New Zealand is well known for its unique bird life. Our endemic birds evolved in an isolated, island environment. The arrival of people, the deliberate and accidental introduction of mammalian predators and destruction of bird habitats over millions of years have resulted in some species becoming endangered or extinct.

The learning outcomes of this teacher resource are that students will:

  • understand that living things evolve and adapt over many years, enabling them to become well suited to the area they live in
  • have an awareness of predation and habitat loss as causing the greatest decline in native bird numbers
  • gain an understanding of the various conservation methods used with native bird populations in New Zealand
  • have an appreciation of the way an ecosystem functions
  • be introduced to the idea that genetic variation is important for survival of a species.

Students will meet these learning outcomes by:

  • recognising adaptations common to New Zealand native birds and being able to classify them as structural, behavioural or physiological
  • taking part in an activity designed to make them aware of the importance of genetic variation in a population
  • making a tracking tunnel that will allow them to monitor the presence of a pest species in a nearby gully or in the school grounds
  • participating in an activity designed to enable them to make informed decisions about New Zealand conservation and look at this topic from a number of perspectives
  • building a food web representative of the New Zealand bush ecosystem using images of appropriate organisms.

Download the unit plan (see link below).

    Published 9 November 2010