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Further inquiry

Approximate duration: 4 lessons

Key competencies

  • Thinking
  • Relating to others

Effective teaching

  • Enhancing the relevance of new learning
  • Facilitating shared learning

Links to social inquiry processes

  • Finding out information
  • Exploring values and perspectives  

Conceptual understandings/learning intentions: Today we are learning that...

  • (Level 1) Explain who the Chinese Garden is important to and why.
  • (Level 2) Describe features of the garden and their significance to the Chinese culture.

(Level 1:) What did we learn about the Dunedin Chinese Garden? What are the key characteristics of a scholar's garden?

Background information about important aspects of the Chinese Garden


  • Symbolic of male rock (long and erect)
  • Symbolic of female rock (lots of holes)
  • Shape and texture all part of an art form
  • All rocks brought from Shanghai
  • Hole in the rock designed so you can see through to first church
  • Create scenery from the outside world


  • No nails used
  • Built in Shanghai, dismantled and brought to New Zealand and then reassembled by Chinese artisans
  • Inside/outside symbolising the cross between the worlds
  • The higher the doorstep, the wealthier the person
  • Lattice windows


  • Three lions guarding the entrance – male and female and a cub
  • Lanyuan is inscribed back to front – name of the gardens
  • You pass over the lagoon to separate the inside and outside worlds
  • When you arrive at the entrance you can’t see, to create an aura of mystery around what you will see


  • Species were specially chosen for our climate
  • Pine is an evergreen
  • Cherry blossom always flowers during winter, symbolising hope
  • Bamboo symbolises resiliance
  • Lotus
  • The plants were all chosen for their shape and are an art form in themselves


  • Fish has the same pronunciation in Chinese as “abundance”
  • Gold and silver meant money in that era
  • Goldfish meant wealthy, with an abundance of money

Activity 1

An important aspect is returning to the students KWL chart to add what they have learned about the Chinese Garden from their visit. This would work well in groups as students could share their ideas and listen to what knowledge others gained and add it to their own KWL.

Level 1: Suggested followup activities

  • What is important to you from the past? Why?
  • Look at the early Chinese settlers and what they did when they arrived in Otago – goldrush, market gardeners, successful business people
  • Look at the trees around your school. Do they have any significance to the past? When and why were they planted? Can you find any plaques?
  • Design your own rocks to symbolise things that are important from your past.

Level 2: What are the traditions behind the Scholar’s Gardens?

Background knowledge

It was designed as a scholar's garden which is a place for solitary thought and reflection, often to do with nature.

Please be aware that, as Wikipedia is a public document, accuracy of information cannot be guaranteed.

Level 2: Suggested follow-up activities

Use the information to take one key aspect from the Chinese Garden and investigate it further for example, rocks, plants, architecture. Why is it important? What is the tradition behind it?

Use the Alphabet Key to compile a list of words from A to Z about the Chinese Garden.

Use the Question Key to write five questions that give the answer as the Chinese Garden.

Use the jigsaw template. The children will fill in the jigsaw with information that they have gained from visiting the Chinese Gardens. They can share their jigsaw with others. They may focus on the one key aspect of the Chinese Garden or the whole experience.

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