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Hukanui Enviroschool Capability: Engage with science NoS achievement aims: Understanding about science NoS achievement aims: Investigating in science NoS achievement aims: Participating and contributing Contextual strands: Living world Level : 2,3,4

Author: Rupert Alchin. Connected 3, 2002 , pages 16–21.

This resource illustrates how a Connected article could provide a model for students to engage with science in the context of a real life issue.

Curriculum Aims and AOs

The Nature of Science strand


Achievement objectives relevant to this resource

Understanding about science

Learn about science as a knowledge system: the features of scientific knowledge and the processes by which it is developed: and learn about the ways in which the work of scientists interacts with society.

L1 & 2:

Appreciate that scientists ask questions about our world that lead to investigations and that open-mindedness is important because there may be more than one explanation.

L3 & 4:

Appreciate that science is a way of explaining the world and that science knowledge changes over time.

Identify ways in which scientists work together and provide evidence to support their ideas

Investigating in science

Carry out science investigations using a variety of approaches: classifying and identifying, pattern seeking, exploring, investigating models, fair testing, making things, or developing systems.


L1 & 2:

Extend their experiences and personal explanations about the natural world through exploration, play, asking questions, and discussing simple models.

L3 & 4:

 Build on prior experiences, working together to share and examine their own and others' knowledge.

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

Participating and contributing

Bring a scientific perspective to decisions and actions as appropriate

 L1 & 2:

Explore and act on issues and questions that link their science learning to their daily living

L3 & 4:

Use their growing science knowledge when considering issues of concern to them.

Explore various aspects of an issue and make decisions about possible actions.

Living World


Achievement objectives relevant to this resource


Understand how living things interact with each other and with the non-living environment.


L1 & 2:

Recognise that living things are suited to their environment.

L3 & 4:

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

Learning focus

Students identify questions that can and cannot be answered by science.

Learning activity

The article discusses an environmental project, replanting some waste areas of a school's grounds. It focuses mostly on the planning involved and some of the steps the school and community took to realise the plans.

Adapting the resource

To focus the students on what science understandings were an important part of the process, ask them what science questions the students at Hukanui School would have needed to ask. For example:

  • What will grow well in the areas?
  • What conditions do specific trees/plants prefer?
  • What are the best conditions for specific plants for germinating?
  • What is the best time for planting?
  • What are the environmental conditions in the gully/waste area?

To reinforce this idea you could also ask them to identify questions that science could not answer. For example:

  • What is the waste area going to be used for?
  • What sorts of plants will be planted (e.g., natives, flowering, trees, etc.)
  • How will the project be funded?
  • Who will do the work?

What’s important here?

Supporting students to become scientifically literate, i.e., to participate as critical, informed, and responsible citizens in a society in which science plays a significant role is the purpose of science in NZC.

Being involved in environmental projects that are of personal interest to students gives them the opportunity to practise playing the "game of science". Scientifically literate citizens need to be able to ask questions that help inform their planning. They need to be aware which questions can be informed by science, and which are answered for other considerations such as purpose, ethics, finances and aesthetics.

What are we looking for?

Can students ask science related questions?

Can they identify which questions can or cannot be answered by science?

Opportunities to learn at different curriculum levels

For suggestions about adapting tasks in ways that allow students to show progress in engaging with science see  Progressions .

Exploring further

This activity would be appropriate for any environmental projects or “real life” issues that students are involved with.

Other resources for this capability

Yucky bugs (L1, 2, 3 & 4) Video from DOC website 

Staying Alive (L2) Connected 2, 2012

The Shell Collector (L2, 3 & 4) Connected 1, 2005

Rocky shore food web (LW2015) (L3 & 4) Assessment Resource Banks

Rapid response to the Rena (L3 & 4) Science Learning Hub

Tidal Communities: Interdependence and the Effects of Change (L3 & 4) Building Science Concepts, Book 22

Science Fairs (L3 & 4) No specific resource

Solving the dog death mystery (L5) Science Learning Hub

The Gene Seekers (L5) Applications, 2001

What’s my carbon footprint? (L5) Genesis Energy resource

Biomagnets (L5 & 6) NCEA Level 1 assessment exemplars

Key words

Connected, environment