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Overview of level 4


Celebrations banner

Curriculum Links


  •  Community engagement – globalisation
  •  Future focused themes – citizenship.


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

Conceptual understandings

  •  Celebrations reflect cultural practices which are important in all cultures
  •  Traditional celebrations can adapt and change when they take place in new contexts
  •  Asian celebrations influence aspects of New Zealand society.

Achievement objective

Level 4 – Understand how people pass on and sustain culture and heritage for different reasons and that this has consequences for people.

Key concepts

Culture, interaction, identity, citizenship, time, change, 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 BES 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 website

 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 create the exhibition
  • 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
  • Thinking books.

 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 4 social inquiry overview.pdf  1 MB


The MOE exemplar provides a guideline of the standard of work expected at this level, and may also give 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.

  • 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?
  • Do you think the exhibition showed a strong link between culture and celebrations and identity? Why? How?
  • Describe how you designed your objects display in the exhibition, so that it reflected the key concepts.
  • Before I started this unit, I thought/knew.....now I think.......
  • How did this change come about?

 In addition to the formative assessment suggestions, the children’s 'Thinking Books' will give a daily indication of current thinking and progress, as well as allowing teachers and students a focus for discussion and conferencing.

 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.


Egan, K. (2003). Start with what the Student Knows or What the Student Can Imagine? Phi Delta Kappan, 84 (6) p.443

Freeman & Levstik, (1986). Recreating the past. Historical Fiction in the Social Studies Curriculum. Elementary School Journal, 88, pp.329-337

Lickteig, M.J. & Danielson, K.E.(1985). Using Storybooks to Acquaint Children with the Continent of Africa, Social Studies, 86 (6) p 248

Levstik, L.S. (1989). Historical Narrative and the Young Reader. Theory into Practice, 28, pp114-119

Bishop, R. (2001). Changing power relations in Education: Kaupapa Maori Messages for Mainstream Institutions. In C. McGee & D. Fraser (Eds). The Professional practice of teaching (2nd ed.) (pp201-219). Palmerston North: Dunmore Press

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