Introduction

Search our education resources by learning level, learning area or topic.

Highlights

 

Exploring your local environment

Inquiry unit | Outdoor activities | Levels: 1-4: Use this resource to learn about and develop connections to a local green space.

Download the resource

Exploring your local environment (PDF, 6,883K)

Learning outcomes

Using this resource students will:

  • appreciate that people are part of the natural world
  • build knowledge and understanding of ecosystems
  • investigate what is living in a green space
  • understand how birds, invertebrates and other native and endemic animals are part of a healthy ecosystem
  • contribute to increasing biodiversity in a green space.

Curriculum links

Level 1-4 Science

  • Living World: Evolution, ecology, life processes
  • Nature of Science: Investigating in science, communicating in science, understanding about science, participating and contributing

Science capabilities

  • Gather and interpret data
  • Use evidence
  • Critique evidence
  • Interpret representations
  • Engage with science

Level 1-4 Health and Physical Education

  • Healthy communities and environments

Resource contents

  1. Introduction
  2. DOC's conservation education 'In the environment' resources
  3. Connections in an ecosystem
  4. Health and safety considerations
  5. Getting started - Teaching in nature
  6. Starting your learning inquiry
  7. Inquiry plan for your green space
  8. Place-based learning in the outdoors
  9. Māori perspectives and values
  10. Science capabilities
  11. Curriculum links and example unit plan
  12. Inquiry plan for your green space
  13. Integrated inquiry cycle for working through the 'In the environment' resources

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Forests and green spaces

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science
  • Education for sustainability
  • English
  • Health and PE

Feedback

We would love to get your feedback about this resource. To be involved in a short survey, fill in the online form and we will be in touch.

Your feedback helps us to improve our resources, and ensure that they are useful to you and your students.

Contact

If you have questions about these resources email conservED@doc.govt.nz.


Viewing files on this page

If you can't view these files contact us to request another format. About our files.


Experiencing invertebrates in your green space

Inquiry unit | Outdoor activities | Levels: 1-4: Use this resource to experience invertebrates (insects) in your school grounds or another local green space.

Download the resource

Experiencing invertebrates in your green space (PDF, 8,221K)

Factsheets

Download the invertebrates factsheets:

Slideshows


Students identifying insects using the NZ Invertebrates ID guide
Image: Marie McDonald

Learning outcomes

Using this resource students will:

  • connect with and learn about invertebrates and begin to group/ classify them
  • gather and interpret data about native and introduced invertebrates living in a local green space
  • begin to understand how invertebrates are part of a wider ecosystem.

Note: This resource is about land invertebrates. For information about aquatic invertebrates, see our Habitat Heroes: Explore your local stream resource.

Curriculum links

Level 1-4 Science


Verran School students investigating invertebrates

  • Living World: Evolution, Ecology, Life Processes
  • Nature of Science: Investigating in science, communicating in science, Understanding about science, Participating and contributing
  • Planet Earth and Beyond: Earth systems

English: Listening, reading and viewing, Speaking, writing and presenting, Ideas
The arts: Music, visual arts
Mathematics: Statistics

Science capabilities

  • Gather and interpret data
  • Use evidence
  • Critique evidence
  • Interpret representations
  • Engage with science

Learning sequence

  1. Experience and connect with invertebrates in your green space through the introductory activities
  2. Planning your investigation and learning about NZ invertebrates
  3. Gathering and reflecting on data about invertebrates in your green space
  4. Extending thinking about invertebrates
  5. Sharing knowledge and taking the next steps in exploring your green spaces

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Forests and green spaces

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science
  • Education for sustainability
  • English
  • Maths and statistics

Feedback

We would love to get your feedback about this resource. To be involved in a short survey, fill in the online form and we will be in touch.

Your feedback helps us to improve our resources, and ensure that they are useful to you and your students.

Contact

If you have questions about these resources email conservED@doc.govt.nz.


Viewing files on this page

If you can't view these files contact us to request another format. About our files.


Experiencing birds in your green space

Inquiry unit | Outdoor activities | Levels: 1-4: Use this resource to experience birds in your school grounds or another local green space.

Download the resource

Experiencing birds in your green space (PDF, 6,899K)

Learning outcomes

Using this resource students will:

  • gather and interpret data about birds living in a local green space
  • identify and learn about key native, endemic and introduced birds
  • begin to understand how birds are part of a wider ecosystem.

Curriculum links

Level 1-4 Science

  • Living World: Evolution, Ecology, Life Processes
  • Nature of Science: Investigating in science, communicating in science, Understanding about science, Participating and contributing


Verran School students doing bird survey

Science capabilities

  • Gather and interpret data
  • Use evidence
  • Critique evidence
  • Interpret representations
  • Engage with science

Learning sequence

  1. Experience birds outdoors and introduce a bird learning context with an introductory activity.
  2. Plan your investigation, learn about NZ birds and form/add to a learning inquiry.
  3. Gather data about birds in your area and examine the data.
  4. Find out more about birds linking in your local green space.
  5. Contribute to local and community information and share knowledge.

Supporting resources

LEARNZ virtual field trips:

  • Garden Bird Survey – who's in your backyard?
    On this virtual field trip your students will become citizen scientists! They will join thousands of other citizen scientists all over New Zealand as they take part in the annual NZ Garden Bird Survey. View the field trip videos on Vimeo.
  • Kererū Count – kaitiakitanga in action 
    On this field trip you will find plenty of good news stories of people working effectively to increase the population of kererū. Running during Term 3, 2016. More about the Kererū Count field trip

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Forests and green spaces

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science
  • Education for sustainability
  • English
  • Maths and statistics

Feedback

We would love to get your feedback about this resource. To be involved in a short survey, fill in the online form and we will be in touch.

Your feedback helps us to improve our resources, and ensure that they are useful to you and your students.

Contact

If you have questions about these resources email conservED@doc.govt.nz.


Viewing files on this page

If you can't view these files contact us to request another format. About our files.


Investigating animal pests in your green space

Inquiry unit | Outdoor activity | Levels: 1-4: Use this resource to investigate animal pests in your school grounds or another local green space.

Download the resource

Investigating animal pests in your green space (PDF, 5,514K)

Factsheets

Google slideshow

Who's that animal pest?
Students can use the factsheets (above) to help solve the animal pest crimes outlined in this slideshow. Each case involves a different pest culprit.


Setting up tracking tunnel
Image: Shan Walker

Learning outcomes

Using this resource students can:

  • gather and interpret data about animal pests living in a local green space
  • identify and learn about introduced pests and how they affect endemic and native plants and animals
  • begin to understand how animal pests have an impact on the environment and wider ecosystem.

Curriculum links

Level 1-4 Science

  • Living World: Planet Earth and Beyond Level 1 and 2: Interacting systems: Describe how natural features are changed and resources affected by natural events and human actions.
  • Living World: Ecology Level 3 and 4: Explain how living things are suited to their particular habitat and how they respond to changes, both natural and human-induced.
  • Nature of Science: Investigating in science, Communicating in science, Understanding about science, Participating and contributing. 

Science capabilities

  • Gather and interpret data
  • Use evidence
  • Critique evidence
  • Interpret representations
  • Engage with science

Level 1-4 Social Sciences

  • Level 1: Understand how the past is important to people.
  • Level 2: Understand how places influence people and people influence places; Understand how time and change affect people's lives.
  • Level 3: Understand how people make decisions about access to and use of resources.
  • Level 4: Understand that events have causes and effects.

English: Listening, Reading and Viewing

Maths: Statistics

Technology: Technological practice, Nature of technology

Learning sequence

  1. Introducing animal pests in your green space - Individual students have personal experiences to spark their interest in pests and start to think about impacts.
  2. Planning an investigation and learning more about animal pests in NZ - Start or continue a learning inquiry. Students reflect on knowledge and then ask questions about pests. They make predictions and plan an investigation to learn more about animal pests.
  3. Gathering and reflecting on data about animal pests in your green space- Monitor animal pests in your green space through constructing and placing a monitoring tool such as tracking tunnels.
  4. Extending thinking about animal pests- Continue the learning inquiry: Investigate patterns and themes and form new ideas about pests. Explore Maori perspectives.
  5. Sharing knowledge and next steps - Students share their findings with the community and then take the next steps in exploring their green spaces

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Forests and green spaces
  • Pests and threats

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science
  • Education for sustainability
  • English
  • Maths and statistics

Feedback

We would love to get your feedback about this resource. To be involved in a short survey, fill in the online form and we will be in touch.

Your feedback helps us to improve our resources, and ensure that they are useful to you and your students.

Contact

If you have questions about these resources email conservED@doc.govt.nz.


Viewing files on this page

If you can't view these files contact us to request another format. About our files.


Investigating plant pests in your green space

Inquiry unit | Outdoor activities | Levels: 1-4: Use this resource to investigate plant pests (weeds) in your school grounds or another local green space.

Download the resource

Investigating plant pests in your green space (PDF, 8,895K)

Factsheets

  1. Banana passionfruit (PDF, 445K)
  2. Buddleia (PDF, 525K)
  3. Climbing asparagus (PDF, 447K)
  4. Darwin's barberry (PDF, 477K)
  5. English ivy (PDF, 513K)
  6. Japanese honeysuckle (PDF, 501K)
  7. Moth plant (PDF, 451K)
  8. Old man's beard (PDF, 468K)
  9. Spartina (PDF, 287K)
  10. Wandering willie (PDF, 506K)
  11. Wild ginger (PDF, 525K)
  12. Wilding conifers (PDF, 504K)
  13. Woolly nightshade (PDF, 436K)

Posters

View 'wanted' posters of the Dirty Dozen weeds threatening our native habitat:

  1. Wilding conifers (PDF, 2,263K)
  2. Woolly nightshade (PDF, 3,985K)
  3. Buddleia (PDF, 3,881K)
  4. Wild ginger (PDF, 3,862K)
  5. English ivy (PDF, 3,939K)
  6. Wandering willie (PDF, 3,711K)
  7. Darwin's barberry (PDF, 3,823K)
  8. Climbing asparagus (PDF, 3,902K)
  9. Old man's beard (PDF, 3,792K)
  10. Moth plant (PDF, 3,524K)
  11. Banana passionfruit (PDF, 3,811K)
  12. Japanese honeysuckle (PDF, 3,658K)
  13. Spartina (PDF, 3,770K)

Learning outcomes


Students identifying weeds

Using this resource students can:

  • gather and interpret data about plant pests (weeds) living in a local green space
  • identify and learn about introduced weeds and how they affect native plants and animals
  • begin to understand how weeds have an impact on the environment and wider ecosystem.

Curriculum links

Level 1-4 Science

  • Living World: Planet Earth and Beyond Level 1 and 2: Interacting systems: Describe how natural features are changed and resources affected by natural events and human actions.
  • Living World: Ecology Level 3 and 4: Explain how living things are suited to their particular habitat and how they respond to changes, both natural and human-induced.
  • Nature of Science: Investigating in science, Communicating in science, Understanding about science, Participating and contributing.

Science capabilities

  • Gather and interpret data
  • Use evidence
  • Critique evidence
  • Interpret representations
  • Engage with science

English: Listening, Reading and Viewing

Learning sequence

  1. Getting to know plant pests in your green space - Students have outdoor experiences to spark their interest in weeds.
  2. Planning an investigation - Start or continue a learning inquiry about plant pests. Students reflect on knowledge and then ask questions about plant pests.
  3. Gathering and reflecting on data about weeds in your green space - Survey and identify weeds in your green space. Students add to their knowledge, reflect on predictions, and use and critique their evidence/data about pest plants.
  4. Finding out more about weeds and how they change an ecosystem- Students identify how weeds could change local ecosystems.
  5. Sharing knowledge and taking next steps- Students share their findings with the community and then take the next steps in exploring and enhancing their green spaces.

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Forests and green spaces
  • Pests and threats

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science
  • Education for sustainability
  • English
  • Maths and statistics

Feedback

We would love to get your feedback about this resource. To be involved in a short survey, fill in the online form and we will be in touch.

Your feedback helps us to improve our resources, and ensure that they are useful to you and your students.

Contact

If you have questions about these resources email conservED@doc.govt.nz.


Viewing files on this page

If you can't view these files contact us to request another format. About our files.


Experiencing native trees in your green space

Inquiry unit | Outdoor activities | Levels: 1-4: Use this resource to experience native trees in your school grounds or another local green space.

Download the resource

Experiencing native trees in your green space (PDF, 20,200K)

Learning outcomes

Using this resource, students can:

  • connect with and learn about widespread New Zealand native trees
  • identify key native trees
  • begin to understand how native plants and trees are part of a wider ecosystem.

Individual sheets

Tree information sheets

  1. Kōwhai – Sophora microphylla (PDF, 978K)
  2. Cabbage tree / tī Kōuka – Cordyline australis (PDF, 921K)
  3. Mānuka / tea tree – Leptospermum scoparium (PDF, 717K)
  4. Lancewood / horoeka – Pseudopanax crassifolius (PDF, 664K)
  5. Māhoe / whitey-wood – Melicytus ramiflorus (PDF, 794K)
  6. Kōtukutuku / tree fuchsia – Fuchsia excorticata (PDF, 628K)
  7. Lemonwood / tarata – Pittosporum eugenioides (PDF, 819K)
  8. Patē (Patate) / seven finger – Schefflera digitata (PDF, 816K)
  9. Rātā (Northern and Southern) – Metrosideros robusta/ umbellate (PDF, 500K)
  10. Broadleaf / kapuka – Griselinea littoralis (PDF, 671K)
  11. Nīkau palm – Rhopalostylis sapida (PDF, 971K)
  12. Silver tree fern / ponga – Cyathea dealbata (PDF, 876K)
  13. Kahikatea – Dacrocarpus dacrydioides (PDF, 610K)
  14. Tōtara – Podocarpus totara (PDF, 808K)
  15. Rimu – Dacrydium cupressinum (PDF, 1,563K)
  16. Matai – Prumnopitus taxifolia (PDF, 899K)

Tree connection factsheets

Curriculum links

Level 1-4 Science

Living World: Life Processes

  • L1 & 2: Recognise that all living things have certain requirements so they can stay alive.
  • L3 & 4: Recognise that there are life processes common to all living things and that these occur in different ways.

Planet Earth and Beyond: Earth systems

  • L1 & 2:  Explore and describe natural features and resources.
  • L3 & 4:  Appreciate that water, air, rocks and soil and life forms (e.g. trees) make up our planet and that these are Earth's resources.

Nature of Science: Investigating in Science and Communicating in Science

  • L 1-4: Extend their experiences and personal explanations of the natural world through exploration, play, asking questions, and discussing simple models.
  • L 1-4: Build their language and develop their understandings of the many ways the natural world can be represented.
    • Gather and interpret data
    • Use evidence
    • Critique evidence
    • Interpret representations
    • Engage with science

Science capabilities

Minor curriculum links:

  • Science: Living World: Evolution, Ecology
  • Nature of Science: Understanding about science; Participating and contributing 
  • English: Listening, reading and viewing; Speaking, writing and presenting ideas
  • Mathematics: Statistics. 

Learning sequence

  1. Introducing native trees in your green space - Using hands-on, outdoor learning experiences, students explore leaves and trees, encouraging interest and connection. 
  2. Planning your investigation and learning about New Zealand trees - Students continue their learning inquiry, reflecting on knowledge and then ask questions about NZ trees and their connections. 
  3. Identifying native trees in their environment- Gathering and reflecting on data. Students add to their knowledge, reflect on predictions and use and critique their evidence/ data about trees. 
  4. Extending thinking about native trees - Explore Māori perspectives. Add to big picture knowledge about the green space and how trees influence the ecosystem. 
  5. Sharing knowledge and taking the next steps- Students share their findings with the community and then take the next steps in exploring their green spaces. 

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Forests and green spaces

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science

Feedback

We would love to get your feedback about this resource. To be involved in a short survey, fill in the online form and we will be in touch.

Your feedback helps us to improve our resources, and ensure that they are useful to you and your students.

Contact

If you have questions about these resources email conservED@doc.govt.nz.


Viewing files on this page

If you can't view these files contact us to request another format. About our files.


Habitat Heroes: Explore your local marine environment

Inquiry unit | Outdoor activities | Levels: 1-4: This resource supports outdoor exploration of a local marine environment. Investigate the health of a local marine environment, and decide what conservation actions would improve the health of a local marine environment.

Habitat Heroes is a curriculum-linked conservation education programme designed for Levels 1-4.

Teaching and learning resources have been developed to encourage exploration in your local environment.

Download the resource

Habitat Heroes resource: Explore your local marine environment (PDF, 1,512K)

Learning objectives

Students will:

  • Investigate the health of a local marine environment by carrying out scientific tests.
  • Decide what conservation actions would improve the health of a local green space.
  • Understand that people have social, cultural and economic roles, rights and responsibilities.

The Habitat Heroes resources encourage:

  1. Learning about a local natural environment.
  2. Investigation in a local natural environment, eg carrying out scientific investigations such as a five-minute bird count, water clarity tests and human impact observations.
  3. Uncovering potential solutions to local environmental issues, resulting in taking action for their local natural environment, eg actions to increase the biodiversity within a local green space.

Habitat Heroes aims to enable students to become:

  • Connected to local natural environments. The learning activities will provide them with opportunities to make their own observations and draw conclusions about their local natural environments.
  • Actively involved in improving and maintaining the health of local natural environments. The learning activities will allow students to identify local environmental issues, and encourage students to find solutions.
  • Confident, responsible, lifelong learners, able to sustain and care for their environment now and into the future.

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Marine and coastal
  • Pests and threats

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science
  • Education for sustainability

Habitat Heroes: Explore your local green spaces

Inquiry unit | Outdoor activities | Levels: 1-4: This resource supports outdoor exploration of a local green space. Investigate the health of a local green space, and decide what conservation actions would improve the health of a local green space.

Habitat Heroes is a curriculum-linked conservation education programme designed for Levels 1-4.

Teaching and learning resources have been developed to encourage exploration in your local environment.

Download the resource

Habitat Heroes: Explore your local green spaces (PDF, 2,446K)

Learning objectives

Students will:

  • Investigate the health of a local green space by carrying out scientific tests.
  • Decide what conservation actions would improve the health of a local green space.
  • Understand that people have social, cultural and economic roles, rights and responsibilities.

The Habitat Heroes resources encourage:

  1. Learning about a local natural environment.
  2. Investigation in a local natural environment, eg carrying out scientific investigations such as a five-minute bird count, water clarity tests and human impact observations.
  3. Uncovering potential solutions to local environmental issues, resulting in taking action for their local natural environment, eg actions to increase the biodiversity within a local green space.

Habitat Heroes aims to enable students to become:

  • Connected to local natural environments. The learning activities will provide them with opportunities to make their own observations and draw conclusions about their local natural environments.
  • Actively involved in improving and maintaining the health of local natural environments. The learning activities will allow students to identify local environmental issues, and encourage students to find solutions.
  • Confident, responsible, lifelong learners, able to sustain and care for their environment now and into the future.

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Forests and green spaces
  • Pests and threats

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science
  • Education for sustainability

Habitat Heroes: Explore your local stream

Inquiry unit | Outdoor activities | Levels: 1-4: This resource supports outdoor exploration of a local stream. Investigate the health of a local stream, and decide what conservation actions would improve the health of a local stream.

Habitat Heroes is a curriculum-linked conservation education programme designed for Levels 1-4.

Teaching and learning resources have been developed to encourage exploration in your local environment.

Download the resource

Habitat Heroes resource: Explore your local stream (PDF, 2,741K)

Learning objectives

Students will:

  • Investigate the health of a local stream by carrying out scientific tests.
  • Decide what conservation actions would improve the health of a local green space.
  • Understand that people have social, cultural and economic roles, rights and responsibilities.

