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  • Students decided to create a ‘takeaway table’ with food for the birds who visited their school. But before they could stock it with food, they had to gather trustworthy data about which birds were actually in the local environment.

    Rights: © Crown 2013

    Connected article: The takeaway table

    An article in the 2013 level 2 Connected journal ‘I spy’ published by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.

    Photograph by Adrian Heke.

    This Connected article explains the steps the students took to accurately identify the birds. They created an observation form and a set of rules to ensure the data they collected would be reliable. After gathering data over a 10-day period, the students emailed local experts for advice. Armed with their new knowledge, they were ready to take action.

    This project has a focus on the science capability ‘Gather and interpret data’. The students worked to ensure their observations were accurate so that their inferences (conclusions about food options for the takeaway table) were valid.

    Integrating literacy and numeracy

    Opportunities to strengthen literacy and numeracy skills underpinned the entire investigation. In addition to filling out the observation forms, the students kept a written log, sent email messages and wrote an article for the online newsletter. They used a graph to present their data.

    Teacher support material

    Check your school resource area for the article from the 2013 level 2 Connected journal ‘I spy’, download it as a Google slide presentation from Tāhūrangi or order it from the Ministry of Education.

    Rights: © Crown 2013

    2013 Connected level 2: I spy

    The cover of the 2013 level 2 Connected journal ‘I spy’ published by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand. This issue includes the articles ‘What Alice saw’, ‘The takeaway table’ and ‘Look out for monarchs’.

    Micrograph of yellow mite by Eric Erbe; digital colourisation by Chris Pooley.

    The reusable content on Tāhūrangi links to Google Drive folders containing text and images from the article.

    Related content

    The article Conserving native birds – introduction has links to numerous related Hub resources.

    This is a curation of observation activities for primary students.

    Check out our entire range of Connected articles here. We’ve curated them by topic and concepts.

    Activity idea

    Birds in my backyard is a ready-to-use cross curricular teaching resource using The Takeaway Table. It has a worksheet in Word that educators can customise to meet the needs of their students and teaching programme.

    Useful links

    The Connected journals can be ordered from the Down the Back of the Chair website. Access to these resources is restricted to Ministry-approved education providers. To find out if you are eligible for a login or if you have forgotten your login details, contact their customer services team on 0800 660 662 or email

    Forest & Bird’s How to identify New Zealand birds webpage has suggestions for making careful observations, along with links to online resources that help with bird identification.


    The Connected series is published annually by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.

      Published 22 March 2019 Referencing Hub articles
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