Inquiry unit | Levels: 1-4: Use this resource to learn how to protect our unique estuarine environments.

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Protecting estuaries cover.

Protecting Our Estuaries education resource is an integrated curriculum teaching resource with New Zealand’s estuaries as a real-life context for learning. It is based on the New Zealand Curriculum for primary schools at levels 1-4 (years 1–8) but can be adapted for use at various levels.  

This resource contains teaching and learning material to support a unit of work, grounded in Environmental Education for Sustainability (EEfS)/conservation education themes and incorporates aspects of Te Ao Māori (a Māori worldview). The unit is based on an integrated, inquiry learning process, including science, social science, the arts and technology objectives alongside literacy and numeracy learning. 

Learning Objectives

Overall vision:

To provide students, teachers and their communities with opportunities to grow their knowledge, skills and understandings about estuaries, so that they can help resolve environmental challenges for in their local coastal areas and beyond. 

The exact pathways of learning and associated outcomes are up to students and teachers. Activities and suggestions in the resource enable the following learning opportunities:  

Connecting to estuaries (Te Taha Wairua)  

Students can:  

  • Form significant personal connections to their local estuaries  
  • Have awareness and sensitivity about local species and environments and start to care for them 

Knowledge, skills and understandings (Te Taha Hinengaro, Te Taha Tinana) 

Students can:  

  • Grow their understandings of estuaries in New Zealand 
  • Recognise the role of tangata whenua in estuary management and use 
  • Learn skills to help address issues for estuaries

Taking collective action and working with community (Te Taha Whānau) 

Students can:  

  • Act alongside the wider community to contribute to healthy estuaries and marine environments 
  • Participate in active sharing with the community to celebrate success and action

Download the resource

Learning levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary


  • Marine and coastal
  • Wetlands
  • Animals
  • Plants

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science
  • Health and physical education
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Technology
  • Arts


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