What’s on the beach? What gets washed up and what shouldn’t be there? This is a chance for students to investigate objects on the beach – natural and unnatural – and identify ways that they can contribute to sustainable coastal areas

Students searching the beach shoreline

Year level 0 to 4
Curriculum level 1 to 3
Availability Year-round (tide dependant)
Times 9.30am to 11.30am, or 
12.30pm to 2.30pm
Sites Spencer Park Beach
Waimairi Beach
North New Brighton Beach
New Brighton Beach 
South New Brighton Beach
Sumner Beach
Cost Free
Number of students Maximum of 35

Key concepts

Natural items and things made by people, litter and its effects on the environment, caring for our beaches.

Lesson description/intentions

Students will take part in a scavenger hunt to find things on the beach and then decide whether their finds should be at the beach.

They will spend time thinking about how some of those items have made it to the beach, how they could have an affect on coastal creatures and the various ways we can all help to care for our coastal areas.

They will take these ideas and create a huge message in the sand to share with other beach-goers.

Possible success criteria

Students may be able to:

  • identify key reasons why beaches are special places
  • identify things that would not naturally be on a beach and the problems that those items cause for coastal creatures
  • name things that live in and around the sand and are dependent on the environment for their survival
  • identify an action that they can take to reduce litter at the beach.

Key competencies

  • Thinking – students will employ critical thought to make decisions regarding the rightful place of objects on our beaches; we hope to empower students to suggest and carry out environmentally friendly actions for our beaches.
  • Participating and contributing – students will be given the opportunity to become actively involved in making a difference to the community through the learning and activities.
Learning area Strands Curriculum level Achievement objectives
Science Nature of science 1 to 3
  • Investigating in science
  • Communicating in science
  • Participating and contributing
Science Living world 1 to 3
  • Life processes, ecology
Social sciences   1
  • Understand that people have different roles and responsibilities as part of their participation in groups
  • Understand how places in NZ are significant for individuals and groups
Social sciences   2
  • Understand how places influence people and people influence places
Social sciences   3
  • Understand how people view and use places differently
Health and physical education Personal health and physical development 1 and 2
  • Safety management
Health and physical education Healthy communities and environments 1 and 2
  • Societal attitudes and values
  • Community resources, rights responsibilities and laws
  • People and the environment
The Arts Visual Arts 1 and 2
  • Understanding visual arts in context
  • Developing ideas
  • Communicating and interpreting
Mathematics and statistics Statistics 1 and 2
  • Statistical investigation 

"Pre-visit communication was excellent...park staff informative, enthusiastic, related extremely well to the age group, maintained interest and promoted enthusiasm. Curriculum objectives well met" – Teacher, Year 1