In this activity, students are given an opportunity to share what they know about the whio. Two methods of eliciting prior knowledge are modelled. Although whio/blue duck is the focus in this example, these methods can be easily adapted to any context. The second part of the activity moves from eliciting prior knowledge to formulating questions that may become the basis of a student inquiry into whio.

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

  • share their prior knowledge about the whio
  • share experiences they have had regarding conservation
  • formulate questions for research and inquiry that will extend their current understandings.

Download the Word file (see link below) for:

  • background information for teachers
  • equipment list
  • student instructions
  • extension ideas/prompting questions for teachers.

Nature of science

This activity provides a starting point for a student led-inquiry – by applying their learning to conservation action, students are experiencing aspects of working like scientists. This links to both the communicating in science and the participating and contributing strands of the nature of science in the NZC.

These activities were outlined in the first of a series of four PLD sessions outlining an inquiry process using whio as a context Diving into inquiry.

Useful links

The Whio Forever project was created through a partnership between the Department of Conservation and Genesis Energy, producing a set of resources developed to support student inquiry about whio. There are also several other videos and articles you could look at to learn more about whio, for example, Spare a thought for the blue duck and Remote Blue Duck Station is haven for whio, kiwi and bats


This activity was developed by the SLH to support the Department of Conservation’s Whio Forever project, which was developed in conjunction with Genesis Energy.


    Published 20 April 2017