Students become a flock of migratory birds to consider the challenge facing the sustainability of natural habitats and they identify a selection of native trees and plants.

A teacher talks to three children next to some treesIn the Botanic Gardens, students explore scientific terms around the life and origin status of New Zealand biodiversity, before investigating how and drawing conclusions as to why our biodiversity has changed over time.

Year level:  5 to 8 
Curriculum level: 2 to 4
Availability: All year round
Times: 9.30am to 12noon or
12.15pm to 2.30pm
Site: Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Cost: Free
Number of classes: One at a time (one class = 35 students)

The Christchurch art gallery offers a complementary programme, please contact the art galery email: .

Risk analysis and management (RAM)

Programme outline

Key concepts

Native biodiversity, native and introduced species, extinction, habitat, human impact, sustainability.

Lesson description/intentions

At the Botanic Gardens, students explore the meaning of biodiversity and look at a timeline showing New Zealand's extinct, introduced and threatened species.

They will visit the native forest in the gardens to explore the different ways in which people value our native plants and animals. They will play a game to show the consequences of habitat destruction with the opportunity to discover what they can do to prevent the loss of more native plants and animals.

Possible success criteria

Students may be able to:

  • Explain the terms biodiversity, native, introduced, endemic, threatened and extinct.
  • Understand the human impacts upon native biodiversity.
  • Name a selection of native plants.
  • Identify actions that they can take to preserve native biodiversity.
  • Create their own artwork depicting their thoughts on native biodiversity.
  • Explain the different ways in which people value native biodiversity.

Key competencies

  • Using language, symbols, and texts - students use written, oral and visual texts to explore definitions of the origin and life status of creatures living in New Zealand
  • Thinking - students will use creative, critical and metacognitive processes to consider the consequences and real-life meanings of the information they have explored regarding the creatures who once lived and continue to live in New Zealand
  • Relating to others - students are expected to maintain effective interactions with their peers in a range of contexts offered through a variety of activities
Learning areas Strands Curriculum level Achievement objectives
Science Nature of science 2 to 5
  • Communicating in science
  • Investigating on science
  • Participating and contributing
Science Living world 2 to 5
  • Ecology
Social sciences   2
  • Understand how places influence people and people influence places
  • Understand how the status of Maori as tangata whenua is significant for communities in New Zealand
Social sciences   3
  • Understands how people view and use places differently
  • Understands how early Polynesian and British migrants to New Zealand have continuing significance for tangata whenua and communities
Social sciences   4
  • Understands how exploration and innovation create opportunities and challenges for people, places and environments.
  • Understands how people participate individually and collectively in response to community challenges
Social sciences   5
  • Understands how the ideas and actions of people in the past have a significant impact on people’s lives
  • Understands how people’s management of resources impacts on environmental and social sustainability
Health and physical education Personal health and physical development 3 to 5
  • Safety management 


"Excellent clear instructions. Enthusiastic team teaching in place. Great combination of hands on and teacher directed/student directed activities." Teacher, Year 8