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Summary Page: Matariki and Navigation - Kupe, Cook and Today
Term 2 starting 11 June 2019.



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The 2019 sestercentennial commemoration of Captain Cook's first visit, called Tuia 250 First Encounters, is a time to reflect on the skills and knowledge of the people who discovered and founded Aotearoa New Zealand.

The small cluster of stars known as Matariki appear just before dawn, low on the north-eastern horizon in early June. This heralds the Māori New Year: a perfect time for our journey of discovery to explore the significance of matariki; to navigate by the stars; to paddle a traditional waka; to explore Cook's landing sites; to use 18th century navigation and charting techniques and to see how they compare with modern marine navigation and charting.

Our field trip will focus on the stories behind two great navigators:

  • It is generally believed the great Polynesian navigator Kupe arrived here from Hawaiki over 700 years ago. Tohunga kōkōrangi (expert astronomers) like Kupe used used stars and star clusters such as Matariki and constant observations of their environment to help them navigate across the vast Pacific ocean.
  • On the 6th of October 1769 (250 years ago), Captain Cook using the latest technology including the sextant and chronometer, sailed the Endeavour into Poverty Bay. Two days later he became the first European to set foot on Aotearoa New Zealand.

This will be a highly motivating and fun science and social science trip. Enrol now.

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

  • Discovery of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • The star cluster Matariki
  • Polynesian navigation
  • 18th century navigation and charting
  • Why maps matter? Location based information and technology
  • How GIS and GPS work
  • Using GIS to make smart online maps for everyone
  • Future Focus - New careers
  • The effects of new technology

During this field trip you will:

  • Follow Shelley's tweets on twitter
  • Explore the heavens to locate Matariki
  • Paddle a waka
  • Navigate by observing your environment
  • Sail to Ship's Cove in the Marlborough sounds
  • Use a sextant and chronometer to calculate your location
  • Use 21st century navigation techniques on board a modern ship

After the field trip, challenge yourself to:

  • Spot the star cluster Matariki
  • Think about what sailing to Aotearoa New Zealand would have been like in 1100AD and 1769AD
  • Use natural observations (birds, winds, sun, currents, stars) to help identify your location
  • Investigate study options and careers in the Geospatial Industry

Where you will go

Your journey starts in space where experts will guide you to the seven stars of the cluster Pleiades, known as Matariki. Returning to earth you will use that knowledge to help you navigate your waka across the Wellington harbour. After crossing Te Moana-o-Raukawa Cook Strait, you will follow Captain Cook's voyage in the Marlborough Sounds and stand on the very spot of 2 astronomy observation tents depicted in a painting by Cook's ship artist John Webber.

Teacher comments about related field trips

"This particular topic had all my students absolutely hooked - the 95% Māori students in my class felt it was about them and supported their culture and their own learning. I love the Inquiry focus, the research skills LEARNZ offers, the range of learning styles - with background information, diaries, audio conferences, images. All students are catered for". Diane Henderson from Ohaeawai School (2014 He Hokinga Whakaaro virtual field trip)

"Our focus was Social Sciences Geography and it certainly gave us some future focus discussion points. I also wanted to open their eyes to some possibilities re the use of technology and future careers". Susan Howes from Tauraroa Area School (2015 High Country hi-tech virtual field trip)

"My tauira (students) were well engaged about GIS, maps and cartography by the background readings, videos, photos and captions, and listening in on the audioconference. They relished the opportunity to experience the ferry, train and plane through virtual learning. Good links to the Social Sciences and also Technology". Ngawahine Apanui from Te Waha O Rerekohu Area School (2016 Where are we? Virtual field trip)

Learning Areas/Levels

Mathematics and Statistics: Number and Algebra Levels 3-4, Geometry and Measurement Levels 2-4, Statistics Levels 2-4; Science: Earth and Space Science Levels 2-4, Planet Earth and Beyond Levels 2-4, Nature of Science Levels 2-4; Social Studies: Continuity and Change Levels 2-4, Place and Environment Levels 2-4, Identity, Culture and Organisation 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

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Shelley the LEARNZ Field Trip Teacher.

Meet Shelley, your LEARNZ Field Trip Teacher

Inquiry Topics: celebrations, changing values, culture, cultures, customs, earth processes, future focus, geospatial, human impacts, hydrographic charts, identity, innovation, location based information, Māori, maps, Matariki, migration, navigation, Nelson, New Zealand History, people in the past, perspectives, science, scientific research, technological change, technological innovation, topographical maps, traditions, values, viewpoints, voyaging, weather, Wellington

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