Summary of Wetland Biodiversity - the big picture | NZ teachers, enrol in this LEARNZ virtual field trip

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Summary Page: Wetland Biodiversity - the big picture
Term 1 starting 14 March 2012.



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In preparation for the field trip you will find out why wetlands are important globally and the threats they face. You will discover the special nature of Ō Tū Wharekai and its unique wetlands. You will study the relationships between the land, the climate, the weather, the plants, animals and the people at Ō Tū Wharekai. During the field trip you will travel to the inter-montane basins of inland South Canterbury. Here you will climb into your waders to search for freshwater fish and invertebrates in the braided rivers. Take a closer look at the tiny plants that grow in ephemeral tarns. See how the special plants and animals within this ecosystem are interconnected and how they have adapted to survive in this harsh environment. Catch skinks and geckos in a fall trap and catch eels in a fyke net. Help monitor the wrybill population that lives on Canterbury's braided rivers and discover what is being done to counter threats to these species and their surroundings. Get your feet wet to learn how wetland plants affect water quality. Go bird watching at the lakes to look for the rare Australasian crested grebe. Gain an appreciation of the special value of Ō Tū Wharekai to Māori. Discover the recreational opportunities that exist in wetlands throughout New Zealand and why you are encouraged to visit them. By the end of the field trip you will have ideas on how you could help restore a wetland ecosystem near your place.

Where you will go

In many parts of the world, wetlands have important roles but they are under threat at the same time as awareness of their importance is growing. Ō Tū Wharekai, which includes the Ashburton Lakes and upper Rangitata River, are high-country freshwater wetlands that have been crafted through the ages by glaciation. The Hakatere Conservation Park, centred on the Ashburton Lakes, was opened in October 2007. It has habitat for native fish, trout, salmon, water birds, threatened native plants and aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates. It is one of the three national Arawai Kakariki project sites focusing on the ecological restoration of the foremost wetland freshwater sites in New Zealand.

Learning Areas/Levels

Science: Planet Earth and Beyond Levels 2-4, Nature of Science Levels 2-4, Earth and Space Science Levels 7-8, Living World Levels 2-4 & 6; Social Studies: Place and Environment Levels 2-4, Continuity and Change Levels 2-4

More Curriculum

Material is also relevant to Earth and Space Science 2.4 - Investigate how organisms survive in an extreme environment. Also Science 1.12 Investigate the biological impact of an event on a New Zealand ecosystem.

  • 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 live tweets on twitter, and daily additions such as a diary, video clips, profiles of the experts (ideal careers education), a photo gallery, and ambassador (mascot) page updates. Live web conferences via Adobe Connect enable teachers to managed 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 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 teacher comments in testimonials and in the LEARNZ Group on the VLN. 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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Introductory video for this field trip: Watch, embed or share on Vimeo or click below to watch here.



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Andrew the LEARNZ Field Trip Teacher.

Meet Andrew, your LEARNZ Field Trip Teacher

Inquiry Topics: aquatic insects, biodiversity, birds, Canterbury, conservation, environmental action, fresh water, glaciation, glaciers, lakes, life cycle, pests, plants, rivers, sustainability, threatened species, water, wetlands, wrybill

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