The Habitat Heroes resources encourage:

  1. Learning about a local natural environment.
  2. Investigation in a local natural environment, eg carrying out scientific investigations such as a five-minute bird count, water clarity tests and human impact observations.
  3. Uncovering potential solutions to local environmental issues, resulting in taking action for their local natural environment, eg actions to increase the biodiversity within a local green space.

Habitat Heroes aims to enable students to become:

  • Connected to local natural environments. The learning activities will provide them with opportunities to make their own observations and draw conclusions about their local natural environments.
  • Actively involved in improving and maintaining the health of local natural environments. The learning activities will allow students to identify local environmental issues, and encourage students to find solutions.
  • Confident, responsible, lifelong learners, able to sustain and care for their environment now and into the future.

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Freshwater
  • Native animals
  • Pests and threats

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science
  • Education for sustainability

Tāiko/black petrel education resource

Inquiry unit | Levels: 2-4: This resource is an integrated unit of teaching and learning material about the tāiko/black petrel and other seabirds, for use in primary schools.

Download the resource

Download the tāiko/black petrel education resource and supporting material:

Feedback

We would love to get your feedback about this education resource. To be involved in a short survey at a later date, submit your details and we will be in touch.

Receiving your feedback helps us to improve our resources, and ensure that they are useful and relevant to you and your students.

Learning objectives

Vision

This resource will build foundations for:

  • young people who are informed about seabirds and the issues they face
  • students and communities who are able to think creatively and connect with others to be actively involved in caring for seabirds.

Key concepts

  • The ecology of the black petrel and other seabirds
  • Life cycle, habitat and breeding information
  • Red-billed gulls, little blue penguins, gannets
  • How people affect seabirds
  • Threats to seabirds
  • Protection of seabirds
  • Future -focussed thinking
  • How to help seabirds in their community

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Marine and coastal

Curriculum links

The following values, key competencies and principles are incorporated into the resource:

Values: Ecological sustainability; Respect; Inquiry and curiosity; Innovation; Diversity; Community and participation

Key competencies: Thinking; Using language, symbols and text; Managing self; Relating to others; Participating and contributing

Principles: Learning to learn, Cultural diversity, Community engagement, Future focus

Curriculum learning areas

Achievement objectives from relevant subject areas are listed in the teacher notes of each activity. Specific
learning intentions and success criteria deriving from the AO's are listed in each learning experience.

The following subject areas and strands are included in the resource:

Science

Nature of Science: Understanding about science, Investigating in science, Communicating in science, Participating and contributing

Living world: Life processes, Ecology

Social Sciences

Social studies

English

Processes and strategies: Listening, Reading and Viewing and Speaking, Writing and Presenting

Ideas

Technology

Technological Practice: Brief development

Minor links to:

Mathematics, Health, The Arts, Education for sustainability/ Environmental education

Contact

If you have questions about this resources email conservED@doc.govt.nz.


Viewing files on this page

If you can't view these files contact us to request another format. About our files.


Whio Forever education resource

Inquiry unit | Levels: 1-4: Take your students on an amazing learning journey, discovering why the whio/blue duck is so important to New Zealand.

Download the resource

Download the Whio Forever education resource and supporting material:

Powerpoint presentations:

Posters:

Game:

Download the Stoats and rivers game from the Whio Forever website.

Feedback

We would love to get your feedback about this resource. To be involved in a short survey at a later date, submit your details and we will be in touch.

Your feedback helps us to improve our resources, and ensure that they are useful to you and your students.

Teachers can also share their ideas, experiences and resources about whio with this discussion group on The Pond

Free teacher webinars  

Join our professional learning webinars introducing the Whio Forever resource and discover why the whio/blue duck is so important to New Zealand.

For more information and to register, visit the Science Learning Hub or email whioworkshops@doc.govt.nz.

Upcoming webinars

  • Taking action for conservation: 22 June 2017

Learning objectives of this resoure

By the end of their learning inquiry, students will have a multi-faceted, deep understanding of whio, beyond just facts. They will learn about:

  • Whio ecology: where they live, what they eat, their adaptations, and how they stay alive
  • How people are involved with whio
  • Whio challenges: Whio threats and how people contribute to these
  • Visiting whio: Where to see whio and what we can learn by observing them
  • How they can act to solve an issue for whio in their community
  • Other information depending on where their inquiry leads.

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Freshwater

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science
  • Education for sustainability
  • English
  • Maths and statistics
  • The Arts
  • Geography
  • Health and PE
  • Technology

Viewing files on this page

If you can't view these files contact us to request another format. About our files.


Harbours, bays and estuaries teaching resource

Unit | Levels: 3-4: Learn about the species that depend on our estuaries - the places where freshwater and saltwater meet.

Download the resource

About the resource

Plants and animals that live in our estuaries have adapted to a constantly changing environment based on the tidal cycles, as well as the freshwater and sediment (material like soil and plant matter) that comes from the surrounding land.

Gives an introduction to the student resources, provides a glossary and links, provides possible activities for teachers to give students, teachers notes, links to curriculum.

Student resources 

In these brochures three scientists answer questions about some of the plants and animals that depend on our estuaries for at least part of their life cycle.

Getting muddy with cockles

MAF scientist Richard Ford answers these questions:

  • What are cockles?
  • How to they eat?
  • Where do they live?
  • Do cockles have predators?
  • How old do they live to be?
  • What impact do humans have on cockle numbers?

Whitebait in our waters

DOC scientist Dave West answers these questions:

  • What are whitebait? What do they grow up to be?
  • Can you desribe the life cycle of galaxiids?
  • What do adult galaxiids eat?
  • Why are clean streams important to galaxiids?
  • How do we affect their habitat by what we do on the land?

Our prized snapper

Ecologist Mark Morrison answers these questions:

  • How are snapper born?
  • Can you give an example of an important snapper nursery?
  • Are there ways to restore some estuaries that may have been good snapper nurseries?
  • What other snapper research are you involved with? 

Learning outcomes

Students will understand that:

  • Coastal marine communities and environs are affected by land-based activities such as farming, property development and land clearance.
  • Some marine species survival is affected by the health of estuaries, streams and waterways that feed into coastal waters.
  • The survival of a healthy coastline is the responsibility of all New Zealanders. Peoples' activities impact on the environment.
  • The actions of individuals and groups of people can have a positive impact on the environment.

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Estuaries
  • Native animals
  • Native plants

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science

Developed by the Ministry of Fisheries and the Department of Conservation.

Written by Shelley Farr Biswell, Teacher resource developed and written by Sue Clement.

Online ISBN 978-0-478-11919-4

Contact

 

Whare Kaupapa Atawhai / Conservation House Head Office
Phone:   +64 4 471 0726
Address:   18-32 Manners Street
Wellington 6011
Email:   enquiries@doc.govt.nz
Full office details

Viewing files on this page

If you can't view these files contact us to request another format. About our files.


River life: ecology of the braided rivers education resource

Unit | Levels: 4-7: This resource is based on braided rivers in the Mackenzie basin, but the concepts can be applied to rivers anywhere in New Zealand. Students will research topics such as disappearing river habitat, pest control, and food chains.

Download the resource

River life teaching resource 2010 (PDF, 2904K)

Resource summary and introduction

Braided rivers

Gravel-based braided river systems are found in only a few places around the world; Alaska, Canada, the Himalayan region and New Zealand's South Island have excellent examples. They all flow from geologically young, rapidly eroding mountain systems and are characterised by wide gravel or alluvial beds, many winding channels, and highly variable water flows.

In the South Island, the largest braided rivers are found on the eastern side of the Southern Alps/Kä Tiritiri o te Moana, especially in Canterbury. By the end of the last glaciation, 10,000 years ago, rivers carrying alluvium down the valleys of the east coast had spread it amongst glacial deposits to form flat basins between the mountains and the coastal plains.

The floor of the Mackenzie Basin has been formed from sediments deposited by the Tekapo, Tasman/Te Awa Whakamau, Ohau, Hopkins/Te Awa äruhe, Dobson/Otao, Cass, Pukaki, Macaulay and Ahuriri rivers. The process of geological uplift, erosion, and alluvial transport continues to maintain the braided rivers today.

Braided river species

New Zealand's braided rivers are distinctive, dynamic environments with specialised plant and animal communities. During spring and summer, at least 26 species of water birds feed or nest on braided rivers. Some of these birds are now threatened or critically endangered. In addition to birds, braided rivers provide important habitats for numerous plants and other native animals.

Some of these species such as the kakï/black stilt, wrybill/ngutu pare, McCann's skink/mokomoko, native fish and insects will be profiled in this resource, and are each interesting to study in themselves.

Habitat under threat

Unfortunately, the braided river habitat and surrounding wetlands of the Mackenzie Basin are under threat – from introduced species, habitat loss and the development of hydro-power schemes, as well as agriculture. These issues are discussed throughout this resource.

Project River Recovery

A programme called Project River Recovery (PPR) was created in 1990 in recognition of the importance of braided river and wetland ecosystems in the Mackenzie Basin. Its focus is to enhance braided river and wetland ecosystems in this area, and to maintain populations of native plants and animals. This project will also be profiled in this resource.

Learning outcomes

Primary:

  • Students will research reasons why the river habitat and surrounding wetlands of the Upper Waitaki River is disappearing.
  • Students will investigate in what ways their local river is, and has been important to Māori.

Secondary:

  • Students will research predator prey relationships
  • Students will investigate food chains and webs
  • Students will compare pest control examples in the area
  • Students will develop knowledge in relation to tectonic and geomorphic processes

Links to curriculum 

Primary:

  • Science: Living world: Ecology, Evolution
  • Nature of science: Understanding about science, investigating in science, participating and contributing
  • Health and PE: Personal health and physical development: Safety management
  • Social sciences: Place and environment

Secondary:

  • Science: Living world: Ecology
  • Planet earth and beyond
  • Social sciences: Place and environment

Learning areas

  • Science
  • Health and PE
  • Social sciences
  • Geography
  • Education for sustainablility

Topics

  • Freshwater
  • Native animals
  • Native plants
  • Pests and threats

Contact

 

Te Manahuna / Twizel Office
Phone:   +64 3 435 0802
Fax:   +64 3 435 0852
Email:   twizel@doc.govt.nz
Address:   Wairepo Road
Twizel 7901
Postal Address:   Private Bag
Twizel 7944

Publication information

Copyright 2010 Department of Conservation
Cover illustration: Simone End
ISBN 978-0-478-14697-4
ISBN 978-0-478-14698-1 (PDF)

Wet Feet – investigating freshwater

Unit | Levels: 3-4: Wet Feet is about involving schools and communities in the care and restoration of freshwater systems.

Download the resource

Wet-feet - investigating fresh water (PDF, 3,815K)

Key concepts

  • Values of freshwater.
  • Interdependence, interconnections and cycles (eg water cycle, whitebait life cycle) from the mountains to the sea.
  • Ecology and biodiversity – species identification.
  • Threats to the freshwater environment.
  • Introducing personal and social responsibility – Kaitiakitanga.

Viewing files on this page

If you can't view these files contact us to request another format. About our files.


Action plan activity

Classroom activity | Levels 2-8: Students will participate in an action research project around a topic related to a local, national or global environmental issue, and gain an awareness of peoples' attitudes and values related to this.


Volunteers at Rimutaka Forest Park

In the Action plan activity sudents will participate in an action research project around a topic related to the environment.

Students will develop knowledge of an issue or topic (local, national or global), and gain an awareness of peoples' attitudes and values related to this.

Activity 

Download the Action plan activity (PDF, 12K)

(As in the Guidelines for Environmental Education in New Zealand schools, 1999, p. 74)

The following diagram shows how you can start to think about an action-orientated approach to environmental education. This process should always be evaluated as you work through it, to check that you are headed towards your decision.

 
Choose an issue or topic:
(Local, national or global)
 
 

 

 
Skills required:
(These could be skills that you have already or will develop)
Identify roles and processes within decision making:
 
Action
(What will you do?)
 
   
How to find out about different attitudes and values:

 

How to develop awareness of this issue:
 
Identify and enhance knowledge and understanding
(Through essential learning areas)
 

About the resource

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Native plants 
  • Pests and threats
  • Alpine
  • Marine and coastal
  • Estuaries
  • Forests and green spaces
  • Freshwater
  • Historic places
  • Offshore islands
  • Wetlands

Curriculum learning areas

  • Social sciences: Place and environment/Social enquiry
  • Education for Sustainability

Learning outcomes 

  • Students will participate in an action research project around a topic related to the environment.
  • Students will develop knowledge of an issue or topic (local, national or global), and gain an awareness of peoples' attitudes and values related to this.

Geographical location

  • Anywhere in NZ

Unit or achievement standard

  • AS90186

Biodiversity activity

Classroom activity | Levels: 2-4: This activity will introduce students to the concept of variety in nature.

Activity instructions

Understanding biodiversity

  • Introduce the idea of variety by giving the students a one minute challenge to write the names of all the plants, animals and insects they know.
  • Explain that 'diversity' is the name that we give to this variety. Develop the idea that this diversity is what makes life interesting.
  • Introduce students to the concept of variety in nature. Can they imagine a world where there was only one type of tree or bird? e.g. only pine trees and magpies.
  • Can they imagine a world with only buildings and roads and no green spaces in our towns and cities? What would it be like to live in this type of environment?
  • Explain that this variety of life is called biodiversity (short for biological diversity).
  • Challenge students to expand the following examples of biodiversity:
    • the differences between animals or plants of the same species, e.g. different types of ducks
    • different species who live in a particular area, e.g. birds, fish, insects, plants, fungus could all live in a wetland
    • differences between different environments (ecosystems) e.g. forests, wetlands, lakes etc.
  • Using the school and the local environment as a resource have students identify examples of the three different categories of biodiversity, e.g. 
    • birds, insects, trees, animals
    • living in the local area
    • identify and count the number of different bird species
    • identify and name particular environments within a local area (bush, wetland, stream). 

Interactive web-based research

www.biodiversity.govt.nz/kids/

  • This stimulating and easy-to-use bilingual resource has been especially designed for students to show them just how everything is connected.
  • Dion, Rick and Ani are fishing for whitebait but locals tell them that the fishing is not as good as it used to be. They decide to go on a journey up the creek, through the suburbs, rural land and to the source of the river to find out why. On their way they discover just how everything is connected. A comprehensive Teacher's Guide is provided including resources, websites, background information, and classroom activities. 

Learning outcomes

Students will identify examples of biodiversity in their environment and communicate an understanding about the effect people have on their natural environment. This resource can be used with primary and secondary students. 

Curriculum links

Science: Nature of science

Level 1 and 2

Investigating in science: Extend their experiences and personal explanations of the natural world through exploration, play, asking questions and discussing simple models.

Communicating in science: Build their language and develop their understandings of many ways the natural world can be represented.

Science: Living world

Level 1 and 2

Ecology: Recognise that living things are suited to their particular habitat

Level 3 and 4

Ecology: Explain how living things are suited to their particular habitat and how they respond to environmental changes, both natural and human induced.

About the resource

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Native plants 
  • Pests and threats
  • Alpine
  • Marine and coastal
  • Estuaries
  • Forests and green spaces
  • Freshwater
  • Historic places
  • Offshore islands
  • Wetlands

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • English

Dolphin activity sheet

Classroom activity | Levels: 1-4: Learn about bottlenose dolphins and why they are special and need to be protected.


Download the Dolphin activity sheet (PDF, 3,587K)

This activity sheet includes a word search, crossword, spot the difference and other fun games.

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Marine and coastal

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social sciences

    Viewing files on this page

    If you can't view these files contact us to request another format. About our files.


Forest ecosystems

Classroom activity | Levels: 2-4: This activity introduces the concepts of ecosystems, biodiversity and interdependence within the forest community, and human influences on these.

Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • be introduced to the concepts of ecosystems, biodiversity and interdependence within the forest community
  • investigate how living things are suited to their habitat and how they respond to environmental changes both natural and human-induced.

Curiculum links

Science: living world

Level 2

Ecology: Recognise that living things are suited to their particular habitat

Level 3 and 4

Life processes: Recognise that there are life processes common to all living things and that these occur in different ways.

Ecology: Explain how living things are suited to their particular habitat and how they respond to environmental changes, both natural and human induced.

Social sciences

Level 3 and 4
  • Understand that people view and use places differently.
  • Understand how exploration and innovation create opportunities and challenges for people, places and environments.

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Forests and green spaces
  • Native animals
  • Pests and threats

Activity instructions

The aim of this activity is to introduce the concepts of ecosystems, biodiversity and interdependence within the forest community, and human influence on these. This activity is adapted from ones developed by Barry Law and Bert McConnell and Christchurch City Council.

Equipment:

  • Set of cards so that each student has one card.
  • List of scenarios.

Download the cards:

What to do:

By brainstorming find out from the students what they already know about New Zealand's forest communities. You could start by drawing a tree and naming all the things that would live in or use that tree from the tip down to its roots. Think about native and exotic species of plants and animals. What and why do these things live here? How many insects and birds would live in one tree?

Shuffle the cards and give one to each student.

Have the trees stand in the middle if the room, with enough room on either side of them for others to stand.

All other organisms then occupy a tree that is on their card. Check that everyone is happy, do the birds have enough to eat, room to nest?

Scenario A: It is daytime. The birds fly around among the trees and search for food, tasting different berries and nectar.

Scenario B: It is night time. The birds stop to rest in their trees and it is the insects' turn to search for food.

(These scenarios can be played once or repeated).

Make sure that students remember their tree.

Question students about what can cause damage to the forest community e.g. animal and plant pests, fire, forest removal for development projects.

Damage cards are issued to some of the trees and the facilitator can decide on how many trees are removed. The birds and insects must find new homes.

Do the remaining trees have enough food?

No!

How do they feel about being so crowded?

Not all the birds and insects can survive now; some will have to leave the game. What does this mean for the forest community?

Is this happening to our forests in New Zealand? Why?

What can be done about it?

Processing questions:

  1. What does this game tell us about the relationships between native trees and animals?  
  2. What can we learn about New Zealand's biodiversity from this activity?  
  3. What places in your own school/local community are at risk for reasons similar to those in this game, or others? Do these areas support ecosystems and areas of biodiversity?
  4. How does it feel to know we are losing native plants, trees and wildlife from our environment?  
  5. What can we do about this?
    This is a chance for you and your students to plan an action to help either in the restoration or protection of a bush/forest area or some other local site. See the 'for the environment' section of a Super Site kit and use the action plan template to help get you started.  

Picture card key:

Fantail/pīwakawaka 
Native snail
Moth 
Kererū /wood pigeon
Kōkako
Spider
Wētā
Mite
Human

A = Rimu
B = Southern rata
C = Five finger/Whauwhapaku
D = Tōtara
E = Kōwhai

Rules of the forest:

Fantails nest only in trees A and B
Native snails eat only the leaves of C
Moths sip nectar from D or A
Kererū eat berries of B
Kōkako mate on the branches of A
Spiders prefer to build webs in C
Wētā eat food from A and E
Mites eat leaves from B
Bees eat nectar from B or E
Humans: anti-cancer fungi grow on A and B
Humans: the berries from tree C prevent colds

Possible scenarios:

  • Bulldozing for development – Reduces 2 tree species  
  • Clear felling for wood resources – Reduces 2 tree species  
  • Invasion of exotic species e.g. old man's beard, wilding pines preventing the growth of young natives – Reduces 2 tree species  
  • Invasion of possums - Reduces 2 tree species

Freshwater board and card games

Classroom activity | Levels: 3-4: Learn about New Zealand's wonderful freshwater ecosystems with these great board and card games brought to you by Hastings Central School.


Hastings Central School Room 10, 2011

Learn about New Zealand's wonderful freshwater ecosystems with these great board and card games brought to you by Hastings Central School. We hope you enjoy the games.  

