Science is a way of investigating, understanding, and explaining our natural, physical world and the wider universe. It involves generating and testing ideas, gathering evidence – including by making observations, carrying out investigations and modelling, and communicating and debating with others – in order to develop scientific knowledge, understanding, and explanations. Scientific progress comes from logical, systematic work and from creative insight, built on a foundation of respect for evidence. Different cultures and periods of history have contributed to the development of science.
AF8 [Alpine Fault magnitude 8] is an award-winning programme of scientific modelling, response planning and community engagement designed to address that knowledge gap.

The nature of science

The nature of science strand is the overarching, unifying strand. Through it, students learn what science is and how scientists work. They develop the skills, attitudes, and values to build a foundation for understanding the world. They come to appreciate that while scientific knowledge is durable, it is also constantly re-evaluated in the light of new evidence. They learn how scientists carry out investigations, and they come to see science as a socially valuable knowledge system. They learn how science ideas are communicated and to make links between scientific knowledge and everyday decisions and actions. These outcomes are pursued through the following major contexts in which scientific knowledge has developed and continues to develop.

The living world

The living world strand is about living things and how they interact with each other and the environment. Students develop an understanding of the diversity of life and life processes, of where and how life has evolved, of evolution as the link between life processes and ecology, and of the impact of humans on all forms of life. As a result, they are able to make more informed decisions about significant biological issues. The emphasis is on the biology of New Zealand, including the sustainability of New Zealand’s unique fauna and flora and distinctive ecosystems.

The physical world

The physical world strand provides explanations for a wide range of physical phenomena, including light, sound, heat, electricity, magnetism, waves, forces, and motion, united by the concept of energy, which is transformed from one form to another without loss. By studying physics, students gain an understanding of interactions between parts of the physical world and of the ways in which they can be represented. Knowing about physics enables people to understand a wide range of contemporary issues and challenges and potential technological solutions.

Planet earth and beyond

The planet earth and beyond strand is about the interconnecting systems and processes of the Earth, the other parts of the solar system, and the universe beyond. Students learn that Earth’s subsystems of geosphere (land), hydrosphere (water), atmosphere (air), and biosphere (life) are interdependent and that all are important. They come to appreciate that humans can affect this interdependence in both positive and negative ways.
Students also learn that Earth provides all the resources required to sustain life except energy from the Sun, and that, as humans, we act as guardians of these finite resources. This means knowing and understanding the numerous interactions of Earth’s four systems with the solar system. Students can then confront the issues facing our planet and make informed decisions about the protection and wise use of Earth’s resources.

The material world

The material world strand involves the study of matter and the changes it undergoes. In their study of chemistry, students develop understandings of the composition and properties of matter, the changes it undergoes, and the energy involved. They use their understanding of the fundamental properties of chemistry to make sense of the world around them. They learn to interpret their observations by considering the properties and behaviour of atoms, molecules, and ions. They learn to communicate their understandings, using the symbols and conventions of chemistry. Using their knowledge of chemistry, they are better able to understand science-related challenges, such as environmental sustainability and the development of new materials, pharmaceuticals, and sources of energy.

Connecting with the environment

Explore and connect with nature – at home!’ in a padlet. This is a wider collection that you can visit and browse if you wish. However, if you are looking for something specific, a quick email or phone call to one of us might be a quicker option, so we can point you in the right direction.
DOC have also just released their education newsletter ‘Pitopito Kōrero’. This edition highlights ideas for learning from home and enjoying your nearby nature. You can read it here or go straight to DOC’s new webpage
Thank you to Enviroschools Facilitator & Freshwater Educator for Marlborough District Council, Anna Crowe

Wildeyes website This website is so much fun and highly interactive. Children sign up, upload a selfie or avatar, and then choose a nature mission to complete. Most of these can be done in their own backyard.
They then upload a photo of their completed mission to advance up the levels and earn points and new ‘wild eyes’ for their avatar. Supported with high quality, fun videos, instructions and ideas, the learning may start online, but will quickly progress to the great outdoors of children’s backyards!

Learning with nature

Create a nature journal: Nature Journal template Activities from the Enviroschools ‘Me in My Environment’ resource Pattern Hunt If the Earth Were an Apple The Last Sunflower Help nature in your backyard Make a bug hotel Make paper seedling pots Grow some kowhai seeds:Watch this video about how to plant beetroot seeds: There are lots of kowhai seeds around at the moment. If you don’t have any in your own back yard, collect some on a neighbourhood walk. Rub a corner of the seed on a sheet of sandpaper (or concrete step/path) as they have a hard seed coat that needs a small part to be scratched off before sowing. They may take a little longer to grow than beetroot seedlings but hang in there and keep the soil moist.

Technovation Families: Technology Learning and AI education for kids and parents

Technovation Families (formerly the AI Family Challenge) is working to bring STEM education opportunities to families all over the world. Families learn about artificial intelligence, STEM fields, and examples of machine learning through hands-on, cutting edge ai projects. Learn more at

What is Wonderville?

Wonderville is a blended learning digital platform that offers comprehensive teaching tools, including ready-to-use lesson plans, assessments, reporting, and award-winning games, videos and activities. Explore the power of Wonderville for your classroom. Make science fun and engaging for your students.