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Resources with Māori content

Teachers often ask what Māori content is available on the Science Learning Hub. Our material ranges from contexts and science stories to individual articles and teaching and learning approaches.

Tōku Awa Koiora – context

Kaitiaki are working to restore and protect the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River. Many of the principles apply to other New Zealand rivers too. The resources help students understand that scientists ask questions about our world and that open-mindedness is important.

It’s pretty cool because it’s native to us and something we need to protect and something that we should learn about and we should know. We should know about our history and what it was like back in the Māori days. We should know about our special creatures.

Student Emily comments on the benefits of learning about the science of a New Zealand species.

Navigating Without Instruments – science story

Navigator Jack Thatcher describes his waka hourua voyage from New Zealand to Rapanui (Easter Island) and back. The resources help develop the science capabilities of using evidence to support science ideas and interpreting representations to communicate in science.

Iwi and kaimoana

Students could use this article from the Where Land Meets Sea science story to examine socio-scientific issues affecting the marine environment (the Nature of Science strand of the curriculum). The article describes how concerns of local iwi about the effects on kaimoana of the oil spill and debris resulting from the Rena grounding (2011) led to effective collaborative research.

Kaimoana in the Hauraki Gulf

This research article from the Toxins context highlights concerns for iwi living around the Hauraki Gulf about the discovery of tetrodotoxin (TTX) in the grey side-gilled sea slug. It could be used to explore how science ideas are communicated and often link scientific knowledge to everyday decisions and actions (Nature of Science strand).

Using rongoā Māori

Students learn about rongoā Māori (medicines that are produced from native plants in New Zealand) using a silent card game. This activity, from the Fighting Infection context, helps develop the science capabilities Using Evidence and Engage with Science as students learn about medical problems that can be solved with native plants.

Rongoā Māori

This article, from the Fighting Infection context, talks about rongoā – the Māori term for medicines that are produced from native plants. Some of these plants and their medicinal properties are identified. Students’ understanding about science as a knowledge system can be developed through discussion of the information from the Rongoā Māori article.

Flight mythology – Māori kites

Early accounts of flight ideas are explored in this article from the Flight context. One of these is the Māori kite – a connector between the Earth and the heavens. Ideas about science are often first depicted in mythology as people sought to explain their observations of the natural world. Discussion of these ideas can build students’ understanding about science as a knowledge system.

Investigating middens

Using this activity and the article Middens from the Resource Management science story helps students understand how scientists gather and interpret data and use evidence to develop scientific ideas about how earlier people in New Zealand lived and kept healthy. The activity also allows opportunity to critique the validity of the evidence the students put together, thus incorporating a range of Nature of Science capabilities.

Māori soil science

When Māori first arrived in Aotearoa/New Zealand, they brought with them knowledge of soils. Like all soil scientists, they used observation and experimentation to gather data and develop processes regarding land use.  Find out more in this article about how Māori modified soils to promote kumara growth.   

Nature of Science

To ensure teaching and learning develops students’ Nature of Science capability, identify the aspect they need to develop when planning the unit and select activities and resources that will build this. For example, the Investigating middens activity can be used to build Investigating in Science capability.

Activity idea

Other activity ideas with links to Māori perspectives on using rahui to control a resource.
Threats to biodiversity

Another interesting activity to develop critiquing evidence capability.
Kupe and modern voyaging

Useful links

Further ideas on building Nature of Science understanding can be found at scienceonline.tki.org.nz/Nature-of-science/Nature-of-Science-Teaching-Activities external link and science capabilities at scienceonline.tki.org.nz/Introducing-five-science-capabilities external link.

The tentative nature of science knowledge

Exploring the links in this Nature of Science article Tenets of the nature of science provides ideas on the tentative nature of science knowledge shown in the science ideas about cockles.