Explore the rocky seashore and intertidal zone for creatures at Taylors Mistake or Sumner Beach.

A starfish found on the beach Students discover the amazing adaptations these life forms have made to survive in the coastal environment, and put their creative thinking to work with a design-a-creature challenge.

Year level 3 to 6
Curriculum Level 1 to 3
Availability Year-round
Times 2.5 hours between 10am and 2pm (tide dependent). 
Sites Taylors Mistake
Sumner Beach
Cost Free
Number of classes Maximum of 35 students

Programme outline

Key concepts

Biodiversity and the interdependence of the rocky shore, sustainability of the resource, human impacts, tidal zones and adaptations.

Lesson description and intentions

At the beach your students will observe coastal residents in their real environment, examining their wider habitat and the different zones of life. 

Students will consider animal adaptations which help them survive in the rocky shore environment.  They will examine the complexity of the relationships between people, and living things at the coast through food chains and human impacts on this special environment.

Possible success criteria

Students may be able to:

  • identify key reasons why the rocky shore is a special place
  • identify different organisms that live in the three coastal tidal zones
  • explain how living things can adapt to their environment to ensure survival
  • identify an action that they can take to protect and enhance the coastal environment.

Key competencies

  • Thinking – students are encouraged to reflect on their learning regarding different tidal zones in order to suggest reasons for different creatures adaptations.
  • Participating and contributing – students will be empowered to develop a sense of responsibility for sustaining social, cultural and physical environments making up Taylors Mistake/Sumner Beach.
Learning areas Strand Curriculum level Achievement objectives

Nature of Science

1 to 4

  • Communicating in science
  • Investigating in science
  • Participating and contributing

Living World

1 to 4

  •  Life processes
  • Evolution


  • Ecology

Planet Earth and Beyond

1 to 4

1 to 2

  •  Earth systems
  • Interacting systems
Social sciences



  • Understand how places in NZ are significant for individuals and groups
Social sciences  


  • Understand how places influence people and people influence places
Social sciences  


  • Understand how people view and use places differently
Social sciences  


  • Understand that events have causes and effects
Social sciences  


  • Understand how people's management of resource impacts on environmental and social sustainability
  • Understand how people's ideas and past actions impact significantly on people's lives
Health and physical education

Healthy Communities and Environments

1 to 2

  • People and environment


"Great knowledge of local habitat and sea creatures" – primary school teacher.