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  • In this activity, students work together to make careful observations.

    Rights: Judi Lapsley Miller

    Male tuatara

    The tuatara is actually two species (Sphenodon punctatus and the much rarer Sphenodon guntheri) and has been classified as endangered since 1895.

    This is an adult male from ZEALANDIA, the red and blue neck beads are his identity beads.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • explain what an observation is
    • record and discuss their observations.

    Download the Word file (see link below) for:

    • introduction/background notes
    • what you need
    • what to do
    • discussion questions
    • extension idea.

    Nature of science

    Understanding the importance of careful observation is crucial to the NZC’s nature of science strands ‘Understanding about science’ and ‘Investigating in science’. The science capability ‘Gather and interpret data’ states, “Science knowledge is based on data derived from direct, or indirect, observations of the natural physical world….” Observations differ from inferences, which are the interpretations you draw from the observations.

    Related content

    Observation is essential in science. Like most skills, observation improves with practice and knowledge. Explore this further in the article Observation and science.

    See our nature of science resources.

    Activity ideas

    Below are more activities to help students ‘warm-up’ and stretch their observations skills. They are also ideal for practising the science capabilities ‘Gather and interpret data’ and ‘Use evidence’. Use our search to find more activities using observation.

    Professional learning development

    Take a look at our professional learning development webinar recordings to learn more about Developing an eagle eye and Making sense of what we see.

    Useful link

    Visit TKI to read more about the science capabilities.

      Published 25 November 2016 Referencing Hub articles
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