Summary of Caves, Critters and Karst - discovering Waitomo Caves | NZ teachers, enrol in this LEARNZ virtual field trip

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Summary Page: Caves, Critters and Karst - discovering Waitomo Caves
Term 4 starting 18 November 2014.

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New Zealand's Waitomo Caves have been world renowned for over a century. The Waitomo Glowworm Cave made Waitomo caves famous but now they have a much-expanded tourism function that includes caving and black water rafting. Limestone landscapes dominate this geologically important area that has over 300 surveyed caves. Scientists from a large number of fields have studied cave systems, fossils and life in the caves. They have found glowworm predators, one of many examples of invertebrates with unique adaptations. People have learned to live with caves and have become a really important part of the Waitomo Caves story. Local Maori and European companies now depend on the caves for their living, with New Zealand and overseas visitors wanting a look or a thrill.

Where you will go

Your journey starts from Auckland where you will drive two hours south through Hamilton, onto SH 3 and through Otorohanga and then turn off to Waitomo Caves. The whole Waitomo area was under the sea 30 million years ago but over the last 150 years it has developed into a modern adventure playground with high cultural values and physical significance.

In preparation for this field trip you will learn about:

  • limestone landforms
  • caves
  • erosion by water
  • how to make your own crystal garden
  • adventure tourism
  • invertebrates in caves
  • fossils
  • European and Maori history of Waitomo Caves
  • The Treaty of Waitangi and the return of Waitomo Caves to Maori
  • land management and guardianship (kaitiaki of cave systems).

During the field trip you will:

  • be welcomed onto the marae with other students to begin your adventure
  • abseil into a tomo
  • go caving
  • go blackwater rafting
  • get up close to weird bugs and see how they are adapted to cave life
  • inspect spectacular rock outcrops and sink holes to see how they were formed
  • see where streams disappear and appear from underground
  • be an ecotourist and find clues to solve a puzzle
  • view old photos and footage to see how Waitomo once was
  • hear a local legend about a kuri
  • meet people who have careers in tourism
  • calculate the number of people who depend on caves in Waitomo
  • find out about kaitiakitanga and how the complex cave resource is sustainably managed and cared for.

After the field trip you will:

  • find a tourist place you would like to visit near you
  • create your own bucket list of (adventure) tourism activities
  • plan how you would go on a trip to Waitomo Caves from your place.

Learning Areas/Levels

Health and Physical Education: Healthy Communities and Environments Levels 2-5, Personal Health and Physical Development Levels 2-5; Science: Nature of Science Levels 2-5, Living World Levels 2-5; Social Studies: Identity, Culture and Organisation Levels 2-5, Place and Environment Levels 2-5, Continuity and Change Levels 2-5, Economic World Levels 2-5

  • Vision, Values, Key Competencies, Principles, Literacy and Numeracy

    By their nature, LEARNZ field trips integrate with the higher levels of the NZ Curriculum. Participation encourages development of the Key Competencies around Thinking, Using language, symbols and text, Managing self, Relating to others, and Participating and contributing. Teachers indicate this in testimonials. LEARNZ field trips have support and activities for Literacy, with opportunities to develop skills in Listening, Reading and Viewing and in Speaking, Writing and Presenting. More about LEARNZ as a Reading Resource and student writing opportunities with LEARNZ. Select LEARNZ field trips have support and activities for Numeracy, encouraging the development of skills in Number and Algebra, in Statistics and in Geometry and Measurement.

  • ESOL

    As well as providing visual and audio material and access to real experiences, LEARNZ links well to ESOL Principles, especially Principle 3 Maintain and make explicit the same learning outcomes for all the learners. How can I make the lesson comprehensible to all students? How can I plan the learning tasks so that all the students are actively involved? Do my students understand the learning outcomes? Principle 4 Begin with context embedded tasks which make the abstract concrete. How can I put these concepts into a concrete context?

  • What's in a Field Trip

    Every LEARNZ field trip has its own newly-built, self-contained web site ready for integration into your teaching and learning programme. Teacher Support has curriculum integration, resources, newsletters, support and evaluation. Prepare Students provides opportunities for student inquiry on two sets of image-rich background pages at reading levels 2 years apart, (students can click to have those pages read to them out loud), online interactive and other activities to check students' understanding, and a glossary. During the field trip there are daily additions such as a diary, video clips, profiles of the experts (ideal careers education), a photo gallery, live tweets on twitter, and ambassador (mascot) page updates. Live web conferences on our enterprise-level Zoom platform scales to enable multiple teachers to manage students putting prepared and spontaneous questions to experts (recorded for replay). After the field trip, teachers are encouraged to take further action with their class in the community or to go on a related field trip, or to invite a guest speaker, or to present what they have learned to a school assembly or wider group. Teachers also fill in an online evaluation (more about reflective practice), the field trip prize winner is drawn, and the final newsletter is sent. Content remains online for continued use.

  • How teachers use LEARNZ

    View some of over 1,000 teacher comments in testimonials. There are two main ways teachers use a LEARNZ virtual field trip with their class. Firstly, a LEARNZ field trip is ideally an immersive, engaging, synchronous, online learning experience with real-time components and a myriad of opportunities for teachers and students. Secondly, and less ideal but still effective, a LEARNZ field trip can be used as a retrospective experience where the resources such as photos, text, activities, videos and audioconferences/web conferences comprise a unique collection of authentic, contemporary New Zealand teaching and learning material.

  • What Now

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Shelley the LEARNZ Field Trip Teacher.

Meet Shelley, your LEARNZ Field Trip Teacher

Inquiry Topics: adaptations, adventure, blackwater rafting, catchment, caves, caving, crystals, fossils, geology, glowworms, invertebrates, iwi, karren, karst, land management, limestone, Māori, marae, rafting, tomo, tourism, Treaty of Waitangi, Waitomo

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