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Freshwater
  • Native animals
  • Pests and threats

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science

Play the games

Board game

  • Objective: To travel around the board and return safely to your habitat.
  • Number of players: 2-4.
  • To get started: Print out the board at A3 size, and follow the instructions on how to put your cards, animal playing pieces and dice together.

Download and print: Freshwater board game (PDF, 4,123K)  

Card games

Game 1: Pest and Native Snap!

  • Objective: To collect all cards by properly identifying matching pairs of native freshwater fish or one pest fish.
  • Number of players: Many players can take part.
  • To get started: Print out the pages single sided on A4 paper. Or print out jumbo cards on A3 paper. Follow the instructions on how to put the cards together.  

Game 2: Freshwater memory

  • Objective: To get the most matching pairs of cards.
  • Number of players: 2-4.
  • To get started: Print out the pages single sided on A4 paper. Or print out jumbo cards on A3 paper. Follow the instructions on how to put the cards together.

Download and print: Freshwater card games (PDF, 2,338K) 

About the games

These games came about from a presentation from Room 10 of Hastings Central School. The class had been taking DOC's freshwater education programme, and as part of their learning they had to come up with a 'taking it further' action.  

The course presenters thought the idea was marvellous, and after a small amount of input from them and help from DOC's publishing team, these games are available to you.


Viewing files on this page

If you can't view these files contact us to request another format. About our files.


Healthy water

Classroom activity | Early childhood: Play the 'making a rainstorm' game or create a collage to teach kids how living things use water.

Making a rainstorm

This is a co-operative, experiential game used to introduce water as a topic and to stimulate thinking and talking.

Learning outcomes

Use fingers and hands to tap and clap sounds that simulate how a rainstorm builds and then fades as it passes over.

Activity instructions

  1. Form a circle
  2. Making eye contact with children and encouraging them to copy you, rub hands together (to illustrate a gentle breeze), once most have joined in, start to snap fingers (to illustrate rain falling gently), then clap hands together irregularly (rain getting harder), slap hands on legs (torrential rain), stomp feet, slap hands on legs and stomp feet (the height of the rainstorm) then ease the rainstorm off by reversing the actions ... stomp feet, slap hands on legs, clap hands, snap fingers, rub hands then open palms (quiet).
  3. Remain silent for a moment to think about the activity and to catch your breath.
  4. Ask some reflection questions:
    • What does rain make you think of?
    • Where does water come from?
    • Where does water go?
    • What does water do?
    • Why do we drink water?
    • What different forms can water take?
    • Where does water come from in your school?
    • Where does the water go when it goes down the drain?
    • What things do you add to the water going down the drain? (paint to poos)
    • What other questions do you have about water?

How living things use water

Equipment

  • Old magazines and newspapers
  • A3 paper
  • Scissors
  • Pens/pencils

Activity instructions

  1. Create a collage of pictures that show people using water.
  2. Around this add a ring of pictures showing plants and animals using water.
  3. Around this, add a third ring showing places water comes from (eg, oceans, lakes, clouds, ice).
  4. Do some of the things that are happening in the pictures make the water healthy or unhealthy?
  5. What can we do at school and/or at home to look after water?

Both activities adapted from The Enviroschools Kit.

Learning levels

  • Early childhood

Topics

  • Freshwater

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science
  • The arts

Kākāpō Recovery education resource

Classroom activities | Levels: 1-4: Use this resource to uncover why the kākāpō is so important to New Zealand.

Download the resource

Kākāpō Recovery education resource (PDF, 2,813K)

Watch the videos

Kākāpō infographic

This infographic explains what a kākāpō is, why they are so vulnerable and how people are working together to help them survive. 

Kākāpō infographic (PDF, 638K)

Learning outcomes

Using this resource, students can:

  • build knowledge and understanding of kākāpō
  • raise awareness of the current situation for kākāpō
  • understand how people are involved in kākāpō recovery
  • contribute to a positive future for kākāpō.

Curriculum links

Level 1-4 Science

Living World: Ecology

  • Recognise that living things are suited to their particular habitats.

Living World: Life processes

  • Recognise that living things are suited to their particular habitats.

Nature of Science: Investigating in science

  • Ask questions, find evidence, explore simple models and carry out investigations to develop simple explanations.

Science capabilities:

  • Gather and interpret data
  • Use evidence
  • Interpret representations
  • Engage with science

Level 1-4 Social science

  • Understand how people make decisions about access to and use of resources
  • Understand how formal and informal groups make decisions that influence communities

Level 1-4 Mathematics and statistics

  • Statistical Investigation: Conduct investigations using the statistical enquiry cycle: gathering, sorting, and displaying multivariate category and whole-number data and simple time-series data to answer questions.
  • Identifying patterns and trends in context within and between data sets

Feedback

We would love to get your feedback about this resource. To be involved in a short survey, fill in the online form and we will be in touch.

Your feedback helps us to improve our resources, and ensure that they are useful to you and your students.

Contact

If you have questions about these resources email conservED@doc.govt.nz.


Viewing files on this page

If you can't view these files contact us to request another format. About our files.


Land deed

Classroom activity | Levels: 4-5: This activity asks students to imagine they have the deed to their very own forest and their mission is to encourage native wildlife to the area.


Small area of forest on farmland

Learning outcomes

Students will communicate an understanding of ecosystems, biodiversity and sustainability.

Curriculum links

Science: Living world

Level 3 and 4

Ecology: Explain how living things are suited to their particular habitat and how they respond to environmental changes, both natural and human induced.

Social sciences

Level 3 and 4
  • Understand that people view and use places differently.
  • Understand how exploration and innovation create opportunities and challenges for people, places and environments.

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Forests and green spaces
  • Native plants
  • Pests and threats

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science

Activity instructions

Download the Land deed activity (PDF, 128K)

You have inherited the deed to one square kilometre of land. Your mission is to create your very own forest here to encourage native wildlife, eg birds, reptiles, fish and insects to this area.

Think about things like:

  • what a forest needs
  • the trees you will plant
  • what landforms will be there etc.

Questions to discuss:

  • How do the terms ecosystem and biodiversity relate to your forest?
  • Think of some ways to ensure your forest stays this way.
  • Are there any areas near your school/house like this? Why/why not?
  • What could you and your school/community do to help keep more forest areas from being damaged and destroyed?

Level 3 & 4

·         Understand that people view and use places differently

Understand how exploration and innovation create opportunities and challenges for people, places and environments. 

Let's be a tree

Classroom activity | Early childhood: A dramatic experiential game to feel the life in a tree.

Activity instructions

1. Let's be a tree! 

All stand up strong like the trunk of a tree. An adult blows on the trees like Tawhirimatea ("woooooooo").

Do the trees blow down? No! The roots are holding them in the ground.

2. Let's be roots! 

All lie down in a circle. Root hold the tree in the ground and also suck up water. Roots suck! ("Sluuuuurrrrp").

How does the water get up the trunk? Water pipes carry water in a tree.

3. Let's be water pipes! 

All stand up and throw arms in the air as the water travels up the pipes "weeeeeee".

What do trees eat? They make their own food in their leaves and it travels down the tree in food pipes.

4. Let's be food pipes! 

All bend down and touch the ground carrying the food from the leaves down the tree. In a deep voice say "woooooo".

5. Let's be a tree again! 

Start from the trunk and repeat all actions.

Activity developed by Davina Hunt, DOC.

Learning levels

  • Early childhood

Topics

  • Forests and green spaces

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • The arts

Observing a royal albatross/toroa

Classroom activity | Levels: 1-4: Use these to support student viewing the albatross 'Royal cam'.

Download the resource

Observing a royal albatross/toroa (PDF, 634K)

About the activities

Activity 1: Learning observation skills using the DOC 'Royal cam' 

Learning intentions:

  • Students are learning to make observations and inferences to describe royal albatross features.

Activity 2: Learning about the life cycle of the royal albatross/toroa using royal cam live footage

Learning intentions:

  • Students are learning to make observations and inferences about the life cycle of the royal albatross.

Curriculum links

Science

  • Nature of science: Investigating in science – ask questions, find evidence, explore simple models and carry out investigations to develop simple explanations.
  • Living world: Ecology – recognise that living things are suited to their particular habitats.
  • Living world: Life processes – recognise that there are life processes common to all living things and that these occur in different ways .

Science capabilities

  • Gather and interpret data.
  • Interpret representations.
  • Engage with science.

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Marine and Coastal

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science

Viewing files on this page

If you can't view these files contact us to request another format. About our files.


Preservation versus use

Classroom activity | Levels: 2-4: This activity introduces students to various ways people view and use our natural environments differently, and how people make decisions about access to and use of resources.


Tramper looking at Mount Ruapehu, Tongariro National Park

Learning outcomes

  • Students will participate in an activity to understand how people view and use places differently.
  • Students will gain knowledge of how people make decisions about access to and use of resources.

Curriculum links

Science: Living world

Level 3 and 4

Ecology: Explain how living things are suited to their particular habitat and how they respond to environmental changes, both natural and human induced.

Social studies

Level 3 and 4
  • Understand how groups make and implement rules and laws.
  • Understand how people view and use places differently.
  • Understand how people make decisions about access to and use of resources.
  • Understand how exploration and innovation create opportunities and challenges for people, places and environments.

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Forests and green spaces
  • Native plants
  • Pests and threats
  • Alpine
  • Marine and Coastal
  • Estuaries
  • Freshwater
  • Historic places
  • Offshore islands
  • Wetlands

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science
  • Education for sustainability

Activity instructions

Download the Preservation versus use activity (PDF, 175K)

Starter cards

These cards could be used for individuals or groups to start thinking about all the people who have interests in an area. They can be altered and or developed.

Developer

People will pay a lot of money to stay in a place like this. They can enjoy the lovely scenery and wildlife. It might cost me a bit for consents and building but it would be worth it.

Local iwi member

This is where my ancestors lived and some of the land close by is tapu. We want this area to stay as it is. People can visit the area but it should not be overrun by tourists and their rubbish. 

Worker in local community

Development here would be good because there is not much work at the moment so my family would have to move and we are expecting our third baby.

Department of Conservation

This is a very significant conservation area. A lot of work has been done in this area to restore and protect it because of its biodiversity. We do not want to see any more damage here.

Local school student

I don't want to see any development here. We visit this area every year and see native birds and plants. We have also just started some planting. I think it's a beautiful place.

Tramper

My tramping club loves to come here and use this area to walk and explore in. I don't want to see any of the area destroyed but we would like more people visit and have a place to stay.

Eco-tourist

When I go to another country I love seeing places of natural beauty. I don't always have a lot of time so places to stay and things to do are important to me.

Helicopter owner

I would like to see some more people visiting this area. I am the only person here with a helicopter so would get lots of work and be able to find a better place for my family to live.

Road worker

If more people visited this area we might have to build more roads. That would be good for me because there is not much work here so I was going to have to move into the city for work.  

Local council member

We want to look after this area because of the special animals and plants here but we could use the money from visitors to help protect the area and tell visitors why it is so special. 

Elderly person

We moved here to enjoy the natural beauty of this place. If more people visit they will cause more damage and pollution and we will be the ones who have to clean up after them.

Up the Creek

Classroom activity | Levels: 3-4: By focusing on the life cycle of whitebait, this bilingual online resource introduces concepts about biodiversity in freshwater, in a context that is relevant for students.

By focusing on the life cycle of whitebait, this bilingual online resource introduces concepts about biodiversity in waterways in a context that is relevant for students.

Download teaching resource

These teachers' notes provide ideas for class discussions and activities that could be used when students have completed the online journey to extend their understanding of biodiversity.

The activities have been developed for students working at levels 3 and 4.

Up the creek teachers' notes - English (PDF, 139K)

Māori teachers' notes - Te Ara Tohu Pouako (PDF, 139K)

Related: Awesome eels activity sheet

There are two main types of eel living in our rivers, lakes and wetlands. Today there are fewer eels than there used to be, and one species – the longfin eel – is now just as endangered as the little spotted kiwi.

This fun activity sheet teaches kids about eels and fish migration.

Awesome eels activity sheet (PDF, 661K)

About the resource

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Freshwater
  • Native plants
  • Pests and threats

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science
  • Education for sustainablility

Up the creek was developed by the Department of Conservation under the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy.


Viewing files on this page

If you can't view these files contact us to request another format. About our files.


Build a tree

Outdoor activity | Levels: 1-4 : Build a tree is a fun way to demonstrate how a tree functions.

Activity instructions

This activity is suitable for both small and large groups of students (and adults!).

Students are put into smaller groups as the activity progresses and take on a 'part' as listed below. No student should have more than one part.

Part 1: The trunk

2-3 people stand back to back to be the tree trunk – the strength of the tree that holds the branches and leaves upright.

Part 2: The taproots

Students sit on the floor (against the trunk) with their legs facing outwards from the base of the trunk (if you have a large group put students close together, otherwise just use 2-3 and spread them out). The taproots add stability and suck up water that is vital to the trees survival and growth.

Part 3: The lateral roots

Students lie on their backs with their feet against the trunk, growing outwards. They have root hairs (arms and hands) that reach out to suck up water. Students act out this function by waving their arms and hands and making a loud "slurp" noise.

Part 4: The xylem

Students hold hands around the trunk facing inwards. They bring water up the tree from the roots to the tips by squatting with their hands down low, then standing up to bring their hands above their heads. As they do this they make a "wheeeee" noise for the travelling water.

Part 5: The phloem

The last group of students form a circle around the xylem to make the phloem. The phloem carries food from the leaves to different parts around the tree. To act this out students wobble their hands in the air to make food and make a "whooo" noise to emphasise the food being transported around the tree.

Part 6: The bark

The rest of the group forms the bark and fends off those creatures wanting to attack the tree while everybody else continues their actions and noises all at once.

About the resource

Learning outcomes

Students take on the roles of different tree parts and learn how they work.

Curriculum links

Science: Living world
Life processes

Level 1 and 2
Recognise that all living things have certain requirements so they can stay alive.

Level 3 and 4
Recognise that there are life processes common to all living things and that these occur in different ways.

Health and physical education: Movement concepts and motor skills
Movement skills Level 2
Practice movement skills and demonstrate the ability to link them in order to perform movement sequences.

Learning levels

  • Primary

Topics

  • Forests and green spaces

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Health and PE

Create a play area for outdoor exploration

Outdoor activity | Early childhood: Create a new play area in your centre/school grounds, to enable children to find out more about plants and animals in your local natural places.

Learning outcomes

Create a new play area to enable children to find out more about the plant and animal life in your local natural places.

Activity instructions

1. Create a new area of play at your centre/school with the children's help. Emphasise spaces with different textures, sights, sounds, smells. What activities did they enjoy?

2. Discuss opportunities to plant a sensory garden with plants to look at, hear, feel, smell and taste! For example:

  • Feel: smooth (flax), spiky (matagouri, spaniard), soft (toi toi), fluffy (Marlborough rock daisy).
  • Hear: choose plants that rustle in the wind (toi toi) or attract birds that will sing (tui and koromako/bellbird love flax flowers).
  • Look at: choose plants with symmetry, different shaped leaves or defined structure (hebes have opposite leaves and beautiful flowers, kawakawa has heart shaped leaves, cacti, penwipers have radial symmetry).
  • Taste: grow some vegetables, fruit trees and herbs.
  • Smell: fragrant herbs and native plants (tarata/lemonwood).

3. Create a simple Kaitiakitanga care code for looking after each other, your resources and your environment at school. Display it for all to see and use.

Activity developed by Davina Hunt, DOC.

Learning levels

  • Early childhood

Topics

  • Forests and green spaces

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science
  • Education for sustainability
  • English
  • Maths and statistics
  • The arts
  • Geography
  • Health and PE
  • Technology

Forest structure

Outdoor activity | Levels: 1-3: This outdoor activity encourages students think about the forest structure by comparing it to a house.

Learning outcomes

  • Students will gain knowledge of the structure of a forest.
  • Students will identify the component parts that form the structure of a forest and learn the related terminology for each part of the structure.

Curriculum links

Science: Nature of science

Level 1 and 2

Investigating in science: Extend their experiences and personal explanations of the natural world through exploration, play, asking questions and discussing simple models.

Communicating in science: Build their language and develop their understandings of many ways the natural world can be represented.

Science: Living world

Level 1 and 2

Ecology: Recognise that living things are suited to their particular habitat.

Learning levels

  • Early childhood education
  • Primary

Topics

  • Forests and green spaces

Activity instructions

Download the Forest structure activity (PDF, 128K)

Look at the forest you are in now. Does it look a little bit like a house? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Draw this 'house' that you are in and try to use the terms in the glossary below.

  • Canopy: the top layer of a forest
  • Epiphytes and creepers: these grow on the trees
  • Leaf litter: dead leaves, fallen branches
  • Forest floor: the ground part of the forest
  • Trunks of trees: These are the solid wood, tube-like parts of the trees
  • Mid-layer: the plants growing under the canopy layer
  • Roots: These are what trees and plants use to get water and nutrients from the soil up into their shoots and leaves
  • Can you see any windows?
  • What else can you see? 

Introducing biodiversity

Outdoor activity | Early childhood: Fun activities to introduce children to the concept of biodiversity (variety in nature).

Activity 1: Worm's World

Lie down and cover yourselves with leaves and sticks, leaving faces exposed. Try to stay still and quiet while imagining yourself as a bug.

  • What would you be doing today?
  • Can you feel what the bugs in the ground are doing today?

Activity 2: Bird's eye in the sky

Lie on your backs outside and look up at the sky.

  • Can you imagine flying through the sky? What would it feel like?
  • What would the ground look like?
  • Which senses would you use to find your way around?

Activity 3: Web of Life

An experiential game highlighting the essential interdependence of living things.

Activity instructions

  1. Form a circle around a tree and ask who would like to be a tree. Give this person the end of a ball of string to hold then ask what animal might live in the tree?
  2. Unwind the string to the animal (eg bird), then ask what could the bird need to survive? Continue this way until you have everyone playing the part of leaves, caterpillars, soil, worms, water etc.
  3. Show how you are all connected by explaining that if one element was removed the whole web would collapse – tug on one string and everyone who feels a pull then pulls until the web collapses.

Activities 1 and 2 developed by Davina Hunt, DOC. Activity 3 adapted from The Enviroschools Kit.

Learning levels

  • Early childhood

Topics

  • Forests and green spaces

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science
  • The arts

Possum picnic activity

Outdoor activity | Levels: 2-4: This activity is designed to introduce and re-enforce ideas about the impact of animal pests. It could also be used for plant pests, and to show the relationships between living things in a community.


Possum

This activity is designed to introduce and re-enforce ideas about the impact of introduced animal species, but could also be used for introduced plant species and to show the relationships between living things in a community.

Learning outcomes

  • Students will gain knowledge of the impact of introduced animal species on our native bush.
  • Students will investigate plant species and their relationships between living things in a community.

Curriculum links

Science: Living world

Level 1 and 2

Life processes: Recognise that all living things have certain requirements so they can stay alive.

Ecology: Recognise that living things are suited to their particular habitat.

Level 3 and 4

Ecology: Explain how living things are suited to their particular habitat and how they respond to environmental changes, both natural and human induced.

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Forests and green spaces
  • Pests and threats

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Health and PE

Activity instructions

Equipment

  • Playing field/tennis court/gym
  • 4 cones (boundary markers)
  • 10+ ice cream container lids
  • 2+ sponge balls
  • 2 Processing cards

Activity Part 1:

Brainstorm introduced species in New Zealand with students – what are they, characteristics, different impacts they have, major problems etc. Explain that you will be running an activity that looks at these issues.

Define the playing area using the cones (1/2 a netball court for approx 20 students).

All students are trees (they can choose a native if they want to, a good way to test their knowledge of native trees). Trees are slow growing so can only walk.

