Introduction

Classroom activity | Levels: 2-4: This activity will introduce students to the concept of variety in nature.

Activity instructions

Understanding biodiversity

  • Introduce the idea of variety by giving the students a one minute challenge to write the names of all the plants, animals and insects they know.
  • Explain that ‘diversity’ is the name that we give to this variety. Develop the idea that this diversity is what makes life interesting.
  • Introduce students to the concept of variety in nature. Can they imagine a world where there was only one type of tree or bird? e.g. only pine trees and magpies.
  • Can they imagine a world with only buildings and roads and no green spaces in our towns and cities? What would it be like to live in this type of environment?
  • Explain that this variety of life is called biodiversity (short for biological diversity).
  • Challenge students to expand the following examples of biodiversity:
    • the differences between animals or plants of the same species, e.g. different types of ducks
    • different species who live in a particular area, e.g. birds, fish, insects, plants, fungus could all live in a wetland
    • differences between different environments (ecosystems) e.g. forests, wetlands, lakes etc.
  • Using the school and the local environment as a resource have students identify examples of the three different categories of biodiversity, e.g. 
    • birds, insects, trees, animals
    • living in the local area
    • identify and count the number of different bird species
    • identify and name particular environments within a local area (bush, wetland, stream). 

Interactive web-based research

www.biodiversity.govt.nz/kids/

  • This stimulating and easy-to-use bilingual resource has been especially designed for students to show them just how everything is connected.
  • Dion, Rick and Ani are fishing for whitebait but locals tell them that the fishing is not as good as it used to be. They decide to go on a journey up the creek, through the suburbs, rural land and to the source of the river to find out why. On their way they discover just how everything is connected. A comprehensive Teacher’s Guide is provided including resources, websites, background information, and classroom activities. 

Learning outcomes

Students will identify examples of biodiversity in their environment and communicate an understanding about the effect people have on their natural environment. This resource can be used with primary and secondary students. 

Curriculum links

Science: Nature of science

Level 1 and 2

Investigating in science: Extend their experiences and personal explanations of the natural world through exploration, play, asking questions and discussing simple models.

Communicating in science: Build their language and develop their understandings of many ways the natural world can be represented.

Science: Living world

Level 1 and 2

Ecology: Recognise that living things are suited to their particular habitat

Level 3 and 4

Ecology: Explain how living things are suited to their particular habitat and how they respond to environmental changes, both natural and human induced.

About the resource

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary 

Topics

  • Native animals
  • Native plants 
  • Pests and threats
  • Alpine
  • Marine and coastal
  • Estuaries
  • Forests and green spaces
  • Freshwater
  • Historic places
  • Offshore islands
  • Wetlands

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • English
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