Using an environmental education inquiry process develops essential skills as students become involved in finding information, examining different points of view, communicating with others and problem solving for environmental improvement. Providing support and guidance of the process for students is key for successful learning and action outcomes. Some students will require more scaffolding than others.
The skills involved in identifying, investigating and problem solving with environmental issues supports:
- the New Zealand Curriculum’s vision, principles, values and key competencies
- the aims of environmental education
- the guiding principles of environmental education for sustainability
- the science capabilities – specifically the gathering of data, use of evidence and engagement with science
- meaningful and place-based cross-curricular learning
- the New Zealand Government’s Environmental Education for Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan.
This interactive provides generic step-by-step guidance for planning and working through an inquiry investigation. It also includes links to Hub resources that will be beneficial in developing background knowledge and providing examples of commercial and community action.
The article Rivers and Us – a context for learning provides additional curriculum and pedagogical information.
In terms of the inquiry learning cycle, you’re looking at giving kids the opportunity to say, what is the current situation?
We are measuring the flow of the water through the stream.
Rivers and Us helps to find out what is the current situation. So what are the actions that are possible? That comes out of the data that this resource can develop. OK, so they take action, but then they also think, so what has changed? They reflect back on what’s gone well, what has improved? The difficulty could be this could take a very long time. But then you’re going to have that longitudinal investment by the school, by the students, by the community. That’s going to support an ongoing monitoring system. So being able to come back to reflect and then think, OK, so what now is our current situation? Because it’s an evolving system – it carries on, you know.
Te Whai Toi Tangata Institute of Professional Learning
The Fairfield Project
Hannah, Jess and Sam, Waikato Diocesan School for Girls
Waikato Regional Council
This video has been developed in partnership with the Waikato Regional Council as part of the Rivers and Us resource.