Choose one student to be a possum. Possums chase and tag the trees. If they tag a tree the tree also becomes a possum. Possums must link arms/hold hands and chase other trees together.

Run the activity for 5-10mins until all the trees have become possums.

At the end of the game find out how many trees and possums are left.

Processing:

What happened to possum numbers during the activity?

What happened to tree numbers? Why?

What things could we do reduce the numbers of trees being caught?

  • Introduce hunters

Activity Part 2:

Everyone in the class is a tree, except for one who is a possum and now also one who is a hunter.

The hunter uses the sponge balls to 'shoot' the possums.

If a possum is hit, it breaks from the chain and becomes a tree again.

The hunter then retrieves the ball and does one more lap before 'shooting' again.

Run the activity for 5-10 minutes. Find out how many trees and possums are left.

Processing:

What happened to possum numbers during the activity?

What happened to tree numbers? Why?

How did the hunter feel?

Why did the hunter have to do a lap before shooting?

  • Tracking down prey again.

What other things should we consider?

  • Possum numbers, hunter numbers, tree numbers, area size, hunter technique

Activity Part 3:

Depending on student feedback, the activity could be run by varying different factors. For example:

  1. Using a larger area:
    What happened to possum numbers?
    How hard was it for possums to get food?
    Why was it harder?
    - Resource distribution.
    How was it different for the hunter? Why?
  2. Introduce more hunters:
    What happened to possum numbers?
    How hard was it for hunters?
    What did the hunters have to do to kill possums effectively?
    - Co-operative strategies.
  3. What other possum control techniques are there?
    - Poisoning, trapping.
  4. Introduce poison:
    Introduce ice cream container lids as the poison bait stations. Hunters can drop this in the playing area. If a possum steps over it they die and become a tree. The hunter can collect poison and redistribute it but only by dropping.
  5. Introduce two possum populations:
    What happened to possum numbers?
    How hard was it for the hunters?
    Did possums or hunters have to alter their strategies? Why/why not?
Processing:

What strategies did possums and hunters develop for success?

  • Co operative and individual.
  • Identifying and avoiding threats (poison, hunter)
  • Catching trees
  • Ball retrieval
  • Herding possums to kill

Why are possums so successful at this activity in real life?

  • Possums are well adapted for browsing on a range of plants; have no natural predators; and are good breeders.

Why are possums so harmful to native New Zealand species?

  • Because they eat the best new plant growth (shoots, tips); seriously damage native forests – in some areas they have eaten whole canopies of rata, tötara, tïtoki, köwhai and kohekohe; they compete with native birds for habitat and for food such as insects and berries; they also disturb nesting birds, eat their eggs and chicks and may impact on native land snails; possums spread bovine tuberculosis to cattle and deer – a problem for farmers; they are a nuisance in home suburban gardens.

Are there any other introduced pests that pose a similar problem?

  • Many – plant (broom, wilding pines, old man's beard) and animal (cat, rat, ferret, weasel, stoat)

Are there any ways that you and I contribute to this problem?

  • Yes – planting problem exotic species in our gardens, not controlling our pets etc.

Is there anything we can do to reduce this problem?

  • Yes – find out about problem exotic plants, don't buy them in the future and remove them from our gardens; plant local native plants in our gardens;, help re-plant other neighbourhood areas with natives; put a bell on our cats, keep them indoors at night; take our dogs only to public areas where they are allowed; keep our dogs on a leash when required; minimise resource use in general to reduce habitat destruction etc.

Possum Picnic

Processing Questions:

  1. What did you learn about the environment from this activity?
  2. What other introduced species do you know of in New Zealand?
  3. Where did these species come from and why?
  4. What can we do to prevent these things happening again?

Credit

This activity was created by Barry Law and Bert McConnell of the Christchurch College of Education.

Sensing nature activity

Outdoor activity | Early childhood: Get kids outdoors and exploring their environment using their five senses.

Learning outcomes

  • Go outdoors and use your five senses to experience familiar surroundings in a new way.
  • Make observations and find out more about a local natural place.

Activity instructions

Touch: Wash your hands in as many different textures as possible, eg grass, sand, mud, bark chips, leaf litter. Finish by washing in a bucket of water.

Hearing: Sit quietly and count on your fingers the different sounds you hear. Use one hand to count sounds made by people and the other nature sounds.

Sight: Make rainbow chips from broken crockery, tiles or painted wood and try to find things that match these colours of the rainbow.

Taste: Is anything in your playground edible? Is anything poisonous and should not be eaten? What would the children like to plant or cook so they can taste it?

Smell: Discuss how dogs have excellent smell and on hands and knees take a sniff trip around your playground. Make up a care code for plants in your grounds then encourage children to mix up smelly potions from found materials, sniff, describe and name their creations.

Activity developed by Davina Hunt, DOC.

Learning levels

  • Early childhood

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Forests and green spaces
  • Native plants
  • Pests and threats
  • Alpine
  • Marine and Coastal
  • Estuaries
  • Freshwater
  • Historic places
  • Offshore islands
  • Wetlands

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science
  • Education for sustainability
  • English
  • Maths and statistics
  • The Arts
  • Geography
  • Health and PE
  • Technology

Seabirds factsheets

Factsheets | Levels: 2-4: Explore the lives of seabirds and investigate the impact humans have on the ecology of seabirds, and the role seabirds play in their environment.

These Seabird Solutions Trust factsheets offer students an opportunity to explore the lives of seabirds. There are also lesson plans for teachers.

Students will investigate the impact humans have on the ecology of seabirds, and the role seabirds play in their environment.

Download the resource

Seabirds - lesson plans (PDF, 137K) 
Lesson plan ideas for the factsheet series.

Factsheets (PDF, 1,398K) 

Or view individual factsheets:

Summary of factsheets and lesson plans

The Southern Seabird Solutions Trust factsheets offer students an opportunity to explore the lives of seabirds.

The lesson plans were created to assist teachers in helping students investigate and learn about seabirds, the important role seabirds play in their environment, and what impacts humans have on their ecology.

Learning outcomes

Primary:

  • Students will investigate the impact humans have on the ecology of seabirds.
  • Students will investigate the role seabirds play in their environment.
  • Students will understand how people view and use places differently

Secondary:

  • Students will investigate sea bird adaptations
  • Students will research sea bird life processes and ecology

Links to curriculum 

Primary:

  • Science: Planet earth and beyond
  • Living world
  • Nature of science: Understanding about science, Participating and contributing
  • Social sciences: Place and environment, The economic world

Secondary:

  • Science: Living world: Ecology, Life processes
  • Social sciences: Place and environment (Māori)

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Marine and coastal

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science

Publication information

This series of factsheets and lesson plans were created for Southern Seabird Solutions Trust. The Department of Conservation's Marine Conservation Unit funded this environmental education project.

Factsheets by Shelly Farr Biswell 
Lesson plans by Ken Hodson
Design by Lisa Paton of Morphological Design
Masthead photo courtesy of Southern Seabird Solutions Fishers Photograph Competition

Southern Seabird Solutions project steering committee:  Alan Riwaka, Sarah Crysell, Jo Garty, Wendy Barry, Stephanie Rowe and Danica Devery-Smith.

Various people have reviewed sections or complete drafts of these factsheets and have provided helpful comments.  These people include Stephen Bragg (DOC), Peter de Lange (DOC), Dave Kellian (Southern Seabird Solutions), Anuru Luke (DOC), Colin Miskelly (DOC), Janice Molloy (Southern Seabird Solutions), Lyndon Perriman (DOC), Paul Sagar (NIWA), Graeme Taylor (DOC) and Richard Wells (Clement and Associates Limited).

Others, including Peter McClelland (DOC) and Steve Cranwell (DOC), have shared useful information about specific species for these fact sheets.


Viewing files on this page

If you can't view these files contact us to request another format. About our files.


Contact

Email: southernseabirds@doc.govt.nz


Related links

Blue duck/whio fun facts posters

Poster | All levels: These posters has fun facts about whio/blue duck, and why they are important.


Whio surfing the rapids poster

Download the posters

A3 web quality posters

A2 print quality posters

Get high resolution files from our whio FTP directory.

Note: This link is to our FTP site. If asked, use public for both username and password. Get more FTP help.

Text of posters

Meet the whio

  • Whio are one of our rarest birds, only found in New Zealand and on the $10 note.
  • Amazing adaptations see it survive in environments others ducks wouldn't shake a feather at – fast flowing rivers
  • Found mainly in Te Urewera, Central North Island, Fiordland, the West Coast and northern South Island.
  • What's unique about the whio?
    • Camouflage - perfectly camouflaged. Blue/grey in colour gives them their name Blue Duck. The colour helps them blend into their environment.
    • Designer lips – whio bill designed like no other - fleshy lip on the end of their bill protects it when they forage
    • Navigation – large webbed feet for swimming in the rapids. Even newly hatched ducklings can negotiate the biggest white water.
    • Eyes Forward – distinctive yellow eyes forward facing like human to see what's happening ahead
    • Size – males weigh about 1000 – 1300 grams and females are slightly lighter at 800 – 1000 grams.
    • Call & character – males make the distinctive 'fee-o, fee-o' call while female make a rattly growling noise.

Whio surfing the rapids

  • Whio are only found in New Zealand and they are on the $10 note.
  • A fleshy lip on the end of their bill protects it when they forage for aquatic insects among the rocks.
  • They are perfectly camouflaged. Blue/grey in colour, they look just like a rock!
  • Whio live in one of the most challenging environments in the world – fast flowing rivers.
  • Whio are white-water specialists. They have big webbed feet for swimming in the rapids. Even day-old chicks can negotiate the biggest white water.
  • They need clean water so if you see whio you know the river is healthy.

They can't live in any old waterway – they need fast-flowing high quality water, plants along the bank and lots of underwater insects. Find out more at whioforever.co.nz.

Get to know the whio

  • White-water duck: Whio are one of only four duck species in the world who live all year round on fast-flowing rivers.
  • Whio families: When it comes to nesting, log jams, caves and dense vegetation are where whio make their nests. The female whio incubates the egg for about 35 days while her, partner stands guard.
  • Indicator species: Whio are an 'indicator species', only living on clean, fast-running streams and rivers. Where you find whio, you'll find a clean waterway.
  • Whio patrol: Whio fly up and down the stream at low levels like fighter jets protecting their borders early in the morning or late in the evening.
  • Territorial (whio fisticuffs): Whio are aggressive defenders of their patch, which can be a stretch of river up to 3 km long. Breeding pairs will chase off or fight other ducks.
  • Whio food: Whio feed on the aquatic insect larvae found on the rocks in their river.
  • Whio ducklings begin navigating rapids as soon as they hatch.

Giving the whio a fighting chance

With whio numbers around 2,500, the whio is officially vulnerable.

Generous Genesis Energy

Genesis Energy and the Department of Conservation have partnered together in a five year programme to secure the future of this threatened native bird. Operating under the name of Whio Forever, this partnership is implementing a national recovery plan to protect whio and promote whio conservation and awareness.

Whio Forever tools

Whio Forever workers use their own special tools to help secure the whio's future.

  • Traps: The Whio Forever focus is on trapping predators and lowering pest numbers in areas of healthy fast flowing rivers. Predator traps are a vital tool for the future of whio.
  • Dogs: Conservation Dogs are specially trained for tracking and finding different native birds, including whio in the wild. They can sniff out whio from 1km away, making it easier to find and monitor them.
  • Bands: It's important to monitor and keep track of whio. At the security sites they are banded or micro-chipped so whio rangers can identify each bird and track their progress.
  • Transmitters: Many female whio have been fitted with radio-transmitters. During the breeding season, Whio Forever workers use aerials to pick up birds' signals and find their nesting sites.
  • WHIONE – Whio Nest Egg: The WHIONE (Whio Nest Egg) programme involves removing whio eggs from the wild nests early in the breeding season to allow wild pairs to re-nest and raise their ducklings. The eggs collected through WHIONE are taken to captive rearing facilities where they are incubated, hatched and reared to a survivable weight.

Under threat – whio foes

The greatest threat to whio survival comes from introduced animals: stoats, ferrets, and feral cats.

  • Predators: Who would have thought weka, cats, and dogs could be bad guys? Like stoats and ferrets, weka, and feral cats have been known to eat whio eggs, as have falcon, harriers, and other birds.
  • People: Habitat loss, through changing land and water use, has affected whio. Urbanisation, deforestation, agriculture and river diversion have all adversely affected waterway routes where whio live.
  • Weather: Even isolated from predators, nature itself can have an impact on whio numbers; flooding events can wash away nests and ducklings.
  • The moult: Between February and May, whio moult. This loss of plumage is a vulnerable time for whio as they are grounded. 

Stoats are the major predators, but even nature can be unfriendly; flooded rivers destroy nests and drown vulnerable ducklings.

The whio year

  • April–July: Time for romance. Whio start looking for a mate; find their match and settle down.
  • August: Time to find a piece of paradise, build a nest and breed.
  • September: Female whio sit on their eggs for around 35 days while their mate stands guard.
  • October: Excitement – the ducklings are hatching.
  • Nov–Dec: The whio family hang out for about 80 days from birth to fledgling when their young whio start to find their wings.
  • January: Teenage whio fledge and leave the nest. Adult whio are now vulnerable as they start to moult.
  • February: Time to release WHIONE (captive breed) fledglings back into the wild. 
  • March: Whio Awareness Month. Time to let people know about whio – lots of whio activity including Whio Family Fun days at Auckland Zoo.

Finding whio

This map shows where there are whio security sites, captive whio, rearing facilities, and whio recovery sites.

Spot the whio

This poster shows whio well-camouflaged within their natural habitat.

About the resource

Learning levels

  • Early childhood
  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Freshwater

Curriculum learning areas

  • The arts
  • Education for sustainability
  • English
  • Geography
  • Health and physical education
  • Mathematics and statistics
  • Science
  • Social sciences
  • Technology

Contact

Robyn Orchard
Advisor Communications, Whio Forever

 

Taupo Office
Phone:   +64 7 376 0072
Fax:   +64 7 378 0258
Email:   taupo@doc.govt.nz
Address:   37 Motutaiko Street
Taupo 3330
Postal Address:   PO Box 528
Taupo 3351
 

Fabulous facts about Auckland's wildlife

Poster | All levels: A series of posters to support learning about Auckland's unique animal life, and to encourage outdoor exploration.

Native birds

The native birds poster features facts about kiwi, tūī, tīeke/saddleback, takahē, kōkako, bellbird, hihi/stitchbirds and kererū/New Zealand wood pigeon.

Download the native land birds A2 poster (PDF, 5,240K)

Find native birds in Auckland

Some places where these native birds can be found:

  • Tiritiri Matangi (kiwi, tūī, tīeke, takahē, kōkako, bellbird, hihi, kererū)
  • Motutapu Island (kiwi, tūī, kererū, tīeke, takahe, bellbird)
  • Motuihe Island (kiwi, tūī, kererū, tīeke, bellbird)
  • Motuora Island (kiwi)
  • Waitakere Ranges (tūī, kererū)
  • Ark in the Park/Cascades area of the Waitakere Ranges (kōkako, tūī, kererū)
  • Hunua Ranges (tūī, kererū, kōkako)
    Kokako are concentrated in a particular part of the Hunua Ranges, along the Kohukohunui Track. They will hopefully become more widespread, as intensive pest control is being carried out in this area.

Note: Kiwi are only active at night, and often difficult to spot, but there are opportunities to camp overnight at some of these locations. 

Shore and sea birds

The shore and sea birds poster features facts about red-billed gulls/tarāpunga, black-billed gulls/tarāpuka, tūturiwhatu/dotterel, tara iti/fairy tern, kororā/little penguin, tākapu/gannets, tōrea/oystercatchers and tāiko/black petrel.

Download the shore and sea birds A2 poster (PDF, 5,360K)

Find shore and sea birds in Auckland

Some places where these shore and sea birds can be found:

  • Aotea/Great Barrier Island (black petrel)
  • Tiritiri Matangi Island (a good place to view penguins in their nest boxes, along the foreshore from the wharf)
  • Less disturbed beaches, eg Whakanewha Regional Park on Waiheke Island, or the beaches of Motutapu Island (dotterel and oystercatchers)
  • Hauraki Gulf (gannets are often seen while onboard a passenger ferry or private boat)
  • Eastern beaches (gulls – they breed in the Hauraki Gulf, where they are less disturbed)

Marine life

The marine species poster features facts about snapper/tāmure, common dolphin/aihe, great white sharks/mangō ururoa, fur seal/kekeno, orca/maki, sea urchins/kina, sea lion/whakahao and marine life in the Hauraki Gulf.

Download the marine species A2 poster (PDF, 7,423K)

Find marine life in Auckland

All the marine species on the poster can be found in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, however seeing them might be a bit tricky.

A trip to any marine reserve is a great opportunity to study lots of other kinds of marine life in its natural habitat.

View other marine reserve resources:

Animal pests

This [not so] fabulous facts poster features information about Australian rainbow lorikeets, hedgehogs, stoats, rats, wasps, Australian rainbow skinks, argentine ants and possums.

Download the animal pests A2 poster (PDF, 9,556K)

These pests are found everywhere on the mainland where pest control is not being carried out.

Visit our pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf to experience wildlife the way it was meant to be, before the arrival of humans and their accompanying pests to New Zealand.

View other animal pest resources and activities:

About this resource

Learning levels

  • Early childhood
  • Primary
  • Secondary

Topics

  • Marine and coastal
  • Offshore islands 
  • Forest and green spaces
  • Native animals
  • Native plants
  • Pests and threats

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science
  • Education for sustainability
  • English
  • Maths and statistics
  • The Arts
  • Geography
  • Health and PE
  • Technology

Viewing files on this page

If you can't view these files contact us to request another format. About our files.


Wetland life

Poster: The wetland life poster features native species living in a lowland swamp – birds, fish, invertebrates and plants.

 

The poster features native species living in a lowland swamp – birds, fish, invertebrates and plants.

Download the Wetland Life poster in two sizes:

There is also a sheet of stickers of 10 species from the poster, ideal as an educational tool, especially for teachers.

You can order the stickers or an A2 hardcopy of the poster from jsimmons@doc.govt.nz.

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary

Topics

  • Wetlands
  • Native animals
  • Native plants

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science

Birdbrain CD by Fatcat & Fishface

Music | Levels: 1-3: This CD features 13 original songs in honour of our unique native birds.

About Fatcat & Fishface

Fatcat & Fishface's cheeky style and offbeat humour have been compared to Spike Milligan, Roald Dahl and Flight of the Conchords.

They have won awards in the USA (Children's Music Web Awards) and New Zealand (NZ Music Awards). 

Their animated music clips debuted at the NZ International Film Festival (Animation for Kids) and are played on TV3 and TVNZ afternoon children's programming.  

Buy the CD

You can buy the CD and music files through the Fatcat and Fishface website.

Nightclub music clip 

Published by: Fatcat and Fishface

LEARNZ virtual field trips

Online videos: LEARNZ virtual field trips are an engaging, curriculum linked, opportunity for students to experience some of New Zealand's special places.

2017 virtual field trips

Marine Mammals: are we loving terehu too much?


Bottlenose dolphins

Have you ever seen marine mammals in their natural habitat? If so, it is easy to see why it is so tempting to try and get a closer look! But is our curiosity interrupting the natural behaviour and development of marine mammals?

On this field trip, you will join scientists, DOC staff, tourist operators, and other members of the public as you explore the world-famous Bay of Islands/Pewhirirangi. You will find out about the threats being placed on local populations of bottlenose dolphins/terehu and how we can protect and keep them in the Bay.

Past virtual field trips

You can access any completed virtual field trip through the LEARNZ archive. The archive holds a copy of all of the resources, recordings and videos from the trip.

Just like a trip held in real time you can choose to enrol your class for the whole trip, or build your own teaching programme using the components available.

