Learning through observation
Observation is an essential part of science and mātauranga Māori. Through observation we collect data, which enables us to make sense of the natural world. Observation is a skill and with practice and guidance students can learn to observe more scientifically.
Warm-ups for observational skills
Use the following activities to help students ‘warm-up’ and stretch their observation skills. They are also ideal for practising the science capabilities ‘Gather and interpret data’ and ‘Use evidence’.
- Observation: learning to see
- Observation and the mystery box
- What do we see?
- Piecing it all together
Using observation skills in the (school) field
Take advantage of the warmer weather to get outside for meaningful, hands-on learning through observation. Use the related content on each page to learn more about the science concepts that underpin the activities – students observe more scientifically when their observations are connected with increasing background knowledge.
- Te āta tirotiro i ngā hekaheka
- Observing fungi
- Observing harakeke
- Making and using a quadrat
- Observing earthworms
- Visual soil assessment
Citizen science projects
Citizen science projects offer a mix of outdoor and online observation opportunities. Although garden bird and earthworm surveys collect data at specific times of the year, students can learn and practice the methodologies at any time.
Online projects like Skink Spotter NZ and Penguin Watch – Zooniverse use video and satellite imagery for species monitoring. Participants use observation skills to determine if species are present or not – helping scientists with animal behaviour and population dynamics.
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We hope you enjoy using the Science Learning Hub – Pokapū Akoranga Pūtaiao in your teaching and would love to hear from you. Your comments, ideas and feedback can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Science Learning Hub – Pokapū Akoranga Pūtaiao
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