At the Groynes or Styx Mill Conservation Reserve, students identify a range of stream invertebrates and explore the wider food chains and life cycles.

They then consider the importance of our biodiversity as well as investigating the impact of human choices on the sustainability of the ecosystem.

Year level:    3 to 8 
Curriculum level:  1 to 4
Availability: Available year round
Times: 9.30am to 11.45am or 12.30pm to 2.30pm (The Groynes),
9.30am to 12noon or 12.15pm to 2.30pm (Styx Mill)
Site: The Groynes or Styx Mill Conservation Reserve
Cost: Free
Number of Classes: One at a time (one class = 35 students)

Risk analysis and management (RAM)

Programme outline

Key concepts

Biodiversity, interdependence of the plants and animals, life cycles, sustainability, personal responsibility for action.

Lesson description

Students will investigate what lives in and around the streams in these areas, particularly looking at what factors impact on water quality. They'll get up close and personal to examine the fresh water invertebrates, and will find out what’s in the water that affects them. Students will have a personal empathy for these creatures as they participate in a role play game. This is serious hands-on action for students!

Possible learning outcomes

Students may be able to:

  • say why streams are significant places, what their value is and whether they should be protected areas
  • name a variety of animals that live in a stream and some of the factors they depend on to live successfully in this area
  • describe the relationships between the plants and the animals and their reliance on a healthy habitat
  • identify actions that they can take to help protect waterways.

Key competencies

  • Thinking - students are encouraged to display intellectual curiosity by suggesting ways of reducing pollutants in our waterways in order to improve the water quality to provide greater diversity of the water life they have been investigating
  • Relating to others - students are expected to interact effectively with others throughout group activities; they are afforded the opportunity to be involved in appropriately competitive as well as cooperative tasks
Learning areas Strands Curriculum level Achievement objectives
Science Nature of science 1 to 4
  • Investigating in science
  • Communicating in science
  • Participating and contributing.
Science Living world 1 to 4
  • Life processes
  • Ecology.
Science Planet Earth and beyond 1 to 4
  • Earth systems.
Social sciences   1
  • Understand how places in New Zealand 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.
Social sciences   5
  • Understand how people’s management of resources impacts on environmental and social sustainability
  • Understand how the ideas and actions of people in the past have had a significant impact on people’s lives.
Health and physical education Personal health and physical development 2 to 4
  • Safety management


"Thanks for a very worthwhile trip. I was impressed with the 'hands on' interactive learning opportunities." Teacher, Year 7

"Children were invited to move around and discover things for themselves. There was a great variety of activities." Teacher, Year 7

"I learnt that lots of different creatures live under water." Student, Year 5