Kererū Count – kaitiakitanga in action (2016)


Kererū

Did you know that kererū (native wood pigeon) are essential to New Zealand's native biodiversity?

They are the only birds that can disperse big seeds of many of our native trees like miro, tawa, taraire, and nīkau which enables them to survive. So kererū have an important role to play in sustainability.

More about the Kererū Count field trip.

Other trips relating to conservation and biodiversity include:

View the full programme of field trips on the LEARNZ website.

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Forests and green spaces
  • Native plants
  • Pests and threats
  • Alpine
  • Marine and Coastal
  • Estuaries
  • Freshwater
  • Historic places
  • Offshore islands
  • Wetlands

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science
  • Education for sustainability
  • English
  • Maths and statistics
  • The Arts
  • Geography
  • Health and PE
  • Technology

A bird in the hand

Online videos | Unit | Levels: 3-4: Explore the features of some of our most endangered birds and the recovery programmes, techniques and technology that is helping them survive.

This resource uses eight Meet the Locals videos where the focus is on the recovery and protection of five special birds.

  • Takahē
  • Kākāpō
  • Chatham Island black robin
  • Kōkako
  • Northern royal albatross

It links to other resources and learning tools which provide practical activities to develop your students' knowledge and skills. It can be use for both primary and secondary students.

About the resource

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Native animals

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science (Living world)
  • Social science
  • Technology
  • Education for sustainablility

Achievement objectives

  • Students will explain how living things are suited to their particular habitat and how they respond to environmental changes both natural and human induced.
  • Students will understand how people participate individually and collectively in response to community challenges.
  • Students will explain the nature of an intended outcome explaining how it addresses the need or opportunity.

Learning outcomes

  • Students will explain how the adaptive features of some of New Zealand's most endangered birds are now contributing to their downfall.
  • Students will complete a chart to show what knowledge, skills and actions a species recovery programme needs and the reasons behind such actions.
  • Students will use story board techniques to plan a short video that provides a useful snapshot of a takahe recovery programme.
  • Students will choose the best ongoing recovery plan for a critically endangered bird from a list of options by considering the consequences of each option.
  • Students will design a technological system that could help solve a problem that is putting endangered birds at risk.

View the resource

DOC and TVNZ collaborated to create this "NZ Biology: A bird in the hand" resource which was written by DOC ranger Mike Tapp.

View the resource on the TVNZ website

Starter 1

Introduced predators, hunting and fire have decimated New Zealand's bird populations.

Share the story below with your students without telling them the name of the bird. It's the huia.

Sir Walter Buller, who had been brought up in New Zealand and became extremely knowledgeable about New Zealand birds, wrote this story in 1867 during a search for a very special bird:

We heard her soft flute-note in the wooded gully far beneath us. One of our native companions at once imitated the call, and in a few seconds a pair of beautiful birds, male and female, appeared in the branches near us. They remained gazing at us only for a few instants, and then started off up the hill, moving by a succession of hops, often along the ground, the male generally leading. Waiting until he could get both birds in a line, my friend at length pulled trigger.

Decide in class why the birds were shot.

Students can then use the clues to work out which bird it is. When they think they have the right bird, check the TerraNature website.

Discuss likely reasons for other New Zealand birds becoming extinct and read some of the examples on the TerraNature website again to find out more about those extinct birds.

Starter 2

The takahē


Hand held takehē chick

1. Watch the Meet the Locals episode Takahē champion and see what Sophie's doing to help save a species that could have joined New Zealand's extinct bird list. It shows how one young person met a challenge and made a difference.

After the video, list these things in class:

  • The need Sophie recognised
  • The mission she set herself that she believed would help the takehē
  • The questions she probably needed answered as she began her investigation
  • Her solution which in the end helped the takehē

2. In groups have the students compile a 'high five' bird list - five of New Zealand's native birds that they think may have needed human intervention to help ensure their survival.

Add the challenge of listing birds from different habitats- e.g. the forest, coast, wetlands, fast flowing rivers, tussock country, high country.

Share the lists as a class, compile a master list and circle the five birds we'll focus on through the videos - the takehē, kōkako, kākāpō, black robin and Royal Northern albatross.

Explain that all these birds have suffered, then benefited by human intervention. The same groups can choose one of the birds and from what they already know, they should list:

  • A need
  • A mission that could be done that might possibly help the bird
  • Some questions that would have to be answered first- the investigation
  • A likely solution

Collect these ideas for later use. After seeing the videos the students' ideas may change.

3. Takehē were thought to be extinct until rediscovered in 1948. They're ground nesting birds so like the kiwi that lose 90% of their chicks in the wild, takehē chicks are also easy prey for stoats.

Before you watch the Meet the Locals episode Takahē release, touch on these things in class:

  • What are the different habitats for New Zealand's native birds?
  • What special adaptations do our birds have for:
    • Flight? (Think of fantails, hawks and albatross)
    • Swimming and diving? (e.g. ducks' oily and waterproof cover and penguin feathers which become a sleek fine fur)
    • Hunting and feeding? (e.g. sharp talons, curved beaks to tear flesh or short sharp beaks for feeding on seeds)
  • What physical adaptations do the flightless birds like takehē have? (Study this image on the NZ bird website)
  • Have takehē adapted in any way to the presence of new enemies like stoats?
  • Takehē were thought to be extinct but were rediscovered in 1948. What might be the reason behind a small population surviving?

4. Watch the Meet the Locals episode Takahē release. Get your students to look for three things as they watch:

  • The suitability of the place the takehē chicks grew up in (on Tiritiri Matangi, a predator free island. Watch the Meet the Locals episode Tiritiri Matangi Island)
  • The unique habitat these birds are being introduced into
  • The teacher the chicks needed in their new home

Discuss those questions in class after viewing the video and then decide how important the intervention is for the survival of takehē.

5. The core population of takehē is found in the Murchison Mountains, an area that's seen a summer plague of stoats. The amount of land trapped will increase from 15,000 to 50,000 hectares so this makes this recovery programme a huge operation.

Action for Recovery will help students link the groups, their skills and actions required if an operation like this is to succeed.

Try the activity in groups and then "jigsaw". Get each person in the group to move to a different group to share ideas. Discuss the findings in class.

The kākāpō

6. The Kākāpō Recovery Plan is a joint partnership between DOC and Forest and Bird. The catch cry on their website is:

Over 7 billion people on earth 
Fewer than 160 kākāpō 
Time is critical


Hand fed kākāpō chicks

Share the catch cry with your students and get them to design a home page for a Kākāpō Recovery Plan website. The aim is not for a work of art but content and design that will grab people, inform them and get them involved. Work in small groups sketching the design on a large sheet of paper.

Their home page needs:

  • A headline and attention grabbing subtitle
  • A picture (Show its location and describe the photo you would put there)
  • The page link buttons that clearly show what will be found on the pages
  • The front page feature that shows in a creative way, what people in the field are doing to help

Share the ideas in class.

7. Now introduce the Kākāpō Recovery Plan website.

Students should research one of the bullet pointed aspects below and present an oral report to the class. Together they will build knowledge of kākāpō, the recovery programme and the people that make it work.

From Then and Now

  • Iwi perspective
  • Decline and Turning the tide
  • Codfish Island and Anchor Island

From Meet the Kākāpō

  • Breeding
  • Getting Around and Behaviour
  • Life Cycle
  • From Meet the People

The National Kākāpō team - focus on the skills they have.

From What we do

  • Intensive monitoring
  • Health checks
  • Predator control
  • Supplementary feeding
  • Artificial Incubation and hand feeding
  • Research 1: Kākāpō genetic studies (tricky!)
  • Research 2: Supplementary feeding
  • Technology 1: The nest kit
  • Technology 2: The snark

8. Now that your students are experts, get small groups to design a storyboard for a 4 minute Meet the Locals video at Codfish Island. Which bits would they include? Which bits would they leave out if they wanted to provide the best possible snapshot of the kākāpō recovery programme?

Download this movie planner (PDF, 29K) from the TVNZ website to help you get started.

9. Now watch the Meet the Locals episode Saving the kākāpō.

The Chatham Islands black robin


Chatham Island black robin fledgling

10. While the kākāpō recovery is amazing, the Chatham Islands Black Robin came even closer to extinction. By 1980 there were only five birds left in the world. Two of these were females and only one produced fertile eggs.

Download the black robin recovery plan (PDF, 141K) and locate the Chathams Island area with the distribution map of the black robin on page 6.

Discuss how the black robins were once found on all the islands.

  • By 1872 when the species was first encountered by European observers it had already disappeared from Chatham Island.
  • For several decades prior to the species dramatic rescue in 1976 the whole of the world's black robin population was on Tapuaenuku (Little Mangere), a tiny cliff bound island in the Chathams.
  • Black Robins are currently on two small islands - Mangere and Rangitira (South East island).

Download Match the threats (PDF, 56K) from the TVNZ website. This activity looks at how numbers got so low with a focus on how the little bird's way of life was so easily threatened by the trimmings of human settlement.

11. Watch the Meet the Locals video Black robin.

Get the students to look for two key things:

  • Why Little Mangere was the only island with black robins by 1970
  • How Wildlife staff managed to build the population from 5 in 1980 to over 250 by 2000

Discuss those two points after watching the video.

12. In groups and on large pieces of paper students can draw a flow chart of the early stages of the black robin recovery plan but share this information too.

  • Members of Forest and Bird helped buy Mangere Island and plant 12,000 trees there so the black robin would have a healthier forest home.
  • At first, Chatham Island warblers were used as foster parents, but they couldn't keep up with the feeding when the chicks hatched. Tomtits made far better foster parents.
  • Unfortunately the young black robins started to think they were tomtits! They sang tomtit songs and didn't pair with other black robins.
  • The young birds were returned to the black robin nest for the last few days of living in the nest& to learn to behave like black robins should!

Watch a Tomtit feeding black robin chicks [no longer available].

13. Download the story of Old Blue (PDF, 79K) from the TVNZ website.

Old Blue is the common ancestor of every black robin alive today, through the eyes of Don Merton, the man who set up the recovery programme for the Chatham Island black robin.

Study the consequences of each of the "remarkable" and "lucky" things that happened. Decide if the Chatham Island black robin would still be around today if any one of these events did not happen.

14. Now watch the Meet the Locals video The man who saved the black robin and meet Don Merton.

Watch a video of Don Merton catching a Chatham Island black robin.

15. By 1999, 254 black robins were alive. What next for the black robin (PDF, 53K) looks at three options for the next stage of the recovery plan. Using choices and proposed actions from DOC's actual recovery plan students consider the options and consequences of actions and choose the option they would follow.

Discuss these words before you start:

  • revegetation (a new forest derived in part from the planting of 120,000 rooted cuttings taken from local stock, is regenerating on Mangere Island)
  • consequences
  • monitoring

Answer: DOC chose option B. Black robins currently live on Rangatira (South East) Island and Mangere Island in the Chatham Islands group. Attempts made to establish another population in a fenced covenant on Pitt Island have failed, possibly due to competition for food with introduced mice.

The kōkako


Attaching a transmitter to a kōkako

16. In Maori mythology it was the kōkako that brought Maui water when he fought the sun. The kōkako filled its wattles with water and brought it to Maui. His thirst quenched, Maui rewarded the kōkako by making its legs long and slender, enabling the bird to bound through the forest with ease in search of food.

Tell the class the story - here's one version of Maui and the sun and then share the part the kōkako played in the story.

Discuss how this adaptation for life in the forest, bounding through the trees rather than flying left the kōkako vulnerable as soon as ship rats arrived. These excellent climbers do more damage to the forest than Norway rats.

17. Now watch the Meet the Locals video Kōkako to find out more about this bird.

Pukaha Mt Bruce has an intensive trapping programme in place. There's a small predator proof fence to protect the takehē chicks but there is not a fence around the whole area. Discuss this in groups and see if the students can come up with the reasons why the Mt Bruce area isn't surrounded by a fence.

Answer: Restoring threatened wildlife to mainland New Zealand can't be done on a large scale by protecting them behind predator proof fences. At Mt Bruce it's been possible to successfully reintroduce species that were once locally extinct.

This is an important conservation education message and New Zealanders are doing this right around the country. Let's look at another example.

18. Nga Whenua Rahui is a government fund that can be used for conservation projects that will protect indigenous ecosystems on Maori land.

Ngapukeariki is one such project - a mainland island managed in partnership with Nga Whenua Rahui and the landowners represented by the Mangaroa/Ohotu Trust.

It's part of the Mangaroa/Ohotu covenant, 60 kilometres east of Opotiki. The local iwi is Te Whanau a Apanui and the total protected area is 1,300ha.

The aim of this project is to restore the area by reducing the numbers of pests and reintroducing species that have disappeared. In 2005, 18 kōkako were released into Ngapukeariki, near Omaio.

Watch the Meet the Locals video Kōkako translocation.

As they watch, ask the class to think about the things that must have been done before the kōkako were released.

Kōkako come home (PDF, 62K) on the TVNZ website shows the students the solutions the Mangaroa/Ohotu Trust found that eventually saw kōkako back in their lands. By listing some possible outcomes or consequences for each solution the students should gain a good understanding of this conservation process.

Toroa - the northern royal albatross


Weighing a northern royal albatross chick

19. Lastly we look at an amazing seabird, the endangered royal northern albatross.

With a wingspan of up to 3.2 metres, the northern royal albatross is one of the world's largest flying birds.

The majority breed on Forty-Fours and Big and Little Sister Islands in the Chatham Islands group. They also breed on Enderby Island in the Auckland Islands and Taiaroa Heads on the Otago Peninsula. The Meet the Locals video examines the work done here.

These seabirds usually pair for life and if successful have chicks every two years. Mated pairs use the same nest site from season to season and they'll usually return to their breeding grounds between mid-October and mid-November. There, a month later, the female lays her single egg.

The chick emerges after 79 days incubation and the young fledges 240 days later from September to October the following year.

The Northern Royal Albatross can live for more than 60 years and they return to their natal colony at four to eight years of age. They don't start breeding however until they're at least nine years old.

Watch the Meet the Locals episode Toroa and take note of two things:

  • The features of the habitat the albatross nest in and
  • The tasks the DOC ranger does to ensure the chicks from this endangered species grow up fit and healthy and ready to fly.

Discuss those two points after the video. The students may have noticed these things:

  • Albatrosses typically nest on the flat summits of small islands so Taiaroa Heads has these features. It means when the chick is ready to fly it gets one chance as it launches itself off the edge.
  • Checking the nesting birds, their eggs and the chicks are the tasks for the DOC rangers. These albatrosses are monitored more closely than any other seabird. The blowflies don't stand a chance and the predator control programme for stoats, rats and cats is probably the oldest in New Zealand.

Design a solution!

  • The royal's nesting area on the headland is a 'hot spot' - a sheltered area where summer ground temperatures can reach 50 degrees celsius. This bird is better suited to subantarctic conditions but they chose this place.
  • In the past though both adults and chicks could die from heat exhaustion but this problem has been solved. Design the solution with a drawing that fully shows how it works.

Answer: There is now a sprinkler system that on hot days sprays water over the nest to cool the bird.

20. Northern royal albatrosses spend most of their lives at sea. The non breeding birds live over and on the sea all their lives so they never touch down on land.

Show a series of albatross photographs so students can list the adaptive features for life at sea. The 13 images on the ARKive website are good ones.

Some interesting features are:

  • Albatrosses' nostrils are located along the sides of their bill instead of on top. This gives them a better sense of smell.
  • They also have a gland that reduces the salt content in the seawater they drink.
  • They have a tendon too that allows them to lock their wings in place while gliding.

Check out dynamic soaring on the Wake Forest University website.

As a class decide how these same features have helped placed this incredible bird on the endangered list.

Now watch the video Save the Albatross on the The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds website.

21. But wait, there's hope! New long line methods used by some fishing boats slash the chances of seabirds being accidentally hooked.

Get your students to sketch some ideas of their own and then share them in class. Look at the BirdLife Australia website for some ideas if you need to provide some handy hints.

22. Return the ideas the students came up with for starter activity 2 - their intervention programmes. Discuss in class whether they would add or change anything. 

Active involvement - An optional extra

23. Green up your backyard.

Check out your school grounds with this worksheet on the TVNZ website: How green is your school's backyard? (PDF, 64K).

  • Then, plan to bring a few more native critters into your school's backyard
  • Just find a backyard space- perhaps around the old incinerator or somewhere!
  • Find out who might be interested if you change this little space
    • What do they think? Work out a way to find out!
  • Decide: Should we do the whole place or begin with a little bit?
    • What needs to go?
    • What need to stay?
    • What do birds and mini beasts need? E.g. food and places to hide!
    • What can we put there that will attract native wildlife?
  • Are there threats like rats and mice?
    • How can we get rid of them?
  • What could the final place look like?
    • Where could we get the things we need?
    • Draw up some plans
    • Show people your ideas
    • Ask for feedback and if you can and begin!

Useful resources

Our own gold coast

Online videos | Unit | Levels: 3-4: Explore the importance of sand dunes and the impact of losing them. Find out about the largest coastal plant protection programme in the southern hemisphere.

This teaching resource explores the importance of sand dunes for the animals and plants that live in and around them. Find out about the impact of introduced species on our coastline and investigate the reasons for their introduction.

The focus is on pīngao or pīkao - the golden sand sedge and exploring the largest coastal plant protection programme in the southern hemisphere at Mason Bay in Stewart Island.

It links to websites and learning tools which provide practical activities to develop your students' knowledge and skills.

About the resource

Learning levels:

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics:

  • Native plants
  • Marine and Coastal

Curriculum learning areas:

  • Science (Living world)
  • Social science
  • Education for sustainability
  • Technology

Achievement objectives:

  • Students will explain how living things are suited to their particular habitat and how they respond to environmental changes both natural and human induced.
  • Students will understand how people participate individually and collectively in response to community challenges.

Learning outcomes:

  • Students will draw a diagram that shows how sand hills are formed.
  • Students will devise a fact box showing why and how a particular sand dune species has adapted to the sand dune environment.
  • Students will construct a filter and use it to explain how a sand dune environment acts as a filter for ground and rain water.
  • Students will use supplied information to compare marram grass to pingao and draw T charts to show the impacts of both.
  • Students will take part in a debate and show they understand why people make decisions that will impact on the environment.   

View the resource

DOC and TVNZ collaborated to create this resource NZ Geography: Our own gold coast which was written by DOC ranger Mike Tapp. 

View the resource on the TVNZ website.

Contents of resource:

What are sand dunes and how are they formed?


Sand dune at Te Paki

1. Show some sand dune photos and ask how they are formed. Here are some sand dune photos on the Nature's Pic website.

  • Provide long strips of paper and in pairs, students can draw their ideas as a diagram.
  • Provide the handy hints contained in What are sand dunes? (PDF, 42K) worksheet on the TVNZ website.
  • Supply another strip of paper for students to modify their ideas on.

2. As a class, decide which examples best show how sand dunes are formed and then enlarge the diagram in mural form across the wall of the classroom.

What lives in and around the dunes?

3. Share this little gem as an introduction to the plants and animals that live among the sand hills and on the beach.

If a sandhopper is picked up and released in the sand dunes, it hops back across the beach towards the sea. If released a kilometre inland, it will still hop back to its beach.

Catch a sandhopper on a Canterbury beach, on the east coast, and release it on a West Coast beach and it will try to do the Coast to Coast! It will hop back towards the east coast.

Sand dunes are home to a number of unique native plant communities, invertebrates, lizards and birds which exist nowhere else. Introduced species and human activity have changed the sand dune environment and have threatened plants like the native pīngao, spiders like the katipo and other insects and birds.

Get your students to research a beach or dune critter below and organise a fact box with a picture and some fascinating sandhopper-like information that shows how that particular species is adapted for the sand dune environment. They can place their fact boxes in the best habitat on the mural.

