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Counting Kōura Capability: Gather & Interpret data NoS achievement aims: Understanding about science Contextual strands: Living world Level : 1,2

Author: Brian Gore. Connected 1, 2007, page 18

PDF icon. Connected 1 2007 (PDF 181 KB)

This resource illustrates how an article from Connected can be adapted to provide opportunities for students to strengthen their capability to gather and interpret data in the context of science.

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.

Investigating in science

Carry out scientific 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 of the natural world through exploration, play, asking questions, and discussing simple models.

The Living World strand


Achievement objectives relevant to this resource


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

L1 & 2:

Recognise that all living things are suited to their particular habitat.

Learning focus

Students observe closely and make inferences based on their observations.

Learning activity

This article provides an opportunity for students to differentiate between observation and inference. It draws on both traditional Māori knowledge and modern technologies to find out more about kōura.

Adapting the resource

  1. Show the students the picture of the kōura on pages 18 & 19 but hide the text. (You might like to enlarge the photo or print copies so students can look closely at the photo). Ask the students to look closely at the kōura and describe what they can see. You may need to prompt them. For example:
    • How many legs can you see? What do they look like?
    • Look very carefully at the big front legs. Do they look smooth or rough? Are they straight or bendy?
    • What colour is the kōura?
    • Look at the tail. How many bits (segments) can you see?
    • What do its eyes look like? What do the long feelers look like?
    • Look carefully at the face and head. What do you see?
    • What is the body covered with?

In this initial activity discourage students from making inferences – just get them to describe what they can see.

  1. Now ask the students the question in the first paragraph of the article, “How do you think a kōura might move around?
If the students say “the kōura walks” ask… If the students say “the kōura swims” ask…

What makes you think so?

Do you think it uses all its legs for walking? What makes you think so?

What makes you think so?

In answering these questions, students are making meaning based on their observations, i.e., they are thinking about what they see (interpreting data).

  1. Now ask students to look carefully at the pincers and ask:
    • What do you think these are for? Prompt the students to elaborate on their answers, backing up their ideas with evidence (this could be what they can see in the photo or prior knowledge).
  2. On page 21 there is a photo of a kōura being measured. Get the students to look closely at the photo and ask:
    • What can you see?
    • Why might it be important to measure the kōura?
  3. Page 22 describes a variety of ways scientists tried to count kōura. Ask:
    • Why do you think the scientists wanted to know how many kōura there were?

This article contains the answers to these questions but focus on how the students justify their ideas, rather than on what the text says.

What’s important here?

What counts as evidence in science are observations (direct and indirect) of the natural physical world. Scientists put effort into ensuring they have robust data (i.e., that their observations are accurate). This often involves measuring something.

Developing an appreciation of what counts as evidence in science supports 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. (This is the purpose of science in NZC.)

What are we looking for?

When you ask, “What do you see?”

  • Do students limit their answers to things that are observable?
  • How much detail do they include?

When you ask, “What do you think?”

  • Do students support their ideas with their observations?
  • Do they draw on a number of observations to support their ideas?

Opportunities to learn at different curriculum levels

For suggestions about adapting tasks in ways that allow students to show progress in gathering and interpreting data see Learning at different curriculum levels.

Exploring further

If you want to include this activity as part of a larger unit of work, consider providing video footage of kōura. Students would then have opportunities for different sorts of observations, for example, how kōura move, how they feed, and so on.

Connected 1, 2007 contains several other articles with detailed photos that would be good for encouraging close observation and inference. Generally the information in the text will give teachers the necessary background information to be able to support students as they think about what they observe (that is, make inferences).

The Science Learning Hub has a student activity called Observation: Learning to see  about the Maud Island frog. This could easily be adapted for Level 1 and 2 students.

The Building Science Concepts series includes several booklets that all contain activities that could be used to foreground observation for Level 1 & 2 students, for example,

The last 2 booklets are also accompanied by picture packs that could be useful.

Other resources for this capability

Key Words

Building Science Concepts, animals