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  • Gather & Interpret dataGather & Interpret data
  • Use evidenceUse evidence
  • Critique evidenceCritique evidence
  • Interpret representationsInterpret representations
  • Engage with scienceEngage with science
  • Understanding about scienceUnderstanding about science
  • Investigating in scienceInvestigating in science
  • Communicating in scienceCommunicating in science
  • Participating and contributingParticipating and contributing
  • Living worldLiving world
  • Material worldMaterial world
  • Physical worldPhysical world
  • Planet Earth and beyondPlanet Earth and beyond

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Yucky bugs Capability: Engage with science NoS achievement aims: Participating and contributing Contextual strands: Living world Level : 1,2,3,4

The Big Picture and Yucky Bugs are good for us

This resource illustrates how these videos from the Department of Conservation website could support students to strengthen their capability to engage with science.

Curriculum Aims and AOs

The Nature of Science strand


Achievement objectives relevant to this resource

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 particular habitat.

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 engage emotionally as well as cognitively with the natural world.

Learning activity

Students watch the video of Yucky bugs . This video has the potential to engage students emotionally as it shows bugs as both fascinating and fearful. The presenter is enthusiastic and full of energy – he is obviously fascinated by the bugs himself.

Adapting the resource

Provide students with opportunities to talk about the video. For example:

  • What were the “yucky” things?
  • What were some amazing things they found out?
  • Were there any bugs they could describe as beautiful?
  • Are there any bugs that they now feel more positively about?
  • What are some of the “good things” bugs do?

After watching and discussing the video take the children outside on a hunt for as many different bugs as they can find. Encourage students to choose one bug and observe it closely and carefully for an extended period of time. Ask:

  • What does it look like?
  • How does it move?
  • Does it make any sound?
  • Does it have a smell?

As a follow up activity students could choose a bug and find out as much about it as they can from a range of sources. Students then present their bug to the class and make a case for why it is a really special creature that needs looking after.

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. If citizens are to be able to engage critically with science they need a functional knowledge of science.  It is not enough to be able to say what science is and what its strengths and weaknesses are, citizens need to be ready, willing and able to use this knowledge. This resource focuses on these “dispositional” aspects of the capabilities. Students are gathering and collecting data, using and critiquing evidence and representing their ideas about science but the focus is on engaging emotionally as well as cognitively.

A number of theorists argue that the experiences children have with nature during middle childhood are significant for the development of lifelong ecological understanding. “One’s knowledge about ecological processes and principles is made meaningful and personal by an emotional attachment to the natural world.” (Judson, 2010).

What are we looking for?

Are students excited by the activities?

Do they ask curious questions?

Are they developing a sense of the inter-connectedness of different life forms, including humans?

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

A huge range of activities could be used to encourage students to engage emotionally as well as cognitively. Story telling is a powerful technique. Extended experiential learning episodes such as camps and repeated field trips to a local stream, park, beach or bush area can also foster positive attitudes to the natural world.

The virtual field trips run by LEARNZ also have the potential to engage students’ imaginations especially if the class has an “ambassador” on the field trip.

Other resources for this capability

Staying Alive (L2) Connected 2, 2012

Hukanui Enviroschool (L2, 3 & 4) Connected 3, 2002

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

Rocky shore food web (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

Website, environment