Explore the issue of coastal erosion - through natural processes and human interference.

Students on the beachStudents investigate the Christchurch coastal environment and discover how it has evolved through coastal processes and human responses.

They will build their own beach profile using coastal management techniques and engage in roleplay to showcase their learning.

Year level 9 to 13
Curriculum level 4 to 8
Availability Year-round
Times To be arranged with Ranger. Duration 2.5 to 3 hours
Sites North New Brighton Beach
New Brighton Beach
Cost Free
Number of students 35 students

Key concepts

Coastal management techniques (sand fencing, vegetation, gabions, groynes, sea and rock walls), erosion, values positions over the height of the sand dunes, human impacts along the Pegasus Bay Coast.

Lesson description/intentions

This programme takes on a practical approach where your students will be able to build a mini-dune system and beach profile. They will work with coastal park rangers to manage their beach area by constructing their own sand fences, put vegetation in place and build groynes, gabions and sea walls. Then students will have a chance to enter a debate considering the future of the sand dunes taking on the perspective of a wide range of community members.

Students will consider the impact we have on a coastal area (past and present) and look at ways that they can minimise their impact on that environment. They will also have a chance to make their own mark in protecting and enhancing the environment, by participating in a beach clean-up or dune planting exercise depending on the time of the year.

Possible success criteria

Students may be able to:

  • identify key reasons why coastal environments are special places
  • make a dune system
  • name at least three influences that might negatively impact on the beach
  • describe methods of coastal management
  • provide positive and negative feedback for at least one of the management techniques described
  • explain how people have used the coast and how the coast has changed from past to present
  • identify at least three interest groups related to dune management in the coastal region and name at least one of their interests or concerns with how the dunes are managed
  • identify one management technique they consider to be most appropriate for the Pegasus Bay Coastal area and justify their decision
  • identify an action that they can take to reduce dune erosion
  • name flora and fauna living in a coastal environment.
NCEA Geography 1.6 (90207) Describe a Contemporary geographic issue
NCEA Geography 3.1 (90701) Analyse a geographic environment, focusing on the interacting natural processes
NCEA Geography 3.6 (90706) Analyse a contemporary geographic issue and evaluate courses of action

"I was really impressed with the interactive nature of the unit and the way students discussed with their peers each structure they had built. Judging by the feedback we had from them they appreciated the lesson too." Teacher, Year 13

"The coast is constantly changing due to natural processes but these processes can be altered and managed to a degree."  Student, Year 13