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Science in the NZ Curriculum

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We are preparing to close this site soon as this content has now moved to Tāhūrangi .

Tāhūrangi is the new online curriculum hub for Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | Ministry of Education.

Nautilus image from NZ Curriculum

The New Zealand Curriculum sets the direction for science learning and provides a framework for your local curriculum.

In the science learning area, students explore how the natural physical world and science itself work. This enables them to be critical, informed, and responsible citizens in a society where science plays a significant role. 

Science learning area structure

The  science learning area is comprised of five strands. The core strand, nature of science, is required learning for all students up to year 10. The other strands provide contexts for learning. Over the course of years 1–10, your local science curriculum should include learning in all four context strands.

  • Nature of science – the unifying strand; what science is and how scientists work
  • Living world – living things and how they interact with each other and the environment 
  • Planet earth and beyond – interconnecting systems and the earth’s subsystems
  • Physical world – physical entities, such as light, sound, heat, waves, force, and motion 
  • Material world – matter and its changes; includes chemistry

Learning area structure  – Read more about each science strand on the NZ Curriculum online website. 

Achievement objectives  – The overall aims of science education are expressed as a series of achievement aims, grouped by strand. The achievement objectives at each level are derived from the aims and are grouped by strand. The achievement aims at each strand and an overview of the aims for Level 1 to 8 is detailed on the NZ Curriculum online website. 

As you plan, make use of the natural connections that exist between science and:

Science in the New Zealand Curriculum: Understanding progress from levels 2 to 4

Science in NZ Curriculum Understanding progress from levels 2 to 4  (PDF 4 MB)

This resource focuses on learning progress in the science capabilities between curriculum levels 2 and 4. 

It draws from what the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA) and states what students need to know and be able to do to meet curriculum expectations at these levels. 

How can schools make the most of this resource? 

This resource supports curriculum leaders in charge of science. Use it to check that your local science curriculum provides coherent pathways between years 4 and 8. Doing so ensures students leaving primary school have the science knowledge, skills and capabilities needed for future science studies.