Summary of Natural Hazards: our supervolcano | NZ teachers, enrol in this LEARNZ virtual field trip

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Summary Page: Natural Hazards: our supervolcano
Term 3 starting 27 August 2019.

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Did you know the world's most recent super-eruption created Lake Taupō 25,500 years ago? And did you know that the world's biggest eruption in the last 5,000 years also happened right here in New Zealand? It's no surprise that this volcano is part of 'The Central Taupō Volcanic Zone'; a supervolcano complex stretching from Lake Taupō to Mt Tarawera - and we're off to explore the Lake Taupō part! But don't worry, there's only a very small chance of another eruption any time soon.

You probably think of Taupō as a lake rather than a volcano. That's because 25,500 years ago the supervolcano erupted from a massive pancake of magma about 5km below the ground surface. When most of the magma had been erupted (more than 500 cubic kilometres!) the ground overhead couldn't be supported anymore and collapsed - leaving a massive depression in the middle of the North Island. The depression slowly filled with water, becoming Lake Taupō.

During the field trip students will follow the journey of legendary high priest Ngātoroirangi south from Maketū to Tongariro, visiting sites that tell the Māori creation story. Geologists will align this narrative with their understanding of the formation of the landscape from volcanic activity. Geologists are also trying to understand how our supervolcano currently works and what we need to do to prepare for an eruption. Enrol now.

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

  • natural hazards - earthquakes, tsunami, volcanoes, and landslides
  • the tectonic plates of New Zealand
  • the natural hazards of New Zealand
  • volcanic eruptions - magma, pyroclastic density currents (massive super-fast hot ash clouds), ash, lava flows
  • Māori accounts of landscape formations in the Taupō Volcanic Zone
  • preparing for natural hazards
  • responses to natural hazards
  • reducing volcanic hazards

During this field trip you will:

  • follow tweets from Shelley, the LEARNZ field trip teacher
  • get to know scientists studying our supervolcano
  • gain an understanding of Māori perspectives on, and connections to, these volcanoes
  • learn about Maori creation stories alongside the latest findings by volcanologists
  • visit Te Papa's new exhibition on supervolcanoes
  • find out about GeoNet, a partnership between EQC and GNS Science
  • see how GeoNet uses smart technology to monitor earthquakes and much more
  • follow the history of volcanic eruptions by looking at ash deposits
  • drive through the central North Island exploring the volcanic landscape
  • see how volcanic activity at Taupō might impact you
  • find out more about volcanic ash as a hazard
  • get to know what emergency managers do
  • appreciate the benefits of volcanoes eg geothermal power

After the field trip, challenge yourself to:

  • work out which natural hazard is the greatest risk to you where you live, and what the impacts would be
  • make your home more resilient to natural hazards
  • find out the location of your nearest active volcano
  • find out about the latest eruption of your nearest active volcano
  • find out about Māori accounts of your local landscape
  • assess your own risk from an eruption of your nearest volcano
  • install the GeoNet app on your mobile phone
  • find out more about interesting careers in earth science and natural hazards

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

Where you will go

Starting in Wellington you will take SH1 through the central North Island taking in the Volcanic Activity Centre in Tūrangi to our supervolcano: Lake Taupō. You will see why this area is one of New Zealand's star attractions, the result of its explosive geological past.

Last year you might have travelled to Iceland with us. Both Iceland and New Zealand are on tectonic plate boundaries and are geologically very active. Iceland's organisations and people continue to learn how best to prepare themselves for the next natural hazard event. We suggest taking a quick trip to Iceland before embarking on this supervolcano field trip. Comparing Iceland to the Central North Island will help you better understand natural hazards!

Teacher comments about related field trips

"The field trip allowed the children to dig deeper than just volcanism in Iceland. We had students who found they could look into New Zealand's Volcanoes and realise that it wasn't as simple as they first thought. The mechanics of how certain rocks had different colours and how to harness the earth's power for human use just blew their minds". Kate Hamill from Masterton Intermediate.

"The videos and background material on the Alpine Fault were useful to the students in their studies of Achievement Standard 1.1 - extreme natural events". Michele Larnder from Westlake Girls' High School.

"We live in a geothermal area so its relevance to our community makes this field trip appropriate. The field trips are a shared social experience that provides the opportunity for students to encounter and explore novel things in an authentic New Zealand setting". Ngareta Te Whau from Malfroy School.

"It (the virtual field trip) allowed our students to be involved and part of something that wouldn't be attainable in a normal classroom setting. It totally enhanced my learning programme and enabled me to get support and guidance using the NZ curriculum". Pauline Craven from Whakatane High School.

Go to more comments from teachers about previous Natural Hazards field trips.

Learning Areas/Levels

Science: Planet Earth and Beyond Levels 2-8, Nature of Science Levels 2-8, Earth and Space Science Levels 7-8; Social Sciences: Geography Levels 6-8; Social Studies: Place and Environment Levels 2-5

  • 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 daily additions such as a diary, video clips, profiles of the experts (ideal careers education), a photo gallery, live tweets on twitter, and ambassador (mascot) page updates. Live web conferences on our enterprise-level Zoom platform scales to enable multiple teachers to manage 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 school assembly or 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 some of over 1,000 teacher comments in testimonials. 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 on the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand website? 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 Using LEARNZ.

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Introductory video for this field trip: Watch, embed or share on Vimeo or click below to watch here.

New to LEARNZ? Go to Using LEARNZ.

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Shelley the LEARNZ Field Trip Teacher.

Meet Shelley, your LEARNZ Field Trip Teacher

Bay of Plenty, citizenship, earth processes, earth science, earthquake research, earthquakes, eruptions, extreme natural events, fossils, future focus, geohazards, geothermal energy, hazards, hydrothermal activity, lahars, landforms, landscapes, landslides, lava, mountains, Ngāuruhoe, planning for volcanic events, plate tectonics, rock types, Ruapehu, science, scientific research, seismic monitoring, Taupō, tectonic plates, Tongariro, tsunami, volcanoes, volcanology