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Overview of level 2

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Curriculum links


  • Community engagement
  • Future focused themes – citizenship, globalisation


  • Diversity, as found in our different cultures, languages, and heritages
  • Respect for themselves, others, and human rights
  • Community and participation for the common good

Key competencies

  • Thinking
  • Using language symbols and text
  • Participating and contributing
  • Relating to others

Specific aspects of the key competencies are highlighted throughout the unit.

Conceptual understandings

  • Celebrations are cultural practices that reflect peoples' customs, traditions and values.
  • Celebratory symbols represent significant aspects of culture.
  • Celebrations can have similar purposes, while being expressed in a variety of ways.

Achievement objective

Level 2 – Understand how cultural practices reflect and express people’s customs, traditions, and values.

Key concepts

Culture, interaction, identity, citizenship, tradition, whānau, community, migration, participation, remembrance, commemoration, ritual, protocol, heritage, ancestry, symbolism, diversity.


In this unit, Ako is seen as an acknowledgment of the expertise all children bring when looking at culturally based celebrations.

"Ako is grounded in the principle of reciprocity and also recognises that the learner and whānau cannot be separated. Culture Counts; knowing, respecting and valuing who students are, where they come from and building on what they bring with them."

Ka Hikitia, p.20

Overview of pedagogy used in terms of Best Evidence Synthesis in Social Sciences mechanisms

Making connections to students' lives

  • Storytelling by students about personal celebratory experiences
  • Use of students and whānau as experts
  • Using analogy to develop conceptual understanding
  • Storytelling from local people who were involved
  • Links between school and home
  • Use of cultural universals
  • E-pals

Aligning experiences to important outcomes

  • Identify prior knowledge
  • Uncover misconceptions
  • Narrative resources chosen to specifically address known misconceptions
  • Narrative able to be re-visited as many times as needed
  • Multiple opportunities through a variety of learning experiences
  • Whole class discussion, small group and individual work
  • Being explicit about use of resources and experiences and why they are being used

Developing and sustaining a learning community

  • Encouraging student experts, telling their stories and leading discussion
  • Developing the feeling of being a whānau/team as we share with the community
  • All reading and discussing the same text means knowledge can be built on a shared experience
  • Importance and emphasis placed on student and whānau experiences and stories

Designing experiences that interest learners

  • Using primary sources
  • Mix of texts with the telling of stories to give variety
  • Community guests visit school
  • Narrative has emotional appeal and cultural relevance
  • Variety of experiences, from use of photographs to object handling and exhibition
  • Variety of digital, pictorial and written resources

Level 2 social inquiry overview.pdf  1 MB


Social studies exemplar: Time, continuity and change – Family treasures gives a guideline of the standard of work that can be expected at this level, and an idea for a possible assessment task.


Ideas for formative assessment can be seen throughout this unit of work. This project lends itself well to both self and peer assessment.

Suggestions for reflection/self assessment:

  • What was the most interesting part of this learning?
  • What was the most challenging part of this learning?
  • What helped you?
  • What was tricky?
  • What would you change?
  • Before I started this unit, I thought/knew... now I think...
  • How did this change come about?

The activities in the brainstorming section of the unit can be used as assessment tasks, repeated at any time through the unit to monitor changes in conceptual thinking, and to guide future teacher planning.

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