Educational Resources


Uawa Bioblitz Report

Two rare species discovered in Uawa/Tolaga Bay census: Students, aged 5-18, from Tolaga Bay Area School, guided by scientists from the Allan Wilson Centre, DOC, Te Papa, and Groundtruth, collected over 500 species of plants and animals in a 24-hour Bioblitz (12-13 Feb) – a survey of local biodiversity that will inform the restoration project underway there. Excitingly, they detected the presence of bats, the only native land mammal we have, and sighted the NZ Dotterel, a shorebird which is rarer even than kiwi and tigers! Full results will be posted on this site soon. The full report is now available here Or you can order a hard copy from l.bergen@massey.ac.nz.

 Uawa Bioblitz Report (1,300 KB)


PowerPoint Presentations

The Human Evolution presentations, prepared by Dr Hilary Miller, aim to introduce evolutionary concepts to Year 10 students, using the story of human evolution as an example.

Human Evolution Part One - human evolution part 1.pptx (8,041 KB)
Focuses on how humans evolved from ape-like ancestors in Africa to modern humans occupying every part of the globe. We show how scientists study our evolutionary history, using evidence such as fossil remains and genetics to back their theories, and how these theories may change as new evidence is found. In particular we highlight the contributions of a New Zealander, Allan Wilson, to our understanding of human evolution.

Human Evolution Part Two - human evolution part 2.pptx (6,057 KB)
Covers adaptation and evolution in modern humans, answering questions such as ‘why do we look the way we do?’ and ‘are we still evolving?’ We discuss how natural selection acts on genetic variation, using examples such as eye colour and disease resistance.

This presentation, prepared by Hilary Miller is aimed at senior biology students (Years 12 and 13) and fits with Nature of Science and Living World strands of the curriculum. It traces the story of how modern humans spread across the globe, beginning around 65,000 years ago with migrations out of Africa, and ending with the settlement of New Zealand 750 years ago.

From Africa to Aotearoa - Traces the story of how modern humans spread across the globe, beginning around 65,000 years ago with migrations out of Africa, and ending with the settlement of New Zealand 750 years ago. Students will learn how researchers are using genomics to address questions such as: How many migrations out of Africa were there? Did Homo sapiens interbreed with Neanderthals and other ancient human lineages as they spread across Europe and Asia? What does “race” really mean?

The pdf files contain notes for teachers to accompany each presentation.
 Human evolution ppt1 notes.pdf (903 KB)
 Human evolution ppt2 notes.pdf (869 KB)


Starters and Strategies

AWC members contribute to Starters & Strategies - a Teacher resource aimed at students Years 6-10.

2015, Term 3 issue -   Bats.pdf (1, 400 KB)
Discovering Pekapeka – Native Bats

2015, Term 1 issue -   Threats to our Birds (749 KB)
Threats to our Birds - We are very much aware that many of our native birds have become extinct

2014, Term 3 issue -   Hidden Treasure (490 KB)
Hidden Treasure - an exciting project helping us to understand and better protect our ecosystem

2014, Term 2 issue -   Arrival of our Hoiho (206 KB)
A penguin species extinct 500 years ago leads to the arrival of our Hoiho

2014, Term 1 issue -   Protecting our native species (386 KB)
Protecting New Zealand’s native species  from introduced predators and the actions we can take to help

2013, Term 2 issue -   Water a precious resource (234 KB)
Water is a precious resource. The need for clean water. Healthy Waterways – Healthy Ecosystems

2012, Term 4 issue -  Human Evolution and DNA (229 KB) 
Who do you think you are? Can you trace your family history? We all carry our history in our genes

2012, Term 3 issue  -  Giant Weta (191 KB)
Giant Weta, a New Zealand Toanga. Named Wetapunga in Maori – after “the god of ugly things”.

2012, Term 2 issue -  Tuatara (952 KB)
Tuatara, New Zealand’s Taonga. An amazing creature we must protect.


LENScience Senior Biology Seminar Series 2010

Former AWC Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Ceridwen Fraser, and AWC Director, Prof. Hamish Spencer, presented the fourth seminar, entitled 'Ancient Secrets in the Seaweed: Climate Change and Evolution', explaining how ancient climate change can be inferred from investigating bull-kelp genetics.

'Rethinking Polynesian Origins: Human Settlement of the Pacific' by Prof. Lisa Matisoo-Smith was the seventh seminar in the 2010 LenScience Senior Biology Seminar Series. Lisa’s talk focuses on using DNA to understand the settlement of the Pacific.


Tuatara demonstrations

Members of the AWC have a long record of excellent tuatara research. To request a visit to your school by the tuatara based at Victoria University of Wellington, please contact Sue Keall at susan.keall@vuw.ac.nz.