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  • In this activity, students are given an opportunity to share what they know about the whio. Two methods of eliciting prior knowledge are modelled, whio bingo and an ideas wall. 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.

    Related content

    Examples of related articles on the Science Learning Hub include Who’s who in the duck world?, Introducing New Zealand ducks, Fantastic whio feathers, Conserving native birds – introduction and Conserving native birds – writer’s insight.

    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. The other PLD sessions are: Diving into inquiry with whio, Why learn about whio?, Inquiry outside the classroom, Taking action for conservation. In additon you may also want to see the recorded webinars Bird conservation and literacy and SLH and conservation.

    Activity ideas

    Some activities on the Science Learning Hub related to whio and other New Zealand ducks that you may wish to explore include Ethics in bird conservation, Eliciting prior knowledge, Whio feathers – what are they for?, Which duck is which?, Mixing and matching ducks, Duck dominoes and Ethics in conservation science.

    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.

    Posters are a great way of accessing small chunks of information in a very visual way. These Facts about the whio posters produced by DOC are in both English and Te reo Māori and provide a great starting point for finding out more about one of our most unique endemic birds.


    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 Referencing Hub articles
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