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Summary Page: Freshwater Ecology - investigating water quality and biodiversity around Lake Taupō
Term 3 starting 29 July 2014.



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Teachers - can we take your kids fishing on the Tongariro River? Besides having a go at catching their own trout, your students will work closely with freshwater experts to assess water quality and they will join up with students from a local school in a conservation project. They will also meet up with a local rafting company that is directly helping endangered whio (blue duck) and educating water users at the same time. This trip fits well with big ideas like water, sustainability, communities, food webs, environments, bugs, rivers, volcanoes, taonga and special places. This is a highly motivating and fun trip. Enrol now.

In preparation for this field trip you will learn about:

  • the strong cultural and historical links that Māori have with water
  • the water cycle and water quality
  • Lake Taupō lake, forest and stream ecosystems
  • the threats to freshwater ecosystems including didymo
  • wai tourism
  • fishing and managing the Taupō fishery sustainably
  • whio (blue duck), a freshwater indicator species

During the field trip you will:

  • meet DOC rangers and scientists
  • go to Omori Bay on the southern shores of Lake Taupō and monitor smelt, key indicators of the overall health of the Lake Taupō food web
  • check the health of a stream by finding and identifying water bugs (macroinvertebrates)
  • go electric fishing to monitor the juvenile trout population
  • find out how the needs of industries such as tourism and hydroelectric generation, that rely on the river, are balanced with the needs of ecology
  • meet up with a local rafting company to see how they and their customers are helping endangered whio (blue duck)
  • see the diverse range of fish at the new Tongaririo National Trout Centre freshwater aquarium
  • visit a DOC fish trap and collect information from live trout
  • try fly-fishing for trout with local students
  • assess water quality by using the 5 'Cs'

Where you will go

You are travelling to Tūrangi 'trout fishing capital of the world', in the central North Island, on the southern shores of Lake Taupō. Here are some of the country's most pristine freshwater environments. You will explore the Tongariro National Trout Centre near Tūrangi which plays an important role in raising awareness of the importance of freshwater conservation and the need to create a sustainable fishery resource. The Centre has a freshwater aquarium, where you will see native fish and crustaceans, together with trout and pest fish. The Tongariro River flows off Mt Ruapehu past the Centre and into Lake Taupō. It is New Zealand's most fished river and is regarded as one of the best trout fishing rivers in the world. Note: weather and other factors out of our control may influence some activities during the field trip.

Learning Areas/Levels

Science: Living World Levels 2-4, Nature of Science Levels 1-4, Planet Earth and Beyond Levels 2-4; Social Sciences: Social Studies Levels 2-4

More Curriculum

This field trip has support material for Social Studies AO Level 1 How places in New Zealand are significant for individuals and groups. Level 2 How places influence people and people influence places. Level 3 How people view and use places differently. Biology 91155 Demonstrate understanding of adaptation of plants or animals to their way of life. Earth and Space Science 91190 Investigate how organisms survive in an extreme environment.

  • 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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    Already Registered with LEARNZ and activated your account? Log in to your personal MyLEARNZ Control Panel and then enrol your classes at no cost in field trips. Note: Enrolment is only needed for the current and future year's field trips.

    Registered but need help? Check your email for activation instructions - contact us if the message did not make it to your email inbox. Log on to MyLEARNZ. Go to Getting Started.

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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: adaptations, Bay of Plenty, blue duck, fisheries, food webs, fresh water environments, habitat, hydro energy, insects, invertebrates, lakes, life cycle, managing resources, native species, rivers, sustainability, Taupō, tourism, trout, water, water cycle, water quality, whio

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