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  • Science capabilities connect the nature of science, the key competencies and the science content strands.

    In this online PLD session recorded on 19 May 2016, we explore the five core capabilities within the context of two soil moisture activities.

    The activities are designed for primary students, but there are multiple options for extension. The presenters use the student handouts to unpack each activity and make links with the capabilities.

    When doing topics with Planet Earth and Beyond, we almost always focus on the water cycle and the solar system. We’ve never thought about using soil as a topic. This will add a new dimension to our teaching.


    The first activity, Investigating soil moisture content, provides students with the opportunity to gather and interpret data via observation and measurement. Students can upload the data to a soil moisture database.

    A second activity, Using soil moisture maps, provides the opportunity to use the maps as evidence to support and/or critique student data. The soil moisture maps also provide practice with interpreting representations. Both activities have links to real-life contexts, making them ideal for the Engage with science capability.

    Soil activities and science capabilities

    In this professional development session, discover how two soil moisture activities can help students practise and strengthen their science capabilities.

    Soil activities and science capabilities – slideshow

    This is the edited recording of the Soil activities and science capabilities webinar.

    You can download the video and slideshow presentation or add them to a collection.

    Thank you for the webinar. We have been digging holes this week, thanks for the ideas. I would like to take up the opportunity for my class to email their questions to the Hub.



    Slideslide number(s)

    Video timecode

    Introducing the Science Learning Hub and presenters



    Primary Science Week



    Soil resources on the Science Learning Hub (SLH)



    The five science capabilities, links to NZC and SLH activities



    Investigating soil moisture content activity and links to Gather and interpret data, Use evidence and Critique evidence



    Using soil moisture maps activity and links to Interpret representations and Engage with science



    Science capabilities resources on TKI



    Nature of Science resources on SLH



    Order promotional material, SLH links, thanks



    Nature of science

    Students are given opportunities to ask questions, find evidence, explore simple models and carry out appropriate investigations to develop simple explanations. These opportunities engender much scientific discussion and sharing of ideas – helping to build scientific language and develop understandings.

    Related webinars

    Learn more about the capabilities and how to support them with the following webinars:

    You might also be interested in this PLD webinar recording, Soil – a focus for primary science week.

    Useful links

    Visit the Hub’s Pinterest board We dig soil.

    The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Science (NIWA) website provides 10 different soil and climate-related maps that are updated daily. Use the Daily climate maps to explore soil moisture, sunshine hours, temperature and rain.

      Published 26 May 2016, Updated 20 November 2019 Referencing Hub articles
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