Native trees in NZ

Native trees in NZ

Pencil and paper
Using this Resource
Connecting to the Curriculum
Marking Student Responses
Working with Students
This task is about interpreting a table.

The table shows some native trees and shrubs and the months that they provide either nectar or fruit and seeds for native birds.

Common Name Month
 Fivefinger   F F F F    N N N      
 Flax                    N N
 Karaka    F  F  F                
 Kowhai                 N N  
 Miro      F  F  F  F            
 Native broom N N  N                  
 Pigeonwood  F  F F F             F  F
 Pohutukawa  N    F              N

N = Nectar     F = Fruit and seeds

A family planted all of the above plants in their garden.  

In which four months of the year are birds that feed on fruit and seeds least likely to come to the garden for food? 
b) In which month do the greatest number of shrubs or trees provide nectar?

Tui are nectar feeders. In which month(s) are tui least likely to come to the garden for food?
Task administration: 
This task can be completed with pencil and paper.
Description of task: 
Task: Read a table to answer questions about when birds are likely to visit a native garden for food. Assessment focus: interpreting a table.
Curriculum Links: 
Science capabilities
The capabilities focus is brought about by the conversations you have and the questions you ask.
Capability: Interpret representations
This resource provides opportunities to discuss using tables to present science information.
Capability: Using Evidence
This resource provides opportunities to discuss using information/evidence in a table to make inferences.
Science capabilities: 
  Y8 (11/98)
a) July, August, September, October (accept J, A, S, O) Moderate
b) January Easy
c) April, May, June Moderate
Diagnostic and formative information: 

A number of research projects, including New Zealand's National Education Monitoring Project (NEMP), have found that students have more difficulty in reading tables when they have to manipulate the information. For example, in the table in this task it would be much easier for students to tell which months five fingers produce fruit, or which plants produce nectar in December, because it is a straight reading question. However, the questions asked in the task require students to interpret the information rather than just reading off the information.

Next steps: 
a) Reading tables
  • If students struggle with the questions in this task, make sure they can answer the simple reading questions described above.
  • Ask students to share their strategies for working out the answers, so students are actively thinking about the steps they need to take.
  • To extend students, ask further questions that require them to compare or calculate, or get students to pose their own questions based on the table.
b) Using the information:
In science, a table provides information that can be used for decision-making. This task is ultimately about interdependence. There should be some follow up activities (possibly just discussions) to develop some of the following ideas, depending on the focus of the science unit:
  • If you want native birds in your garden, the right food needs to be there for them.
  • Different plants provide suitable food at different times of the year.
  • Native birds feed from native plants (although some introduced plants may be suitable for some native birds).
  • Birds play a role in the pollination or seed dispersal of the plants.
  • Native plants and native birds have adapted over time to be dependant on one another.
  • Students could also look at specific birds and which plants would need to be planted to attract them either temporarily or year round. They could think about how scientists need to plan for food sources when they are creating sanctuaries or reintroducing birds to an area.