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Teaching Freshwater

These are some of the existing freshwater education resources we have found around the country. All are free and available to teachers to use - use whatever parts are relevant to your classroom.

We have listed several Science Learning Hub resources, but there are plenty more - we recommend looking around the Science Learning Hub site as each article links to many more articles and activities.

Taranaki Regional Council

Focused on the concept, structure, biology and culture of rivers (awa). Great simple explanations and background information for teachers and students alike. A concise resource useful for Taranaki schools and further afield. 

Curriculum links explicit to levels 3 & 4, but activities could easily be adapted for different levels.

Water NZ

An illustrated factual booklet filled with information about water, including treatment and use in New Zealand. Particularly valuable for the diagrams - pictures speak a thousand words after all!

Years 6 and up

Whitebait Connection

Inquiry based resources, particularly good at supporting action at the end of the inquiry cycle. While these can be used in any area, if you are in a Whitebait Connection serviced area we encourage you to get in touch - they will provide significant support for your freshwater exploration and studies. Most applicable from year 4 upwards.

Aimed at years 5-8, this resource is probably the best guide we've come across for comprehensive water studies. It's based around Wellington region, but is easily adaptable to other areas.

What's for Lunch?

Simple resources and conversation starters for level 1-2 learners.

What is an invertebrate? Where do they live? What do they eat? What adaptations do they have? How do humans interact with freshwater environments and macroinvertebrates?

Great resource covering the basics simply and coherently.

CAREX | University of Canterbury

Kit available to schools local to the University of Canterbury, but online resources include worksheets and Youtube clips. Best focused on upper primary, intermediate levels.

Wild Eyes

Not exactly for your classroom, but Wild Eyes is a great, safe, and engaging way for students to explore their environment at home or nearby. A particular mission (like the stream spotlighting we've linked here!) could be set as a holiday challenge to students - continuing their learning outside the classroom.

This article covers New Zealand freshwater fish thoroughly, with the help of an interactive glossary for those unfamiliar with the language. Plenty of links to other places to go to continue the learning.

Teacher's guide, along with stunning posters and fact sheets, support learning about water scarcity for years 5-11

Set in an Australian context, a great way to investigate the challenges involved in managing waterways. There is thorough teacher background information, and places for students to improve their knowledge (to improve their score!). Best for curriculum levels 3-5.

A thorough background on aquatic plants: What are they?  What are they good for? Why are invasive aquatic plants bad? Great for teacher upskilling, or a research destination for older students (language is scientific).

Another quality article from Science Learning Hub - best for intermediate year levels upwards. The interactive diagram of the water cycle is an excellent resource for students to explore.

River ecosystems work a bit differently to lakes - use this article to introduce the reasons.
You might also like the Science Learning Hub activity 'River Connections'

Why should we care about litter ending up in our rivers, lakes, and oceans? This 'waste timeline' activity from TKI develops student understanding of how long waste lasts in the environment. Good to combine with other freshwater learning.

Waiology is all about water - species, issues, questions - all written by excellent communicators. This is a good resource for all high school levels, with topics to cover most interests in freshwater.

The Sciblogs website is for scientists who want to reach out to a general audience to explain their science and how it relates to society. All of them know what they are talking about and have an interest in engaging in discussion on the big science-related issues facing society. 

A list of resources produced by the Department of Conservation, including freshwater card games, Whio Forever education resource, and Habitat Heroes - exploring a local stream. There are a number of other freshwater related resources in the list - explore and see which ones work for you.

"It's not farming that's the problem - it's how we're farming"
Fairly detailed game for 2 players or teams, probably best for year 6 and up, looking at issues around farming and freshwater sustainability.

Explores the history, culture, and science of the Waikato River in the context of the Waikato River Deed of Settlement. Year 4 up, high school students will also find value in the resources.

Easily digestible statistics relating to freshwater in the world and in New Zealand.

A list of a few articles and videos featuring some of our charismatic native fish species. 

Issues of angler magazine 'Target Taupō' from 1989 to present. Great resource for those studying Taupō Fisheries management, or changes to the Lake through time. Best targeted to high school level - the publication is aimed at a general fishing audience.

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