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Biodiversity battleships

Activity idea

As a result of this student activity, students will:

  • develop knowledge of flora and fauna in a variety of New Zealand habitats
  • develop knowledge on Māori names for native flora and fauna
  • gain awareness of the extent of the loss of the New Zealand habitat, both before and after European settlement

Instructions

Working in an even number of small groups, each group draws flora and fauna from a particular habitat on a map grid. Pairs of groups then play ‘battleships’ to identify the extent of the loss of the New Zealand habitat, before and after European settlement.

What you will need:

  • Habitat card per group
  • Books/website resources with information about native New Zealand plants and animals
  • Battleship grid per group
  • Crayons and coloured pencils
  • Paper
  • Blu Tack or sticky tape
  • Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Investigate and research the plants/animals on your habitat card and become familiar with the English and Māori names. You need to draw each of these, so think about how to make each animal/plant recognisable from similar ones on the card, for example, flax and toetoe.
  2. Draw each plant/animal so they can be reduced in size to fit on the grid and copied the number of times indicated on their habitat card.
  3. Position the plants/animals on your grid.
  4. Working with another group, without seeing each other’s grid, take turns to call out grid coordinates. When a grid coordinate is called out, the other group has to ‘destroy’ that square on their grid by covering it with a square of coloured paper.
  5. Take nine turns each, so 30 percent of the grid has been destroyed. This represents the loss of habitat before European settlement.
  6. Discuss what has happened to the plants and animals in your grid.
  7. Take nine more turns each, so 60 percent of the grid has been destroyed. This represents post-European habitat loss.
  8. Discuss what has happened to the plants and animals in your grid.
  9. As a class, look at all the habitats together and determine if any ‘extinctions’ have occurred overall or what species have been highly reduced in number.

Habitat cards (English)

These can be printed, cut out and laminated so that each group can be given one habitat card.

Coastal

Fauna

Flora

Gull

8

Pohutukawa

8

NZ red back spider

2

Flax

10

Shag

2

Golden sand sedge

5

Kingfisher

4

Tussock grass

8

Oyster catcher

10

   

Forest

Fauna

Flora

Blue duck

4

NZ peppertree

5

Brown kiwi

4

Totara

12

Night parrot

2

Karaka

7

NZ wood pigeon

6

Black tree fern

5

Fantail

10

Kowhai

8

Tui

10

Red pine

9

NZ wattled crow

4

Slender tree fern

5

Marsh/Lowland

Fauna

Flora

Swamp hen

10

Flax

15

NZ wood pigeon

4

Kowhai

6

Fantail

10

White pine

10

Tui

9

Black tree fern

5

NZ wattled crow

3

Nikau palm

8

   

Tussock

10

   

Slender tree fern

5

Alpine/sub-alpine

Fauna

Flora

NZ falcon

1

Red tussock

12

Kea (alpine parrot)

4

Beech tree

7

Stitchbird

4

Alpine daisy

5

Long-tailed cuckoo

2

Turpentine plant

5

   

NZ peppertree

4

   

Ruapehu hebe

5

Habitat cards (Māori)
These can be printed, cut out and laminated so that each group can be given one habitat card.

Coastal

Fauna

Flora

Tara

8

Pohutukawa

8

Katipo

2

Harakeke

10

Kawau

2

Pingao

5

Kotare

4

Toetoe

8

Tōrea

10

   

Forest

Fauna

Flora

Whio

4

Horopito

5

Brown Kiwi

4

Totara

12

Kakapo

2

Karaka

7

Kereru

6

Mamaku

5

Piwakawaka

10

Kowhai

8

Tui

10

Rimu

9

Kokako

4

Wheki

5

Marsh/Lowland

Fauna

Flora

Pukeko

10

Harakeke

15

Kereru

4

Kowhai

6

Piwakawaka

10

Kahikatea

10

Tui

9

Mamaku

5

Kokako

3

Nikau

8

   

Toetoe

10

   

Wheki

5

Alpine/sub-alpine

Fauna

Flora

Kārearea

1

Red tussock

12

Kea

4

Tawhai

7

Hihi

4

Tīkumu

5

Koekoeā

2

Inanga ( Dracophyllum)

5

   

Horopito

4

   

Ruapehu hebe

5

Battleship grid
Print one battleship grid per group. Background scenery relevant to the habitat can be drawn (for example, river, mountain, sand dunes) and then the card can be laminated.

 

A

B

C

D

E

F

1

           

2

           

3

           

4

           

5

           

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