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The New Zealand Curriculum: Science

The New Zealand Curriculum sets the direction for science learning.  

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. 

Make use of the natural connections that exist between science and:

Achievement aims and objectives

Science education consists of strands and achievement aims. 

The science strands are:

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

Learning area structures – read more about each science strand. 

Achievement objectives – information about achievement aims at each strand and an overview of the aims for Level 1 to 8. 

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

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 and states what students need to know and be able to do to meet curriculum expectations at these levels. 

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

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.