Invertebrates include:

  • kelp flies and midges
  • the copper butterfly or the notoreas moth
  • wasps and sand-hoppers
  • the sand scarab and tiger beetle
  • the mighty native seashore earwig
  • spiders like the nursery web spider, the jumping spider and the now rare katipo

Lizards include:

  • shore skinks
  • Taranaki gold striped gecko
  • common gecko


Pīngao covered dune

Seabirds include:

  • New Zealand dotterel
  • banded dotterel
  • pipi
  • Caspian tern
  • white fronted tern
  • variable oyster catcher
  • gulls

Plants include:

  • pīngao
  • spinifex
  • sand coprosma
  • sand daphne
  • pimelia

Sand dunes as filters

4. Sand dunes enhance and maintain coastal water quality by acting as filters for rain water and ground water. Investigate how.

As a class discuss how fresh water gets to the sea and the ways it may become polluted along the way. Find out about fresh water on the Ministry for the Environment website.

Give each group a one or two litre plastic bottle, some stones, cotton wool and some sand. Supply snips and a container for mixing up some grubby water and ask them to make something that will clean up the dirty water.

Answer: Cut the top of the bottle off just below the neck. Sit this part upside down in the bottle so it forms a funnel. Add the cotton wool, sand and then stones. Trickle the grubby water into the stones and it should emerge clear.

Relate this information back to the sand dune diagram/mural and decide how that ground water is getting into the dune area and where it is filtered. Decide if the impact of development and pollution can be lessened by coastal dune landscapes and dune wetlands and add to the diagram/mural to show how.

Protecting the land

5. Coastal dunes act as a buffer against eroding wave action and protect the land behind. The dune vegetation also traps wind blown sand and prevents it being blown inland.

The dune environment is dynamic and always changing. It's a natural and healthy part of this ecosystem and helps maintain biodiversity but change is difficult for humans to accept.

To cater for coastal development we've tried to stabilise the dunes with introduced species like marram grass and lupin. It's altered the dynamics of the dunes and upset the coastal ecosystem.

Sandbinders lets the students compare the introduced marram to the endemic pīngao. Using thesandbinders information sheet (PDF, 46K) on the TVNZ website as a guide students can organise this information by generating two T charts. One will show the impact of marram grass and the other the impact of planting pīngao.

e.g. The impact of marram grass

Plus Minus Interesting

Discuss the t charts and then watch the Meet the Locals episode Pīngao to see who's involved and how people can replant to help sand dune ecosystms recover.

Going to war


Infestation of Marram grass at Mason Bay

6. Mason Bay, on the west coast of Stewart Island in Rakiura National Park, has one of New Zealand's largest remaining unmodified dune systems with a 19 kilometre long beach and amazing beauty and wildlife that draws visitors from around the world.

This innovative restoration project, will see marram grass completely removed within twenty years and replaced with the orange swaths of native sand-binding pïngao. It's the biggest dune protection project in the Southern Hemisphere.

Discuss in class why species have been introduced to New Zealand and how they have changed the environment. For example:

  • Possums, brought in for the fur trade are eating our forests;
  • Stoats, brought in to kill the rabbits are killing bird life instead;
  • Gorse, brought in so the yellow flowers would remind settlers of home, grows bigger and better and in more places.

Talk about why these introduced species do so well here. Our trees for example have never needed a defence system. In Australia several species are bitter and the leaves are unpalatable. The possums there, leave them alone. Many of our birds were and are ground dwelling and easy pickings for stoats. Our soil is more fertile and the mild climate makes for ideal weed growing conditions.

Go back in time with the Meet the Locals episode Mason Bay Homestead to try build an understanding of why people changed the land. The farmers of Mason Bay were happy to see marram grass growing on the sandhills but why?

Look at the Going to war at Mason Bay worksheet (PDF, 48K) on the TVNZ website to see the impacts of the planting.

Then have a mini debate between the farmers of the 1930s and a team of scientists. The topic:Planting marram grass will benefit all Stewart Islanders.

Now watch the Meet the Locals episode Dune restoration.

Active involvement

7. Discuss examples of coastline change in your area and decide whether it was once like Mason Bay, or the dune mural on the wall. Contact your local council and see if there are areas that are being restored with new plantings. You may be able to help with a planting day.

Shake, rattle and roll

Online videos | Unit | Levels: 3-4: Explore some of New Zealand's volcanic geology, the consequences from their eruptions and the effect on local biodiversity. This resource also looks at the impacts of eco-tourism.

This geology teaching resource focuses on a slice of New Zealand's volcanic activity, exploring specific volcanoes, the consequences from their eruptions and the effect on local biodiversity. It also looks at the impacts of eco tourism.

It links to websites, videos and learning tools which provide practical activities to develop your students' knowledge and skill.

About the resource

Learning levels:

  • Primary
  • Secondary

Topics:

  • Alpine
  • Native plants
  • Native animals

Learning areas:

  • Science (Earth systems, Living world)
  • Social science 
  • Geography
  • Education for sustainablility

Achievement objectives:

  • Students will develop an understanding that water, air, rocks and soil and life forms make up our planet and recognise that these are also Earth's resources.
  • Students will explain how living things are suited to their particular habitat and how they respond to environmental changes both natural and human induced.  

Learning outcomes:

  • Students will explore the Volcanic Plateau on a map and speculate as to why it's New Zealand's main area of volcanic activity and is so unpredictable.
  • Students will examine the eruption on Mt Tarawera and alter a diagram to show the sequence of volcanic events that led to disaster.
  • Students will find and discuss evidence from the video that shows just how violent the Tarawera eruption was.
  • Students will use a map of the Tarawera area to identify changes in the land since the eruption.
  • Students will research a special feature of the Waimangu Volcanic Valley and then design a "See how the world began" page, for the tourism website.
  • Students will use a video to find out how scientists monitor a volcano and visit a website to find out if plans are in place if a volcano erupts on the mainland.
  • Students will list, rate and assess White Island's volcanic hazards.
  • Students will create an animated powerpoint that illustrates the very special plant succession on Rangitoto Island.
  • Students will show with simple working model, an understanding of lahars and how the fossilised forest was created at Curio Bay.
  • Students will design a pamphlet for the Curio Bay Heritage Centre that shows that the five principles of ecotourism are being followed.

View the resource

DOC and TVNZ collaborated to create this resource 'NZ Geography: Shake, rattle and roll', which was written by DOC ranger Mike Tapp. 

View the resource on the TVNZ website.

Contents of resource:

Starters

1. Use these starters to check student's ideas about volcanoes and how they form:

  • Show some pictures of volcanoes and then ask if all volcanoes are like these ones. See photos of volcanoes.
  • Look at these photos of New Zealand volcanoes and decide whether they are all "still volcanoes" (students sometimes think they have to be currently erupting to be volcanoes).
  • Look at the Lake Taupo and decide if this lake is a volcano. (Lake Taupo is a caldera volcano. The magma chamber emptied rapidly during this eruption and the sides of the volcano collapsed back into it forming a big crater basin. It filled with water to become a lake.)

2. You can check your students' ideas on how volcanoes happen with these two starters on the TVNZ website:

Waimangu Geothermal Area

3. Explore the Volcanic Plateau region.

Speculate as to why it's New Zealand's main area of volcanic activity and so unpredictable. Reasons include:

  • The Pacific tectonic plate is sinking beneath the Australian Plate.
  • At a certain depth its rocks heat and produce volcanic activity. This erupts at the surface through minor steam vents, mud pools and hot springs.
  • The region has erupted in major ways too with volcanic eruptions, collapsing mountains and the formation of lakes.
  • This region of eruption stretches from Whakaari (White Island) in the Bay of Plenty to Mt Ruapehu and is the 'line of fire' and part of the huge 'ring of fire' around the Pacific Ocean.

4. Tourists are drawn to Rotorua's thermal activity today but this area was once home to one of the wonders of the world. People came from far and wide to soak in the thermal hot pools and view the delicately tinted silica of the Pink and White Terraces. View photos of the Pink and White Terraces.

Show students the photos and speculate as to why they are no longer there today.

Investigate the eruption on Mt Tarawera by doing this activity in pairs: eruption on Mt Tarawera worksheet (PDF, 336K) on the TVNZ website. Share the diagrams when complete.

Reinforce how Mt Tarawera was a wet or explosive eruption. The water mixed with magma and turned it into an explosive fluid. The same thing happens when water is poured over incredibly hot oil - like the oil used to deep fry chips.

Check out this oil burning Flickr photo sequence - it's a good chance to touch on fire safety when cooking chips! If water is run into a pot of burning chip oil it will explode up the wall of your kitchen. (These fires are best extinguished with a dry powder extinguisher, or by throwing a damp cloth over the pot.)

5. Watch the Meet the Locals episode Waimangu Valley geothermal area. It's the newest wholly formed geothermal site in the world.

As they view, have the students look and listen for evidence that shows just how violent this eruption was. Discuss this after you view the video. Ideas may include:

  • The eruption split the mountain in two and expanded Lake Rotomahana 20 times;
  • It stripped all vegetation around Lake Rotomahana and Tarawera;
  • Seven craters were formed and thick mud and ash covered hundreds of square kilometres of land. Large cracks crossed the region.

Discuss how volcanoes change the land and ask again what they think happened to The Pink and White Terraces.

(The Terraces turned to dust and fragments and the site of the terraces became a crater over 100 metres deep. Steam erupted for several months but it filled with water within 15 years. This new Lake Rotomahana, was much larger than the old one.)

Use the map of the Devastation caused by the Tarawera eruption to find these changes in the land:

  • The seven craters;
  • The comparison between the old lake and the new;
  • The villages affected;
  • The area covered by mud;
  • The areas most affected by falling scoria;
  • The Waimangu Geothermal Area with the Waimangu Geyser and New Zealand's largest hot spring - Frying Pan Lake. (Look for the chain of craters)

6. Tourists have always come to the Tarawera area. They were back there one day after the eruption! Ask the students why this tourism operation uses the slogan - "How the world began".

Watch the video again and have students watch for and list "beginning of the world" examples like:

  • Unusual geothermal adapted plants such as extreme thermophiles;
  • Inferno crater - the crypto geyser- "a geyser caught in the bottom of a bowl"; 
    Waimangu Geyser;
  • A native forest that's only a 100 years old;
  • Frying Pan Lake;
  • Silica terraces.

Students can then choose and investigate one of these features and bullet point their findings.

They can design a "See how the world began" page, for the tourism website Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Their web page should include an image and the bullet pointed information. 

White Island


Visitors to White Island

7. The next two videos examine White Island, an active volcano. Students can build their knowledge with White Island - What do you know? (PDF, 197K) worksheet on the TVNZ website. Discuss the two questions in pairs and share the ideas in class.

Find out how scientists monitor a live volcano with the Meet the Locals episode Earth science lab.

Focus on the science of volcanology for the first viewing and what Brad Scott tests and looks for on his visits to the island. Mentioned in the video are:

  • Crater lake chemistry - he tests the springs and streams;
  • The scientists use a seismograph and also a barometer for measuring the airways;
  • They take deformation surveys which measure the shape and changes of the ground - to see if it is expanding or contracting;
  • Soil gas surveys and airborne gas surveys are also carried out.

Discuss how the findings can be applied to other volcanoes and see if the students can give other examples, similar to the one described in the video.

As a class decide whether testing is carried out on any of our volcanoes that are not presently active or dormant and whether any emergency preparations are in place, just in case an eruption does happen.

(Students often think a volcano is extinct if the activity has been in the distant past. Scientists consider a volcano active if it has erupted in the last 100,000 years.)

Together, look at the Volcanic eruption hazard instructions on the Taranaki Regional Council website.

Explore the website to see that emergency plans are well in place as is a monitoring system including eight seismographs and a web camera.

The GeoNet website shows current volcanic activity and is well worth exploring as students will see just how much "shake rattle and rolling" is occurring all the time.

Get the students to "google" their own region's civil defence site to see if volcanic activity gets a mention. Their regional council looks after civil defence.

8. Show the video again but this time students should look for the hazards - a question they have already discussed. List them together and then try the Rate White Island's Volcanic Hazards worksheet (PDF, 67K) on the TVNZ website.

Complete this section by watching the Meet the Locals episode Visiting a live volcano. You'll see more of the hazards on White Island and how destructive they've actually been. You'll also see what visitors wear to minimise the risk.

Students may wish to reassess their ratings on the Rate White Island's Volcanic Hazards worksheet (PDF, 67K)on the TVNZ website.

Rangitoto Island


Rangitoto Island

9. At 600 years old Rangitoto Island is Auckland's newest volcano and the largest of about 50 volcanoes in the Auckland field.

Rangitoto is a shield volcano so streams of lava spewed from cracks in the earth and the island emerged from the sea in a series of fiery volcanic explosions. Lava cooled and hardened into a cone before more eruptions sent a number of hot lava flows down the sides of the volcano, forming the sloping sides of black basaltic rock which make up 95 per cent of an island that's almost circular.

Our video focuses on the plants that have grown up on the inhospitable environment of lava rock and on Rangitoto you can see the different stages plant succession from bare lava, to individual trees getting established and the forest.

This is called primary succession. The plants are colonising bare ground that has never developed a soil and on Rangitoto Island this succession is quite unusual because it's gone from bare lava, to forest, without the stages in between. Pohutukawa was one of the first plants to take hold on the fresh lava and after 600 years, a pohutukawa forest, the largest in New Zealand, covers about 80% of the island.

First, try the Plant succession activity (PDF, 60K) on the TVNZ website around Mt Tarawera to build an understanding of how succession (where one group of plants has gradually replaced another) works.

10. Look at how plants reproduce, with a plant hunt in the school grounds or nearby patch of bush. Find examples of each of the three main reproductive types - spore, cone and flower bearers. Remember though, they're not always easy to see and may be visible only at certain times of the year.

(New Zealand's Ministry of Education Resource - Book 7, The Bush - Classifying Forest Plants, pages 6 to 7 has some handy teacher notes.)

Encourage the students to write questions about how these three types reproduce and then provide resource material that allows them to find out.

Finish with the question: If an island is formed by a volcano and erupts from the sea, how did the plants get there? Think, pair and then share the ideas in class.

11. Now watch the Meet the Locals episode Rangitoto. The students should look for:

  • The answer to: how did the plants get there?
  • Differences between the plant succession at Mt Tarawera compared to that on Rangitoto Island.

Discuss these two points in class when you've seen the video.

12. Introduce epiphytes. These plants are perchers. They simply perch high on the branches and trunks of host trees where there is more light to grow and they don't harm the tree.

Epiphytes normally perch and grow where leaf litter has gathered, like in the fork of a tree or in the moss. They don't feed off the tree so they're not parasites.

The video mentions:

  • astelia
  • Kirk's daisy tree
  • puka
  • some native orchids

They're all epiphytes but they've adapted to the rocky crevices of Rangitoto and begin life in these instead of high in a tree.

Watch the video again looking for how the leaf litter is formed to support these epiphytes.

Watch closely to find out how the pohutakawa seed arrived in the first place (it's extremely fine and would have blown there).

After the video use this Pohutukawa factsheet (PDF, 33K) from the Project Crimson website to identify the special features pohutakawa have, that let them grow so well on Rangitoto.

13. In pairs or small groups make a simple animated powerpoint that shows plant succession on Rangitoto island. It should show:

  • How the lichen arrived
  • How the pohutakawa got there
  • Why pohutakawa could establish itself on the rocky landscape
  • How pohutakawa helped other plants grow

You could use this video as a model: Primary Succession video on YouTube.

History Never Repeats - Curio Bay, The Catlins


Petrified forest at Curio Bay

14. We head to a remnant from the Gondwana land mass in the last of the geology videos. We see the fossilised remains of a 180 million year old forest near the most southern part of New Zealand. This forest is one of the biggest and least disturbed Jurassic fossil forests in the world.

It's in the timeframe of Jurassic Park, 199 Million to 145 Million years ago.

As a class, check out the summary of the Jurassic Period on National Geographic's website.

Enlarge the map first to see Gwandana and work out which part would break away to become New Zealand. (At this time, most of the future New Zealand was beneath the sea.)

India was the first to break away, followed by Africa and then about 100 million years ago New Zealand, slowly drifted north.

Decide as a class which of the things from National Geographic's Jurassic Period summary match things we find in New Zealand today.

Examples:

  • Ferns and conifers - for example giant pines are the relatives of today's kauri;
  • Insects - weta saw dinosaurs come and go;
  • Reptiles- the relatives of the tuatara roamed Gondwana about this time.

Think pair and share. Why didn't rodents hop aboard when NZ drifted off? They didn't appear in New Zealand until people brought them here.

(Fossils tell us rodent-like mammals appeared shortly after the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs. That was about 65 million years ago so the rodents were not around by the time NZ broke away from Gondwana. Our birds evolved without them.)

15. Watch the Meet the Locals episode History never repeats about the petrified forest at Curio Bay.

When this forest was alive and well Curio Bay was a broad coastal floodplain flanked by active volcanoes. Mudflows or lahars from these volcanoes swept over the forest burying trees and the understory of ferns.

The Mudslides at Curio Bay worksheet (PDF, 111K) on the TVNZ website examines the nature of lahars. Students can create a lahar model of their own and find out about one lahar that caused one of New Zealand's worst disasters.

Now, watch the Meet the Locals episode Lahar to see the Ruapehu one in action.

16. The community at Curio Bay wants to create a Natural Heritage Centre that they believe will enhance the visitors' experience and better protect the petrified forest and the unique wildlife that lives there.

They want to use the area as resource, just as the Waimangu Geothermal Area has for the people that live there. Their website welcomes people to Curio Bay/Tumu Toka pointing out that it is home to:

  • A 170 million year old Fossil Forest from the Jurassic age;
  • A nesting site for New Zealand's unique Yellow Eyed Penguin/Hoiho;
  • A beautiful sweeping beach at the the adjoining Porpoise Bay, where a resident pod of rare Hector Dolphins jump and play in the surf;
  • Seals and sea lions enjoying a well deserved rest;
  • A campsite nestled subtly into the flaxes;
  • Spectacular wild waves crashing onto the cliffs.

In the last of the volcanic activities the students can design the pamphlet for people who may wish to visit the Heritage Centre.

Its explanation of facilities and tourist activities must show that the five principles of ecotourism are being followed.

Five principles of ecotourism:

1. There are only positive impacts to the environment.

2. Any involvement by visitors will increase their awareness and understanding of the natural wonders of Curio Bay.

3. Conservation will benefit because the area is better managed.

4. The local people have made the decisions about the kind of activities and amount of 
tourism that should happen.

5. Local people have benefited by finding out more about the wonders of their own area and making use of opportunities that come their way.

Get the students to assess each others pamphlets and check to see if the five principles of ecotourism are actually demonstrated.

The big friendly giants - the giant wētā

Online videos | Unit | Levels: 3-4: Find out how the wētā evolved, why it's threatened and how we are protecting this ancient insect. Students will see why the wētā is unique, assess recovery plans and find out how to improve living conditions for wētā in their own backyard.

In this unit students will find out how the wētā evolved, why it's threatened and how we are protecting this ancient insect. Students will see why the wētā is unique, assess recovery plans and find out how to improve living conditions for wētā in their own backyard.

It links to websites, videos and learning tools which provide practical activities to develop your students' knowledge and skill.

About the resource

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Forests and green spaces

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science (Living world)
  • Education for Sustainablility

Achievement objectives

  • Students will explain how living things are suited to their particular habitat and how they respond to environmental changes both natural and human induced.
  • Students will appreciate that some living things in New Zealand are quite different from living things in other areas of the world.

