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Ministry of Education.
Kaua e rangiruatia te hāpai o te hoe; e kore tō tātou waka e ū ki uta

"Talking to the River", School Journal, level 3, June 2018

25 June 2018

The first two pages of Talking to the River, a photograph of a man and a dog by the river

This story is about a farmer and a group of engineering and computing students from Victoria University of Wellington who collaborate to gather data about river pollution and publicise it.

You can find the article and the teaching notes here: Talking to the River, School Journal, level 3, June 2018

Other useful resources

Exhibition sees artists from around the world stay at Parihaka marae

The students who attended this event learnt about electronic systems to monitor environmental factors such as temperature, light, and moisture. There are some other environmental projects discussed in this news item.

Learning with the internet of things in primary and secondary

These students were using the internet of things including environmental monitoring of water levels at intermediate and secondary schools.

PledgeMe RiverWatch – Making a big splash to save our rivers

Watch a video on Riverwatch and see the successful fundraising campaign.

Discussion questions

These could include:

  • What were the environmental issues that Grant Muir was concerned about?
  • What were the four main challenges that the students who designed the prototype had to address?
  • What were some of the specifications the students needed to address when they designed the app?
  • Functional models are representations of potential technological outcomes and they exist in many forms (e.g., thinking, talking, drawing, physical mock-ups, computer aided simulations, etc.) Functional modelling is used to test design concepts to see if they are suitable for use in the development of an outcome. What were the different types of functional modelling that the students used when developing the app?
  • What were the benefits and limitations of the functional modelling carried out?
  • Prototypes are the first versions of fully completed technological outcomes. The purpose of prototyping is to test the outcome. Why do you think that both functional modelling and prototyping were both needed to support decision making when developing the app?

Indicators of progression for discussion starters

Component Indicator Level
Characteristics of technology
  • describe how societal and/or environmental issues can influence what people decide to make, how they would undertake planning, the selection of resources, and how they would make and test an outcome
Technological modelling
  • discuss examples to identify the different forms of functional models that were used to gather specific information about the suitability of design concepts
  • identify the benefits and limitations of functional modelling undertaken in particular examples
  • explain why functional modelling and prototyping are both needed to support decision making when developing an outcome

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