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Biodiversity resources NZ

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A project-based learning approach in this field trip

Project-based learning (PBL) is a suggested teaching and learning approach to support student-led inquiry into an area of interest. PBL provides opportunities for students to build key competencies and skills such as:

  • critical thinking
  • problem solving
  • collaboration
  • self-management.

Use the online field trip: Backyard Biodiversity: Take a closer look at your place to ignite student curiosity and questions, and the following framework to support student-led learning through PBL. The Department of Conservation also has an inquiry-based education programme called Habitat Heroes that supports students to explore and take action to improve a local ecosystem. 


Individually or in a group, students can explore resources in this field trip to:

  • Discover more: Interesting background information, images and page narrations about the field trip topic.
  • Connect with experts: Insights into field trip people, their interests and careers.
  • Explore field trip videos: Field trip videos and information–Use the questions on this page to help students consider key concepts.
  • Take a Google Earth for Web tour: A virtual experience using interactive maps, 3D images, video images and information.

See, Think, Wonder

Project-based learning requires a meaningful and authentic problem to solve or question to answer. Support students to identify an area of interest, including a problem to solve or question to answer, For example:

  • Problem: Some areas have a low level of biodiversity 
  • Question: So... How can I find out what lives in an area and how might this information help me to take action to restore biodiversity in this area.

Students can identify their own problem and question to answer as they engage with this field trip, supported by the following questions:

  • What do you SEE?
  • What do you THINK?
  • What did you WONDER about?
  • What QUESTIONS do you have?
  • What do you want to FIND OUT MORE about?


Help students to establish goals, plan, connect and create content and/or a solution. For example:

  • Plan and approach: Connect with people and information about identifying organisms and investigating biodiversity. Complete a bioblitz to find out what lives in your local area or backyard
  • Solution: Take action to help restore biodiversity to your area and share your mahi to inspire others.


Students analyse who they want to know about their project and why. Essentially who cares?

  • Who in the school and community would benefit from their ideas and information?
  • What careers connect with their ideas and information?
  • What organisations can use student ideas and information?
  • Is there need for a wider audience? National? Global?

Students identify how they will share their content for effective impact. Some examples include, but are not limited to:

  • School assembly and communications with whānau.
  • Showcase in a local library, community centre, cafe and/or to a local business.
  • A community event
  • Digital platform: in a movie, website, Google Earth for Web, on a school social media platform.
  • Local media outlets. 

Share your students' work with LEARNZ!

Send us a small file (less than 10Mb). You can do this as an attachment to share@learnz.org.nz.

If it's a large file, send a link to a public file/resource to share@learnz.org.nz.

For example, entries can be uploaded onto a YouTube account with the privacy option on ‘Public'. Or send a link to a file in your school Google drive, set it to ‘Anyone with a link’, as ‘Viewer’. Please do not send in large source files. Make sure you provide us with your students' first names, year group/s and the name of your school in your email. Add a brief description if you think it's needed. Before your students share any learning, please ensure you review it first; Any other media content, such as images and sound, need to adhere to appropriate Creative Commons licensing. Make sure any people who are in images and video have given their permission to feature.  

Student self assessments

Your students can complete the online student pre-assessment and post-assessment forms for this field trip. Once completed you can email barrie.matthews@core-ed.org to have your class submissions extracted and emailed to you. It's OK if just some of your students have filled them in or if they have submitted either self assessment rather than both.

Supporting activities

  • Video question sheet - Word (31k) | PDF (217k) | Google doc to use for each video (based on SOLO Taxonomy).
  • Web conference activity: Students can work on this activity while they listen to live or recorded web conferences - Word (25k) | PDF (167k) | Google Doc. Notes from these pages could be shared to help put together the class web conference summary
  • Webconference summary sheet: A class summary of an web conference is a great way of reviewing the information your students heard. It's easy to do, purely as some text, or as main facts on a picture background.  - Word (29k) | PDF (114k) | Google doc.

The LEARNZ team would love to see how students and teachers are participating in this trip! We will use your mahi to improve this and other online field trips, as well as share and credit any teacher and student contributions in our online spaces! Send to: share@learnz.org.nz

Useful links

Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research Teaching Resources
Explore teaching resources related to biodiversity including information on insects, pollinators, arthropods and how to complete your own BioBlitz.

Seek by iNaturalist
Try the student friendly version of the iNaturalist app.

NZ Birds Online
Identify New Zealand birds and find out more about different species.

NZ Bird Atlas
Get involved in recording your own bird observations and adding to the NZ Bird Atlas.

iNaturalist NZ Mātaki Taiao
Use the app or website to identify plants and animals.

Department of Conservation Education Resources
Take a look at these education resources designed for curriculem levels 2-4 to encourage students to explore their local environment.

Science Learning Hub
New Zealand education resources, including:

New Zealand Science Teacher
A resource published on behalf of the New Zealand Association of Science Educators (NZASE).