The conservation status of many New Zealand ducks is not ideal. At least seven native New Zealand duck species are extinct, and several are still endangered. One of the most endangered is the whio/blue duck. The main reasons for the decline in whio/blue duck numbers are loss of habitat and predation.
This is a science literacy activity designed to support students to develop their skills in reading and interpreting information presented in a variety of formats. In this activity, students will use resource materials to build their understandings about the whio/blue duck habitat and conservation threat level.
By the end of this activity, students should be able to:
- describe the habitat of the whio/blue duck
- identify the conservation threat level of a range of New Zealand ducks, including the whio/blue duck
- interpret the information provided in graph form.
This activity is designed to be adapted to meet student requirements, age, level and ability.
Nature of science
In this activity, students work like scientists to interpret information presented in a variety of formats. This develops skills relevant to the ‘Communicating in science’ strand of the Nature of Science in the NZC.
Download the Word file (see link below) for:
- background information for teachers
- equipment list
- student instructions
- extension ideas/prompting questions for teachers.
Download the PDFs (see link below) for:
- Duck information cards
- Duck fact cards
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.
There are also several teacher PLD sessions related to this topic: Bird conservation and literacy, SLH and conservation, Diving into inquiry with whio, Why learn about whio?, Inquiry outside the classroom and Taking action for conservation.
Some other activities on the Science Learning Hub related to whio/blue duck 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?, Ethics in conservation science, Which duck is which?, Mixing and matching ducks and Duck dominoes.
More detailed information about whio/blue duck can be found in the Whio Forever resource. You could also refer to New Zealand Birds Online, New Zealand Birds, Department of Conservation or 10,000 Birds.
The Department of Conservation 'Conservation blog' highlights some of the work they do. This blog post is about success in the Whione programme in the Kahurangi National Park.
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.