Add to collection
  • + Create new collection
  • Observation forms the basis of both mātauranga Māori and science.

    Possibly the most powerful model of inspiration that we can draw from our ancestors is that of careful, purposeful care and observation. Through approaches informed by time-honoured holistic observations, and enhanced by technological advancements, our fluency in the reo of the awa can be renewed

    Tina Ngata, Ngāti Porou, on the whakapapa of life-giving freshwater

    Observation is a skill that improves with practice and knowledge. Our senses allow us to gather information about our local environment. They help deepen our understanding about things while piquing our curiosity to discover more.

    Rights: Jan Ramp, Snapper Graphics

    Kopuatai Peat Dome

    The Kopuatai Peat Dome on the Hauraki Plains covers nearly 10,000 hectares.

    This activity offers observation experiences in an outdoor school setting. Use it to expand student experiences regarding observations or as a practice session before visiting a wetland, forested area or other natural habitat.

    Rather than set out prescribed instructions, this resource will identify ways in which students can carry out observations and build their science capabilities.

    In this activity, students have the opportunity to actively use all five senses to make observations in an outdoor school setting.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • make an observation using one or more senses
    • make an inference from an observation
    • share a question that arises from the observation
    • transfer skills learned in a school-based observation to other outdoor settings.

    Download the Word file (see link below).

    Related content

    Read about scientific observation in these articles

    Use these activities to practise observational skills

    Use this activity to practise literacy skills

    These PLD webinars offer help in building students’ observation skills

    Useful links

    Te Reo o Te Repo – The Voice of the Wetland is a wetland restoration handbook created within a te ao Māori perspective. It has a strong emphasis on observation and listening to what the repo have to tell us. Although observation is key to all aspects of repo restoration, these sections have information about using the senses other than sight that will be useful for monitoring and gathering information:


    Thank you to the editors and contributors of Te Reo o Te Repo – The Voice of the Wetland for permission and support to adapt this publication, and funding from Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research and MBIE’s Unlocking Curious Minds initiative.

    Rights: Crown Copyright

    The Voice of the Wetlands

    The handbook Te Reo o Te Repo – The Voice of the Wetland forms the basis of the collection of resources funded by Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research and MBIE’s Unlocking Curious Minds initiative.

      Published 19 November 2020 Referencing Hub articles
          Go to full glossary
          Download all