Learning outcomes

  • Students will sort factors on a T chart that show why weta have survived for so long and factors which are leading to their demise.
  • Students will research and publish concise information in a bio-box that shows why the giant weta is so unique.
  • Students will discuss and consider alternatives for successful recovery plans.
  • Students will devise and publish a recovery plan for the giant weta that has good chance of success.

View the resource

DOC and TVNZ collaborated to create this resource "NZ Biology: The big friendly giants - the giant wētā" which was written by DOC ranger Mike Tapp.

View the resource on the TVNZ website.

Contents of resource:

1. What's an insect?

Here's a quick activity to check your students' prior knowledge about insects:

Download the What's an insect? worksheet (PDF, 127K) from the TVNZ website.

2. In days gone by


Close up of a giant weta

Students consider why New Zealand has creatures living here that are different to anywhere else in the world. They look at factors that helped the giant wētā survive and factors that are now leading to its demise.

Download the In days gone by worksheet (PDF, 58K) from the TVNZ website.

The worksheet uses the information below and can be done in pairs or groups.

Giant wētā are one of our most ancient types of land animals.

Their design is virtually the same as fossil weta found in Queensland and they date back 190 million years - long before Australia and New Zealand parted company during the split-up of Gondwana.

Weta have flourished and diversified during New Zealand's last 80 million years of isolation and more than 70 endemic species have evolved.

Some reached a gigantic size and without mammals the giants came to occupy the same sort of night-living niche that rodents occupied in other countries.

When rats and mice started living here most giant wētā species couldn't compete. Their food was eaten and they became food for rodents. Numbers plummeted.

Weta grow and breed slowly. Wētāpunga, the biggest of the giant wētā, take around 18 months to reach maturity and they only breed towards the end of their two years of life.

3. Life's essentials

Bio boxes can quickly profile almost any person, place or animal. They're tightly written giving background information at a glance. They answer essential questions like:

  • Weight?
  • Length?
  • Food?
  • Habitat?
  • Threats?

A picture adds value.

Get your students to design a bio box for the giant wētā and find out a few essential facts at the same time.

Useful links are:
Kiwi Conservation Club
NZ Ecology Gigantism in Insects

Useful life cycle information for the bio box is:

  • The eggs are oval-shaped and 7 mm long and 2.5 mm wide. They're laid 50 mm deep in the soil.
  • The nymphs start off as mini - wētā about 5 mm long.
  • They moult (grow out of their skin) ten times before beginning adult life.
  • Adults are about 70-80 mm long but females grow bigger than males.

4. Good place for a giant


Giant weta

Hardly any giant wētā remain on the mainland because they've fallen prey to cats, rats, stoats, ferrets and weasels. They only survive in places where they can be protected from these predators.

Protection and recovery programmes can prove tricky too. Share this story with your students and discuss in class whether they would have approached the problem in a different way.

The wētāpunga, the biggest of the giant wētā has to share Little Barrier Island with the kiore, the Polynesian rat. In the past it was thought that kiore were reluctant to climb the trees that wētāpunga lived in so they didn't have huge impact this giant wētā's population.

DOC rangers eliminated the feral cat population on the island which was great for the birds and lizards, but surprisingly, not so good for wētāpunga.

Kiore were the cats' main prey and now the rat population has grown! That's bad news for wētāpunga. Its numbers are dwindling.

Watch the Meet the Locals episode Mahoenui wētā.

Get the class to focus on looking for these things and discuss them after viewing:

  • What saves these giant wētā from predators?
  • What's the biggest danger for these wētā?
  • Have these wētā evolved any defence systems against rats that really work
  • What feature does the female have that helps the female lay her eggs at a safe depth?
  • What else is being done to protect these giants of the insect world?

5. Saving a species

By studying endangered species of wētā and gathering information on their ways of life, we can establish new populations of giant wētā in safe places.

The Mahoenui giant wētā is an iconic New Zealand species, so the recovery programme wants to significantly improve their management and recovery.

Scientists work out why weta populations are declining, they establish original habitat characteristics and improve the effectiveness of reintroduction and restoration techniques.

In this activity the students devise a recovery plan of their own for the protection of wētā on a mainland site. Download A guide for your recovery plan worksheet (PDF, 63K) from the TVNZ website.

This recovery guide will help them formulate a plan and gives them handy hints that may see them think of ideas like the examples below.

  • Scientists are using miniature tracking equipment, such as tags, tiny transmitters, and lights fastened to the insects' thorax, to help track wētā in their haunts.
  • They collect eggs, hatch them, and raise young wētā in captivity, preparing them for release back into the wild. 

6. Active involvement: motels for weta (an optional extra)

Tree wētā like living in holes in trees but there really aren't that many holes. That's why they dig under stones or chew through rotten logs to make their homes. Wētā motels help bring wētā to your backyard. They're placed in trees, under trees and even on fence posts.

Find out how to build a 3 star or 5 star wētā motel. A one star motel works well too - just hang some pieces of bamboo in a tree!

Wētā prefer motels without windows but some people like to peer at them to see what they're up to.

Make your windows from perspex or plastic from a bottle. You need to be able to remove them for cleaning because they go mouldy and they need shutters.

Wētā will live in motels with windows as long as their gallery is deep.

Wētā adapt well to living in a modified habitat. The females lay 100-300 eggs so if you build a home they like, then wētā will live there and numbers will grow!

Additional worksheet

Wētāpunga worksheet (PDF, 1,951K)

The reptiles

Online videos | Unit | Levels: 3-4: Explore the features of some of our most endangered reptiles and the recovery programmes, techniques and technology that is helping them survive.

This teaching resource explore the habitats of our rare McRaes Flat skink, Chevron skink, Duvaucel's gecko and Jewelled gecko and how they have responded to environmental changes.

Decide if their adaptive features are helping or hindering the lizards' survival and explore the consequences of rats on our pest free islands.

Students look at the Head Start programme for the tuatara and assess and make suggestions for the recovery programme.

About the resource

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Native animals

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science (Living world)
  • Social science
  • Technology
  • Education for sustainablility

Achievement objectives

  • Students will explain how living things are suited to their particular habitat and how they respond to environmental changes both natural and human induced.
  • Students will understand how people make decisions about access to and use of resources. 

Learning outcomes

  • Students will recognise the special features of skinks and geckos and describe them to their classmates.
  • Students will locate the Otago skinks habitat on a map, identify the changes to their environment that limit their presence and match a threat to management tool designed minimise their threats.
  • Students will identify the special features and adaptations of the chevron skink and hypothesise as to whether these features are helping or hindering their survival.
  • Students will explore the likelihood of rats getting established on Great and Little Barrier Island and design a poster or pamphlet for boaties that gets the "no rats" message across. Plan a distribution method too.
  • Students will share some research about the breeding habits of the jewelled gecko and hypothesise in pairs as to how these features can help its survival.
  • Students will examine the adaptive features of jewelled geckos and incorporate these features in an action pastel and dye artwork.
  • Students will construct a lizard friendly environment at home or school and photograph it for others to see and learn from.
  • Students will examine the tuatara hatching and raising programme at Victoria University and list items needed if they were part of the team for the very first egg recovery and raising operation.
  • Students will write a diary that illustrates the Head Start process from collection, to incubation, hatching, rearing and release.
  • Students will use de Bono's coloured hats to assess strategies designed to protect the tuatara and build populations on their islands.

View the resource

DOC and TVNZ collaborated to create the "NZ Biology: The reptiles resource" which was written by DOC ranger Mike Tapp.

View the resource on the TVNZ website.

Contents of resource:

1. Is it a fish, amphibian or reptile?

Check your students' knowledge with this activity for pairs or small groups. Download the worksheet Where do we fit? (PDF, 45K) from the TVNZ website.

Answers:

  • Fish - 4,5,10 sharks trout, eels, rays, kahawai, lampreys and catfish;
  • Amphibians - 3,5,6,7,8 frogs, toads, axolotls;
  • Reptiles - 1,2,5,9 dinosaurs, turtles, tortoises, tuatara, lizards, snakes and crocodiles.

2. Is it a skink or gecko?


Duvaucel's gecko

Jigsaw using the Skinks and geckos fact sheet (PDF, 219K). Print out and cut up the fact sheet so that groups can become experts on one of the following:

  • The differences between skinks and geckos and where they are found
  • Skink facts
  • Gecko facts
  • Threats facing our lizards

When each group has gathered their knowledge the members move to other groups to share their expertise.

Now watch the the Meet the Locals episode Duvaucel's gecko. You'll see the differences between geckos and skinks with New Zealand's biggest gecko as a model. Students will also see how the area's wildlife had to respond to environmental changes.

3. Otago's skinks


Otago skink at McRaes Flat

Download A Changing Habitat for Otago's Skinks worksheet (PDF, 77K) from the TVNZ website. This worksheet shows students just how much the environment changed and why it changed.

Check out a map to see where lizards used to live compared to now. Then watch the Meet the Locals episode Grand and Otago skinks (McRaes Flat) and try the adaptation activity in the worksheet.

These facts about grand and Otago skinks should help as will the three below:

  • These giants are only found in Otago where they are active in the sunshine and live among deeply creviced schist rock outcrops in montane tussock grassland.
  • The two species are seen together at some sites but Otago skinks are found more often on extensive rock bluffs along steep-sided valleys. The grand skinks are more common on ridge-top rocky pinnacles.
  • They usually stay around their rock surfaces but both species sometimes make long trips between habitat patches - up to 400m for grand skinks and 2km for Otago skinks.

4. The endangered classification for these skinks is nationally critical and population modelling once suggested "functional extinction" of both species by 2010.

Management programmes utilise a range of tools. The worksheet Minimise the threat (PDF, 47K) on the TVNZ website has students matching each threat to a management tool and deciding how it can help the skinks survive.

5. The chevron skink


Chevron skink on Little Barrier Island

This skink is New Zealand biggest lizard and is only found on Little Barrier and Great Barrier Islands. Historical records show this skink was once on the mainland but Norway rats helped clean them out. Both animals like to occupy the same habitat but Rattus norvegicus, are quick to eat their flatmates.

Watch the Meet the Locals episode Chevron skink taking special note of how secretive and well camouflaged these lizards are. Look closely at the skinks' preferred habit and the teenager without a tail.

After the video, think, pair and then share ideas in class for the question:

  • Why do lizards lose their tail?

Answer:

  • Lizards have throwaway tails to escape from predators.
  • Nervous spasms make a newly dropped lizard tail wag around as if it's alive.
  • This headless twitching "animal" startles predators and in the confusion the lizard escapes - minus a tail but often unharmed.
  • Original tails are made of bony vertebrae but the shock of the loss jumpstarts cells to build new tail out of cartilage.
  • Tail building uses up a lot of energy and as lizards get older their tails actually become less colorful and less attractive to predators.
  • Geckos like the jewelled gecko climb around in trees and use their tail like another leg. They will drop their tail if necessary but the one that grows back is never as long or as handy as the original.
  • Lizards store their food in their tails so if they drop off in winter when there is less food around they could be in for a hard time.

Niho Taniwha - the chevron skink worksheet (PDF, 48K) on the TVNZ website looks at the special features of the chevron skinks and in pairs students can decide whether these features are helping or hindering their survival. Each pair can share ideas with another pair before reaching a class agreement.

6. Norway rats


Norway rat

The rats are laughing (PDF, 119K) worksheet on the TVNZ website focuses in on Norway rats and the possibility and consequences of these predators getting established on Little and Great Barrier Islands. There's every chance the rats would wipe the chevron skink out as the crafty rodents would slink along the same damp pathways.

Get your students to read the information on The rats are laughing worksheet but before they design their pamphlet or poster try this retrieval exercise in groups.

The groups

could take this action

for this purpose

and the impact on the chevron skinks would be

DOC

Local residents

Boaties

Visitors

 

7. The jewelled gecko

Share these points with your students and decide which ones are problems that could be wholly or partly solved.

  • The jewelled gecko is endemic to New Zealand, so it's the only place it occurs naturally.
  • Jewelled geckos live in the south-eastern part of the South Island, east of the Southern Alps and from mid- Canterbury south to Stewart Island. The biggest populations live on Banks Peninsula near Christchurch and the Otago Peninsula near Dunedin.
  • Loss of habitat is the biggest threat, followed by rats and other introduced predators. Most of the habitat loss comes with clearing of forest and scrubland for farms.
  • Because of the slow breeding rate, gecko populations are slow to recover in regenerating forests, and sometimes never do.
  • This attractive gecko is also appealing to the illegal pet market.
  • Jewelled geckos are masters of camouflage and are very difficult to find.
  • DOC classifies these geckos as a threatened species with humans responsible for their gradual decline.


Jewelled gecko

Watch the Meet the Locals episode Jewelled geckos. Look closely at the adaptations this lizard has that help protect it.

Find out too what Shirleen Helps, the woman in the video has done on her farm to protect these little lizards.

8. Share the information below with your students and then try the think, pair and share questions.

  • Jewelled geckos breed annually. They mate in September and October and give birth in May or June. Gestation is usually 8 to 9 months but geckos can delay fertilisation.
  • New Zealand geckos are the only ones in the world to give birth to live young but the birth process is a little different to most mammals. The baby geckos develop in the eggs which remain in the oviduct until they hatch prior to birth.
  • Geckos usually have twins and each one is nearly half the length of the mother at birth. The young stay with their parents, but the parents don't really look after them. They fend for themselves!

Think, pair and share your ideas.

(a) Which of the features just described, help this lizard survive? 
(b) Why do geckos in New Zealand give birth to live young when geckos in other countries hatch from eggs?

Answers:

(a) Adaptive features include:

  • breeding annually so the population is topped up
  • delaying fertilisation may happen when the food supply is low
  • and the geckos' size at birth helps them look after themselves.

(b) Researchers think the live births are most likely due to the need to keep developing geckos warm in the cool climate.

9. These ten amazing photos of jewelled geckos are well worth looking at.

Again, check out those adaptive features:

  • Markings that let them hide in the shadows of leaves
  • Long clawed toes to climb
  • A long tail to hang wrap around branches (The replacement is never quite as good as the original so they don't drop tails as readily as skinks.)
  • Loose and grainy skin
  • A body that lets them lunge quickly at prey
  • A mouth that lets them catch their prey.

The Jewelled gecko worksheet (PDF, 48K) on the TVNZ website asks students to show these adaptations in an artwork. Pastel and dye is good but crayon and dye will be just as effective.

The adaptations are listed in boxes under separate headings and the idea is to include something from every box in the picture. Strive for a picture that gives information without words.

Handy hints:

  • It's an action picture. It's a lizard on the go in its habitat!
  • Draft out the sketch first in pen on an A5 piece of paper.
  • If the gecko is tiny draw a box around it and tell your student to blow that bit up big.
  • Sketch your drawing on cartridge paper using chalk or a light crayon. Don't use pencil because time will be spent drawing fine bits that can't be replicated with crayon or pastel. Students will also spend more time rubbing out than thinking about their art.
  • When using crayon or pastel put a thick wad of newspaper under the cartridge for a better texture.
  • Colour from the inside out and avoid lines around shapes. Only colouring in books have those.
  • Look for detail in the gecko and surroundings. Bring in some likely plants for observation.
  • Most of the artwork should be in crayon or pastel. The dye will be the highlight.
  • The bigger the better - A3 at least!

10. The worksheet Bring in the lizards (PDF, 464K) on the TVNZ website describes ways of attracting lizard to gardens. The students could try the ideas at home or if you have a likely area at school, adapt the ideas for a lizard lifestyle at school.

Lizard friendly gardens and homes are easy to make and can make a difference. The little reptiles will hide and escape from the cats! If your students do make a lizard home in their backyard get them to photograph it for others to see.

11. Tuatara


Tuatara

This living fossil has hardly changed from the dinosaur days 220 million years ago but life's been tough since humans and their rats arrived. Tuatara were once found all over New Zealand but now they only live on offshore islands. It was one of the first species to be protected by law and that was in1895.

Karori Sanctuary Trust in Wellington has them - the first wild (or semi-wild) population to be established on the mainland since they became extinct over 200 years ago.

The last of the reptile videos looks at the programmes aimed at keeping tuatara in a healthy state. After all, their orderSphenodontia, was represented by many species during the age of the dinosaurs but they all became extinct about 60 million years ago. Except that is for old tuatara!

Tuatara are reptiles but not lizards. Their skull, ribs, teeth, the third eye and the way they mate makes them different.

12. Now watch the Meet the Locals episode Tuatara. You'll find out about the Head Start programme at Auckland Zoo which is a little like Operation Nestegg for the kiwi.

Have the students consider this question as they watch:

  • What makes the tuatara such a good animal for a research, breeding and relocation programme like this?

13. Download the Tuatara babies (PDF, 55K) worksheet from the TVNZ website. This worksheet examines the hatching and raising programme at Victoria University.

As an activity the students are asked to list the things they would need if they were part of the team for the very first expedition to the islands to collect eggs and what they'd need to raise the tuatara back in Wellington. They then write a diary that shows the progress and tasks from collection, to incubation, hatching, rearing and release.

14. Share this information about tuatara eggs in the wild:

  • Laying months: October/November.
  • Nesting place: Open areas in nesting rookeries.
  • Nest type: Little chambers or blind tunnels.
  • Mum's job: Build the nesting tunnel and fill it with loose soil. Lay the eggs, leave and don't return.
  • Incubation: 12 to 15 months depending on the temperature.
  • Hatching success rate: 40% compared to 80% in the laboratory.

Now that the students know about hatching eggs in the laboratory see if they can come up with a plan, or piece of equipment for increasing the hatching success rate of eggs left on the islands.

Ponder this! 
The adult male/female hatching ratio can get skewed and end up with a population that includes a lot more males than females. A change in temperature of even one degree may determine the baby's sex. In an incubator, 18 degrees produces females while 22 degrees hatches mostly males.

There's a worry that global warming will contribute to a male dominated population. You may need to give your students this handy hint before they embark on their hatching scheme.

15. The second tuatara video looks at a tuatara release on Cuvier Island.

Many of these rat free islands have very little forest to provide compost and food for earthworms, slaters and soil insects. Seabirds do the job instead.

Bird droppings and dead leaves are dug into the soil by burrowing seabirds. Thousands of seabirds help the tuatara by building the rich soil for plants to grow in and for invertebrates to make their homes.

In pairs get the students to design a diagram that shows a food chain on rat free island made up of these things:

  • forest birds
  • seabirds
  • lizards
  • tuatara
  • spiders
  • insects
  • earthworms
  • slaters
  • weta
  • beetles
  • seabird manure
  • plant life

Now introduce rats to the island and ask, "How might your diagram change?"

15. Use de Bono's coloured hats, (explained below) before watching the Meet the Locals episode Tuatara release. This video shows the next stage in repopulating the islands with tuatara. It's a good preparation for the final activity.

Explain the young tuatara are about to be released on an island. In groups put on the:

  • White hat and decide what we need to know.
  • Yellow hat and decide the good points about the idea. What are the benefits?
  • Black hat and decide if there are any bad points that mean it may not work.
  • Red hat and take a guess. What do you think might happen?

Now watch the Meet the Locals episode Tuatara release.

16. For the final activity download the Tuatara strategies worksheet (PDF, 88K) from the TVNZ website. Students use the coloured hats to assess strategies designed to protect the tuatara and build populations on their island. Share these ideas in class to finish the unit.

They're oldies but goodies

Online videos | Unit | Levels: 3-4: Explore the reasons for retaining and maintaining treasures from the past (hisorical sites).

This education resource looks at four unique historic sites in New Zealand:

  • Lindis Pass Hotel (Canterbury)
  • Golden Point Battery (Otago)
  • Kaiaraara Dam (Great Barrier Island)
  • Maungauika/North Head (Auckland)

It links to websites, videos and learning tools which provide practical activities to develop your students' knowledge and skill.

