Curriculum Lesson Starters

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Learning Suggestions for teachers of Years 4-8 students are listed below. Curriculum* links are indicated in brackets.

Use one or a mix of the following to develop a unit for a visit to the Bason Botanic Gardens.                                                                       *(L=Language; Sc=Science; M=Maths; H=Health; SS=Social Studies: PE=Physical Education: A=Art, T=Technology )

  • Classify a selection of tree species by leaf, bark, size and shape or flower and identify by scientific, Maori and common name. (Sc, L)
  • Draw a transect of a part of the Gardens and identify plant types growing on it (Sc, M)
  • Estimate the costs of 'balancing the books' of a public garden. Should we have them? (M)
  • Research the 'critters', helpful and destructive, which may be in these gardens. Consider also the pheasant and deer which used to be part of the Gardens' attractions. (Sc)
  • A palm is called 'the tree of life'. The only NZ native palm is the nikau. Investigate where it is grown in the Gardens and why it is called the 'tree of life'. (Sc,SS)
  • Make a collection of dried herbs and present with data as a book herbarium. Visit the Museum to see heritage samples. (Sc)
  • On World Environment Day (called Arbor Day in NZ) celebrated on the 5 June each year, discuss priorities for a botanic garden wanting to lead the way for a healthier environment. Find the United Nations international theme for the year and use it as the basis for research. (H,Sc)
  • Develop a model, or set of three models, showing what the Bason Botanic Gardens were like, are like and could be like. (A, M)
  • Conduct a survey to establish why people visit botanic gardens. (SS, T)
  • Explore conservation issues in the Gardens giving definition and examples. Consider propagation, recycling, power. (L,T)
  • Investigate the soil type and its care considering for example composting, irrigation, salt winds, chemical use (Sc,T)
  • Identify the different kinds of harakeke/flax in the Gardens' harakeke collection and find out about the Maori protocols of flax weaving. (Sc,SS,T)
  • Research wetlands, once considered wasteland and now realised for their importance. What are the features of the Bason wetlands? (Sc)
  • Design a botanic garden focussing on young visitors. (Sc, M, A, SS,T)
  • Research another Wanganui related botanist eg Reverend Richard Taylor, and their importance to the development of the region (L)
  • Organise a forum to discuss the recreational requirements of young, middle aged and senior visitors to Gardens. (H)
  • Determine what a 'pledge' is and its connection to 'passion'. Relate it to Bason's example. (SS)
  • Examine the classification groups (taxa) of living things. In more detail explore the Plant Kingdon of the five kingdoms method of classification and how DNA has changed the classification of cordyline (cabbage trees) from the Agave Family to their own Family. (Sc).
  • Interview the Custodian, Trust member or District Councillor and find out their feelings on the place of the Gardens in Wanganui's future (L)
  • Debate the need and requirements of recreational access as people move from the 'quarter acre paradise' to apartment living. (SS)
  • Develop policies for safety and health issues in a botanic garden. Consider both visitors and workers. (H)
  • Investigate careers and occupations related to ethnobotany and/or botanic gardens. (SS)
  • Experience an old fashioned style picnic in the Gardens and compare it to what you consider to be the most popular family entertainment today. (SS)
  • Compare heritage games played in a park with present day games eg kite flying to disc golf. (PE)
  • Select a quiet spot on your own in the Gardens. Consider what you see, hear and feel and write those feelings down in the form of a song/poem/rap. (A, L)
  • Role play possible situations experienced in Stanley Bason's life. (L,SS)
  • Debate the importance or otherwise of 'celebrating the seasons'. (L,SS)