Summary of Waste not wasted - the science of waste at Kate Valley | NZ teachers, enrol in this LEARNZ virtual field trip

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Summary Page: Waste not wasted - the science of waste at Kate Valley
Term 4 starting 5 November 2019.



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Did you know that we in New Zealand dispose of enough waste to fill a rugby field 30 stories high every month - even though over half of the rubbish we put dispose of can be recycled or composted? It's the choices we make that determine how much waste goes to landfills. But how much waste is actually "wasted"?

On this field trip, you will investigate how science and technology is being used to give new life to waste at a modern engineered landfill. You will see how methane from decomposing waste is captured rather than being emitted into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. You will follow the methane journey to onsite turbines where it is used to generate significant amounts of electricity that goes into the National Grid. Some of this electricity is used for e-vehicles including kerbside waste collection trucks. You will also take a big picture view of the Kate Valley landfill in the community with associated conservation projects, recreation spaces and water quality management.

To prepare for this field trip, LEARNZ content will support inquiry into:

  • What is waste?
  • The 5 R's of Waste Management - reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, residual management
  • Recycling and plastics - organics and non-organics
  • What happens to waste?
  • The Carbon Cycle
  • Decomposition, leachate, carbon dioxide and methane gas
  • Biodigesters big and small
  • Valuable waste
  • Collecting methane gas to generate electricity
  • Electric cars and trucks
  • What is a landfill?
  • The special liners used in modern landfills
  • The environment, water quality and modern engineered landfills
  • Community projects from modern landfill projects
  • Restoration, sustainability and the life of a modern landfill.

During this field trip you will:

  • See Andrew's tweets on twitter
  • Analyse what people send to the landfill = waste
  • Explore how at Kate Valley, waste isn't wasted!
  • Examine a model biodigester
  • Examine the landfill as a giant biodigester
  • Be inducted so you can enter the working area of the Kate Valley landfill
  • Follow the landfill process (arrival, unloading, compaction, daily covering, sealing)
  • Follow the network of methane gas collecting pipes to the generators
  • Visit on-site generators to find out how they make electricity
  • Measure the amount of electricity generated from landfill material
  • Go for a ride on a waste collection etruck
  • See how the landfill design protects the environment
  • Inspect water run-off and clever ways to protect native biodiversity
  • Walk through the restored native forest in the 400 Hectare Tiromoana Bush
  • Learn how the community get involved at Kate Valley.

After the field trip, challenge yourself to:

  • Start recycling or revisit your recycling practices
  • Review the materials and ingredients of your purchases and assess how easily they recycle or break down
  • Get more informed about organics and inorganics
  • Reflect on the amount of organics or green waste you produce
  • Build your own home biodigester
  • Find out more about your local landfill
  • Influence at least one other person to improve the way they behave as a citizen in purchasing, in recycling and in dealing with organics or green waste
  • Use a recreation amenity in your local area that you have never used before
  • Assess your carbon footprint and your energy use
  • Discuss how future landfills could be energy producing assets for the community, where 100% of all waste is organic
  • Put your own value on end-of-life landfills being turned into regional parks.

Where you will go

On this field trip to Canterbury you will go to Kate Valley, 60km north of Christchurch just off SH1 near Waipara in North Canterbury. In 2005 Kate Valley replaced 52 old landfills spread throughout Canterbury and combined them into a single operation built and run to the highest international safety and environmental standards. The landfill operation uses 37 hectares and the entire site is 1,000 hectares.After sorting and compacting, waste comes from as far away as Ashburton. The operations around Kate Valley's modern engineered landfill combine waste management, energy production, conservation and recreation.

Teacher comments about related field trips

"Being an Enviro School, this field trip provided real depth to the enviro theme. As an e-learning class, all of the resources were readily available to the students so they could have some 'student choice' in what they did. This is what 'personalised learning' is all about". John Brunton from Marshall Laing School

"This field trip was so appropriate for my class - they really enjoyed it and were excited to receive the 3 liner samples from the landfill at Kate Valley. As a teacher, this LEARNZ field trip has seen me use more technology in the classroom, while still including activities like interviews and visiting speakers".Ngawahine Apanui from Te Waha O Rerekohu Area School

"Under our sustainability inquiry during this field trip, students had a say in what they learned (student voice and agency); they were motivated to learn new things and were comfortable about this (personal agency); and they worked in groups to find answers (peer support). Also students are thinking about changes/actions needed in the future (future-focussed learning); and they worked with other students and people in the community who help them learn (connected agency)".Helen Kennedy from Waverley Park School

Go to More comments from teachers.

Note: The LEARNZ Team think that joining NZASE and staying connected through NZ Science Teacher will help you become a better teacher of science.

Learning Areas/Levels

Science: Living World Levels 2-4, Planet Earth and Beyond Levels 2-4, Physical World Level 2, Material World Level 2; Social Sciences: Social Studies Levels 2-5; Social Studies: Place and Environment Levels 2-4, Continuity and Change Levels 2-4, Economic World Levels 2-4; Technology Levels 2-4

  • 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

    Not Registered with LEARNZ? Are you a New Zealand Registered or Provisionally-Registered Teacher? Register free with LEARNZ Now.

    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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Andrew the LEARNZ Field Trip Teacher.

Meet Andrew, your LEARNZ Field Trip Teacher

Inquiry Topics: Canterbury, carbon cycle, catchment, changing values, chemical reactions, consequences of consumption, conservation, electric vehicles, electricity, electric generation, energy, environment, geology, land use, landfill, methane, recreation, rubbish, sustainability, technological innovation, waste, water quality

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