About the resource

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Historic places

Curriculum learning areas

  • Social science
  • Technology
  • Education for sustainablility

Achievement objectives

  • Students will understand how people remember and record the past in different ways.
  • Students will understand that people participate individually and collectively in response to community challenges.
  • Students will understand how technological development expands human possibilities and how technology draws on knowledge from a wide range of disciplines.  

Learning outcomes

  • Students will list criteria that can be used to determine the historical significance and importance of a place, building or item in their area.
  • Students will decide and list the type of items that should be preserved from an earlier era.
  • Students will draw a four frame cartoon that explains what technology actually is.
  • Students will sketch a piece of equipment that illustrates the technological needs and achievements from another era.
  • Students will problem solve in groups and explain how a working machine could get on site.
  • Students will analyse a video of a kauri dam and explain how they actually worked.
  • Students will gather evidence that shows people in their area may have been threatened by others at some time.
  • Students will decide and then explain why a site should or shouldn't be restored to reflect a particular time period. 

View the resource

DOC and TVNZ collaborated to create the "NZ History: They're oldies but goodies" which was written by DOC ranger Mike Tapp.

View the resource on the TVNZ website.

Contents of resource:

A. The Lindis Pass Hotel

Restoring an historic hotel from the gold mining era.

1. Begin with the starter activity An oldie but a goodie (PDF, 65K) on the TVNZ website. It will tune students into the topic and check what they already know. Ideas can be discussed as a class or in groups.

2. This activity has students designing criteria to assess whether something really is a treasure and should be kept.

Ian Bowman, a leading conservation architect, says age is only one factor when assessing historic buildings:

"Other factors can be design, events or significant people associated with the building, significant technology, public esteem, spiritual or religious significance or even a place with a particular sense to it." 

Download Assessing Historic Heritage Significance (PDF, 935K) from the Auckland Regional Council website. The guidelines have 13 criteria. Share these with the class or "jigsaw". Give each pair of students one of the criteria to read. When they understand it they can explain that criteria to the class.

Groups now design a chart like this example on the TVNZ website Worth keeping? (PDF, 66K). They make up a set of criteria they believe is important when assessing an item's historical significance. They use their criteria to choose some treasures from their own area and then share their ideas with other groups.

3. The first video depicts a pub from Otago's gold rush days. Find out what your students know, or think they know about these times.

For example:

  • Where were the gold rushes?
  • When did the Otago gold rush happen? (1862/3)
  • What did the miners need?
  • What did they live in?
  • What did they do when they weren't looking for gold?

Record ideas on a chart like this one on the TVNZ website Know it all chart (PDF, 47K) and then do some research to find out more and add to the chart.

This information on Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand will be useful:

4. In pairs decide what might still be around from the gold rush days that is worth preserving. Share, list and discuss ideas as a class.

Imagine the objects that people brought into or left outside a hotel during the gold rush times. List some items, that if sealed in a time capsule, would have helped build an understanding of the people and the lives they led.

5. Watch the Meet the Locals episode Lindis Pass Hotel. It's about an historic building and a rescue package put in place by locals.

Show your students this map of the Lindis Conservation Area (PDF, 315K) and decide what a "pass" is and why this site was chosen as the site of the hotel.

Build up a picture of the Lindis Conservation Area by sharing the nature and conservaiton of the area and the tracks. Look at the extremes of weather for example and the type of terrain.

Get your students to look for three key things as they watch the video:

  • Why did this building deteriorate?
  • What's being done to save it?
  • What can the building tell you about the area and the times? (Consider the building materials.)

Now watch the Meet the Locals episode Lindis Pass Hotel.

Discuss the students' ideas after the video with a focus on the people involved in the restoration and why they thought it was important.

6. In groups look at the impact of a restoration from the local's point of view. Download this restoration impact T chart (PDF, 25K) from the TVNZ website. This will help focus students' thinking.

Share the charts as a class and together decide if a site like this warrants a full and working restoration that sees it being used as a pub again.

Return to your list of criteria that assessed the historical significance. Groups use their criteria to decide whether the Lindis Pass Hotel should be given an A, B or C listing - "A" being a full and working restoration.

B. Golden Point Battery


Remains of miner's cottages, Golden Point

This Meet the Locals episode shows a stamper battery from the gold mining days. It's in Macraes Flat in Central Otago.

The steel shafts and shoes of stamper batteries moved up and down crushing the rocks into a powder finer than sand which was then washed over mercury coated copper sheets where fine gold particles could be recovered.

7. Ask the students for their ideas on what technology actually is? "How do we explain it?

Give your students the simple definition below and get them to draw a four frame cartoon strip that illustrates each part of this definition. They can base their cartoon on a piece of technology of their choice. (Make sure you don't get 20 mobile phones!)

Technology is when you Need it, Design it, Make it, Use it. (You could add market and sell it!)

As a class, assess each cartoon to decide if the chosen piece of technology should be kept in working order for future generations:

You could use these criteria to assess each piece: 
In the future will it show:

  • How technology has developed?
  • How people have always been innovative?
  • How technology follows a process?

8. In groups get the students to solve the problem below. They should sketch their design on a big piece of paper and then share their idea with others.

Very few gold miners really struck it rich. Gabriel Read did when he crossed an Otago stream to get his dog and found a rich seam. He dug and panned 198 grams of gold in 10 hours. He was lucky. Most miners picked, panned and dug away but found very little gold.

Many rocks had tiny bits of gold trapped in them but getting each little bit out by hand was almost impossible.

Come up with a simple machine that could somehow take big lots of rock and recover the tiny pieces of gold that they might hold.

9. In groups or by themselves students choose a likely looking machine and write an action plan to get it up and running on the old goldfields. They need to consider things like this:

  • Who will help? (Most miners just worked by themselves hoping for a big strike.)
  • What skills would these helpers need?
  • How could you get your chosen team to help? (They'll need some sort of incentive.)
  • Where would this machine go?
  • What raw materials would you need to make it?
  • How would you get the rock to the machine?
  • How would you power it?
  • What would you do to stop it breaking down?

Share the plans as a class and assess the probability of success.

10. Now watch this video of a stamper battery in action.

As a class decide:

  • Whose design best matched this one.
  • How does this stamper battery actually work?

Explain that the chemical mercury was used to help extract the gold.

This resource about extracting gold from rock on the Rough Science website will help your students work out how a battery stamper works and how mercury was used to extract the gold.

In pairs, students can read about the stamper battery and draw a simple flow chart using text and pictures that shows how a stamper and mercury, can combine to get gold from rock.

Now watch the Meet the Locals episode Golden Point Battery.

As a class decide:

  • Is the design similar to the stamper in the first video clip?
  • Which parts actually crushed the rock?
  • Did the video show the plate that collected the gold?
  • Which part would hold the mercury?
  • Why was a good water supply necessary?
  • What times of the year should the DOC Rangers get the stamper battery running?

11. One tourist posted this information on a web based travel site:

There were various boards around the site but we have, as yet, found no DOC information sheets for the area.

Students can design an information sheet for the site. It needs:

  • a headline
  • map
  • stamper description
  • at least one picture
  • and any other information tourists will need and that will attract them to the site. The stamper start up dates for example, would be handy information.

Golden Point Historic Reserve has some useful information too.

C. Kaiaraara Dam

This video explores a dam used in the kauri logging days on Great Barrier Island. It was one of hundreds built around the country to carry the logs from inaccessible spots down to the coast.

Most of the kauri timber was taken during the 19th century and by 1897, 75% of the kauri forests had been cut. By then kauri was being milled at an average rate of 236,000 cubic metres a year and the dams were playing their part in the destruction of the forests.

12. Decide what an "export" is then build some knowledge of the kauri industry with this worksheetGoodbye to kauri (PDF, 64K) on the TVNZ website. It's a flow chart activity students can do individually or in groups and it shows how one event will lead to another.

13. Decide in groups what types of technology was needed and probably developed at the different stages in the kauri industry. For example, what would du Fresne's men need in 1772, as they selected, chopped, moved and shaped the first kauri log for their mast?

Other examples could include the need to:

  • move the logs from deep within the forest
  • cut the logs long ways in the forest
  • load them on board the ships
  • mill them quickly into boards
  • move timber to point of sale
  • bleed trees for gum and dig for gum

14. Check out the kauri dam photos on these web sites and as a class decide how the dams worked.

Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand: Kauri dam in action (3 photos)

Great Barrier Island Kauri Dam (2 photos)

Now watch the Meet the Locals episode Kaiaraara Dam. Get your students to look and listen for these things as they watch:

  • How were the logs moved before they had the dam?
  • How were the logs "shot" into the streams?
  • How did the smaller dams help the main dam work really well?

15. The dams are still standing today and were built without engineering drawings, calculations or heavy machinery. They withstood the pressure of tons of water and a massive force of logs and water surging through them when the dam was tripped. It was an impressive feat.

Watch the video again and then have the students list the problems and solutions that had to be found in building a dam like this. Share and evaluate the ideas.

16. In groups decide how the dam contributed to destruction of forest.

(The dams made the removal of trees from inaccessible areas possible so a lot more trees were taken. The massive surge of logs and water flowing to coast caused forest damage and soil erosion.)

Now use your criteria and assess this site for historical significance. Decide whether this site is worthy of an A, B or C rating for historical heritage. (A being - do all we can to protect it.)

D. North Head


North Head

We look at the fortress that stands guard over the Waitemata Harbour protecting Auckland from possible attack.

"It is considered the most significant coastal defence site in the country because of the size and variety of its defence installations and the fact that it includes elements from all periods of New Zealand's coast defence history spanning nearly 120 years of military history." DOC

17. Enjoy this video clip from YouTube and then decide as a class if there really have been times when people in New Zealand felt they were under threat.

In pairs, students draw a simple map of their local area and mark on any evidence that shows people were threatened at some time...or thought they might be. (For example pa sites, redoubts, memorials, "pillboxes" around our coast.)

Students do some research and draw a visual timeline that records the periods in New Zealand's history where people have felt threatened. It should show how they have readied themselves for a possible attack by:

  • Enemies with hand weapons
  • Enemies with muskets
  • Enemies involved in the Land Wars
  • The Russian Fleet!
  • Enemies of World War 11

18. Maungauika (the Mountain of Uika) was one of three cone pa in the Devonport area and built on one of the oldest volcanic cones in the Auckland volcanic field. Interestingly, the main pa appears to have been at nearby Takarunga (Mt Victoria).

Maungauika was occupied by Maori. Early photographs show remnants of Maori gardens on the hill's lower slopes, but there are no signs of the earthwork defences prominent on Auckland's other volcanic cones.

Give your students the information above and this photo and map of Mt Victoria on the Panoramio website.

In groups they can decide:

  • Why Maori settled in this area and
  • Why Takarunga was chosen as the main pa

19. Show the Meet the Locals episode North Head.

As they watch, the students should look for evidence or reasons why:

  • People really did believe that the threat of attack was very serious
  • North Head attracts so many visitors

Discuss these reasons in class and use your criteria to assess this historical site.

Decide whether Takarunga - Mt Victoria should also be restored, to reflect Maori history.

20. Try this Oldies but Goodies - assessment activity (PDF, 63K) on the TVNZ website. It focuses on the design of an interpretation sign.

21. Active involvement - an optional extra!

Check out a local restoration project. You may be able to visit a site with someone who is working on it...or invite them to school to show what is happening.

Find out:

  • What are they trying to do?
  • What's their dream or vision?
  • How are they doing it?
  • What are some of their challenges?
  • What do they get out of it?

Find out about a restoration need in your community and decide whether you could make a difference.

Try this success factors chart (PDF, 48K) on the TVNZ website to decide if this project has a good chance of success.

Now think about your conservation vision:

  • What do you need to do to make your vision real?
  • What are some steps toward your vision that you can take?

You're ready to design your action plan. Download the action plan template (PDF, 12K) from the TVNZ website. Good luck!

Related historic heritage topics

Investigating alpine environments - Years 9-13

Field trip | Levels: 5-8: This resource is designed to introduce secondary students to New Zealand's extraordinary alpine environments, and support them to take action to help protect them.

Learning outcomes:

Using this resource students can:

  • carry out practical investigations and gather scientific data on at least one aspect of an alpine environment (ecology, geology, geography, sustainability)
  • learn about some unique alpine plants and animals, and understand how they are connected within alpine ecosystems
  • learn about the history and cultural heritage of Tongariro National Park
  • investigate the interrelationships between people and alpine environments
  • learn about threats to alpine environments and how people contribute to these
  • identify how they can contribute to protecting alpine environments and take conservation action.

Free teacher PD workshops

Come and meet the author of this new resource, and DOC staff from Whakapapa Visitor Centre. At these workshops you will receive your own copy of the new resource and learn how to get the most from a school field trip to Tongariro National Park. 

Wellington

Thursday 14 September 2017, 4.15 pm – 5.30 pm

GNS Science 
1 Fairway Drive, Avalon 5010
Lower Hutt 5040

Tongariro National Park

Wednesday 20 September 2017, 4.15 pm – 5.30 pm

Hillary Outdoors, Tongariro 
Hydro Access Rd No 3
State Highway 47
Turangi 3334

Hamilton

Thursday 21 September 2017, 4.15 pm – 5.30 pm

Rototuna High Schools
Kimbrae Drive
Hamilton 3281

Register your interest

Register to attend one of these workshops.

For more information email: conserved@doc.govt.nz

Curriculum links

Level 7 - 8 Education for Sustainability

Knowledge and understanding

  • Level 7: Investigate how to enhance and maintain biophysical systems and improve biodiversity
  • Level 7: Investigate the aspects of sustainability in different contexts
  • Level 8: Evaluate social, economic and technological measures that could be taken to sustain natural resources and improve biodiversity now and for the future
  • Level 8: Analyse the impact of strategies and initiatives for a sustainable future

Attitudes and values

  • Level 7: Examine the values and behaviours that will contribute to a sustainable future
  • Level 8: Analyse the values of different groups of people, how these values are expressed in various practices, and the present and future consequences for sustainability

Actions

  • Level 7: Plan, implement and evaluate personal action for a sustainable future
  • Level 8: Analyse actions necessary for sustainability and plan, implement, critically evaluate personal action for a sustainable future

Level 5-8 Science

Participating and contributing

  • Level 5 and 6: Develop an understanding of socio-scientific issues by gathering relevant scientific information in order to draw evidence-based conclusions and to take action where appropriate.
  • Level 7 and 8: Use relevant information to develop a coherent understanding of socio-scientific issues that concern them, to identify possible responses at both personal and societal levels.

Living world: Life processes

  • Level 5: Identify key structural features and functions involved in the life processes and the interdependence of living things.
  • Level 6: Relate key structural features and functions to the life processes of plants, animals, and micro-organisms and investigate environmental factors that affect these processes
  • Level 7: Explore the diverse ways in which animals and plants carry out the life processes Ecology Explore ecological distribution patterns and explain possible causes for these patterns

Living world: Ecology

  • Level 6: Investigate the impact of natural events and human actions on a New Zealand ecosystem.

Planet Earth and Beyond: Earth systems

  • Level 5: Investigate the composition, structure, and features of the geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere.
  • Level 6: Investigate the external and internal processes that shape and change the surface features of New Zealand
  • Level 7: Develop an understanding of the causes of natural hazards and their interactions with human activity on Earth.
  • Level 8: Develop an in-depth understanding of the interrelationship between human activities and the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere over time.

Physical world: Using physics

  • Level 5: Explore a technological or biological application of physics.

Investigating in science

  • Level 6: Develop and carry out more complex investigations, including using models.
  • Level 7: Develop and carry out investigations that extend their science knowledge, including developing their understanding of the relationship between investigations and scientific theories and models.

Physical world: Physical inquiry and physics concepts

  • Level 6: Investigate trends and relationships in physical phenomena.

Communicating in science

  • Level 7: Use accepted science knowledge, vocabulary, symbols, and conventions when evaluating accounts of the natural world and consider the wider implications of the methods of communication and/or representation employed.

Living world: Life processes, ecology, and evolution

  • Level 8: Understand the relationship between organisms and their environment.

Level 5-8 Social Science

Social Studies

  • Level 5: Understand how people's management of resources impacts on environmental and social sustainability
  • Level 5: Understand how the ideas and actions of people in the past have had a significant impact on people's lives.

Geography

  • Level 6: Understand that natural and cultural environments have particular characteristics and how environments are shaped by processes that create spatial patterns.
  • Level 6: Understand how people interact with natural and cultural environments and that this interaction has consequences.
  • Level 7: Understand how the processes that shape natural and cultural environments change over time 
  • Level 7: Understand how people's perceptions of and interactions with natural and cultural environments differ and have changed over time.
  • Level 8: Understand how interacting processes shape natural and cultural environments, occur at different rates and on different scales, and create spatial variations 
  • Level 8: Understand how people's diverse values and perceptions influence the environmental, social and economic decisions and responses they make.

Marine reserves

Field trip | Levels: 3-4: Learn why a field trip to a marine reserve is a great opportunity to study marine life in its natural habitat.

This teaching resource is a comprehensive guide to visiting and studying marine reserves. 

Although designed around Auckland area marine reserves, it can be adapted to suit any region's marine reserves.

It suggests ways of preparing for a visit to a marine reserve and offers teaching and learning exercises that don't contravene the Marine Reserves Act 1971 that says marine life in a reserve cannot be taken or disturbed. These include: watching animal behaviour, counting animals without collecting them, and mapping positions and densities of plants and animals without disturbing them.

About the resource

This 158-page education kit is a comprehensive guide to visiting and studying marine reserves in a way that minimises disturbance to marine life and compiles with the Marine Reserves Act 1971. 

It's designed for bulk photocopying for use with a school teaching programme. You can download the kit as a series of PDFs or order a hard copy from the office below.

Every school may have one copy of each kit free and additional copies can be bought for $10 each.

Marine Reserve field trips

Download the resource

  1. Cover page /contents (PDF, 289K)
  2. Introduction (PDF, 61K)
  3. Ready for a trip? (PDF, 42K)
  4. Planning (PDF, 93K)
    • Planning for studies of intertidal (shore) and subtidal (underwater) areas.
  5. Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve  (PDF, 199K)
  6. Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve  (PDF, 179K) 
  7. Feeding fish in marine reserves (PDF, 206K)
    • A cross-curricular approach to a marine reserve issue. 
  8. Classroom exercises (PDF, 174K)
  9. How intertidal animals avoid drying out (PDF, 57K)
  10. The seashore food cycle (PDF, 340K)
  11. Marine feeding methods (PDF, 450K)
  12. Marine feeding methods cont. (PDF, 525K)
  13. Biodiversity (PDF, 287K)
  14. The hermit crab – model study  (PDF, 86K)
  15. Fish identification and habitat relationships (PDF, 401K)
  16. Exercises at Goat Island Bay (PDF, 619K)
  17. Zonation on terraced rocky shores (PDF, 53K)
  18. Zonation at Long Bay (PDF, 350K)
  19. Zonation at Goat Island (PDF, 246K)
  20. Distribution at Goat Island and Long Bay (PDF, 647K)
  21. Life in rock pools (PDF, 64K)
  22. Measuring animals in a marine reserve (PDF, 216K)
  23. Marine reserve resources (PDF, 84K)
  24. An action oriented approach (PDF, 34K)
  25. Evaluation form (PDF, 19K)

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Marine and coastal
  • Native animals
  • Native plants

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science

Publication information

The Marine Reserves Education Kit was written and illustrated by John Walsby and published by the Auckland Conservancy of the Department of Conservation. 

This is the third edition. The text and illustrations in the Marine Reserves Education Kit are covered by copyright.

ISBN 0-478-22151-7

Contact

 

Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland Office
Phone:   +64 9 307 9279
Address:   Ground Floor - Building 2
Carlaw Park Commercial
12-16 Nicholls Lane
Parnell
Email:   auckland@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Back to top