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Summary Page: Land, Sky and Space - accurate satellite positioning takes off!
Term 2 starting 22 May 2018.



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Students on this trip will fly in the cockpit of a regional aircraft, travel in self-driving vehicles, see how rockets get into space and how we make rural land more productive!

Driverless vehicles or autonomous vehicles? Actually, in New Zealand we prefer to call them self-driving vehicles and you are going for a test-ride. How does this vehicle know where to go? How people are kept safe?

Travelling by plane around New Zealand? Did you know that large jets have their own on-board sophisticated navigation systems? You will travel on the flight-deck of a smaller turbo-prop plane that uses a very new and smart satellite system to help it navigate safely into regional airports. You will meet the aircrew and inspect the flight plan and find out how satellites are helping smaller aircraft to navigate more accurately and safely.

Heard of precision agriculture? Rural land is vital to New Zealand's economy and our well-being. You will meet Otago University researchers and students who are trialling new systems for surveying and mapping rural areas, that are leading to new careers, new ideas and better management of our precious rural land.

Heard of Rocket Lab? Visit a satellite ground station to find out how satellite communications work and how they are used in New Zealand's emerging space programme.

All of this is possible and increasingly convenient and safe because of the continuously improving accuracy of location technology; "the science of where". On this field trip you will find out about SBAS (Satellite-based Augmentation Systems), a new technology that is helping us to better know where we are.

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

  • Why maps matter? Location based information and technology
  • How GIS and GPS work
  • Using GIS to make smart online maps for everyone
  • How aircraft navigate
  • Smart mobile technologies
  • New Zealand and International Positioning Systems
  • SBAS: Satellite-Based Augmentation Systems
  • Self-driving vehicles
  • Drones and GIS for wilding conifer management
  • New Zealand's emerging space industry
  • Precision agriculture
  • Future Focus - New careers
  • The effects of new technology
  • Bringing a new technological product to market

During this field trip you will:

  • follow Shelley's tweets on twitter
  • go for a ride in a self-driving vehicle and find out how it knows where it is going
  • inspect the flight plan and go on a flight between two South Island cities
  • prepare a drone and follow it as it goes about its work on wilding conifer management
  • visit a satellite ground station and find out how data is transmitted to and from satellites
  • find out how accurate positioning from satellites can help to determine property boundaries
  • find out how accurate positioning from satellites is helping with the management of forests
  • learn about the threat of wilding pines and how they are managed better using geographic information systems (GIS) meet students who are studying for new careers

After the field trip, challenge yourself to:

  • keep informed about self-driving vehicles
  • keep informed about drones and their beneficial uses
  • think about how you and people you know could benefit from a self-driving vehicle
  • keep informed about New Zealand space industry - follow Rocket Lab
  • memorise common location-related acronyms like GIS, GPS, SBAS, RFID, and LIDAR and what they mean
  • use GPS apps to find your way and keep safe on the roads and in the outdoors
  • investigate study options and careers in the Geospatial Industry

Where you will go

You will be based in the South Island of New Zealand. Your journey starts in Christchurch and, over 3 days, ends up in Dunedin via Invercargill. In Christchurch, you are based around the airport. In Invercargill, you will visit a nearby forest and satellite ground station. In Dunedin, you will visit the School of Surveying at the University of Otago.

Teacher Comments

"It was great. They loved learning about GPS and GIS as it was something my Year 7/8 students hadn't done before. It covered a wide variety of subjects." Tracy Cappel from St Helier's School.

"This field trip was engaging, fun and challenging for all involved. It linked well with our technology unit and also supported the Principles, Values, Key Competencies, Learning Areas and Vision of the NZ Curriculum." Shelley Barbour from St Albans School

"This field trip provided ample opportunities for my Year 11 Geography students to engage in the subject matter and context. It was appropriate, and linked well to establishing a base understanding of GIS and some of its real life applications." Matthew Satherley from John Paul College

Go to more comments about related field trips.

Learning Areas/Levels

Science Levels 2-4; Social Sciences: Geography Levels 6-8; Social Studies: Place and Environment Levels 2-5; 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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Introductory video for this field trip: Watch, embed or share on Vimeo or click below to watch here.



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Shelley the LEARNZ Field Trip Teacher.

Meet Shelley, your LEARNZ Field Trip Teacher

Inquiry Topics: 3D maps, airport, Canterbury, driverless, drones, flight, forestry, future focus, gadgets, geospatial, GIS, government, GPS, innovation, interactive maps, land use, location based information, maps, Otago, satellite, self driving, Southland, survey, technological change, technological innovation, technology, topographical maps

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