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

    In this online PD 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 student national soil moisture database.

    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.


    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.

    Watch the video of this professional development session (we recommend downloading it) and also see the links below to download the:

    • PowerPoint presentation
    • index for the PowerPoint and video.

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

    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.

    Useful links

    Check out this Pond bucket for links to some of the Hub’s soil resources.

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


      Published 26 May 2016 Referencing Hub articles