants have Knee roots
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Rhizophora plants have stilt roots. They also have prop roots growing out from the branch into the soil.

Aerial roots adaptations are observed in mangrove plants because of low oxygen concentration in the mud. The roots “appear” out of the soil to increase exposure for oxygen.

And that’s pretty much some of the interesting sights we had at Pasir Ris Mangrove Boardwalk. Do make a visit soon to learn more about the mangrove ecosystem!

 

10 Cactus craft for lesson on plant adaptations

Explore science concept of plant adaptation through cactus!

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Source: Keyword Suggestion
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Source: Youtube

Make one of these cactus craft and share ideas of its adaptation with your children. Most activities listed here are appropriate for those above 4 years old.

Some questions/pointers to introduce to children…

– Cacti are one of the common plants in desert
– Describe the conditions of desert (learning opportunities to expand vocabulary, eg hot, dry, arid, sandy)
– Challenges of desert climate (lack of water to support/sustain life)
– Describe a cactus (thick, fleshy stem, green stem, spines/thorns/thin and sharp leaves)
– Extend discussion with adaptation of desert animals, e.g camel

BBC KS3 Bitesize has a good resource to facilitate learning on this.

Which of these are you gonna make?

1. Painted rock cactus

Collect some pebbles and get down to painting them green with some patterns as the thorns.
Place them in pots with soil…

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Source: Craft Berry Bush

or a pot containing smaller pebbles,

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Source: El Nido De Mama Gallina

or cans of marbles..

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Source: Think, Make, Share

Voila- the painted pebbles have been transformed into cactus!

2. Popsicle stick cactus

If you have spare popsicle sticks lying around, here are some ideas to make cactus from them.

Put them upright…

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Source: Michaels

Or lay them flat…

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Source: Glued to my crafts

3.  Hand-print cactus

Get your hand dirty, literally, with some hand-printed cactus.

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Source: Clickacraft

4. Balloon cactus

Tape a few pieces of yellow and green balloons of different sizes together.

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Source: Design Improvised

5. Toothpick

Toothpicks can be used to represent the spines. So, why not add toothpick to your drawing…

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Source: Creativity Takes Flight

or to modge-painted Styrofoam ball…

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Source: Modge Podge Rocks

6. Card-stitching cactus

Template provided by Handmade Charlotte with easy, simple stitch for the thorns of the cactus.

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Source: Handmade Charlotte

7. Cactus pen-holder

Make your cactus for creative use, for example, as a pen holder.

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Source: The Creative Pair

8. Paper craft cactus

Plenty of variations for paper craft cactus and with template provided. Cut, colour and fix them up. Easy peasy!

Template by The House that Lars Built with instructions here.

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Source: The House that Lars Built

You can also get template from Good To Know with instructions here.

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Source: Good to Know

Make spiny cactus with template and instructions from Vashechudo.

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Source: Vashechudo

Watercolour paper cacti with template from Think Make Share and instructions here.

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Source: Think Make Share

Paper Mache Cacti on Styrofoam piece by Design Sponge.

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Source: Design Sponge

Simple paper cactus by Henrietta & Clementine.

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Source: Henrietta & Clementine

9. Fork pattern

Use a fork to paint over the cactus cut-out to represent the needle-like leaves.

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Source: Preschool playbook
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Source: Preschool playbook

10. Using wire from old clothes hanger

Unwind them, then twist and turn it into cactus. Then, add some ribbons to represent the spines. Pretty, aren’t they?

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Source: The Jungalow