Teaching resources

NIWA's educational resources and scientific data are tools for young people to learn about science.

Links with teachers

NIWA collaborates directly with teachers through its involvement with the Royal Society of New Zealand Teaching Fellows. As part of the programme, Teacher Fellows participate in the life of the institute (including field work), engage in discussion and generally enhance their science skills and background. They work on defined projects and create teaching resources and activities to take back to the classroom.

Calculating the weather

Use our climate data to devise mathematics-orientated exercises for secondary school students. We also provide an overview of New Zealand climate data for use in school projects.

Climate and weather



New Zealand streams & rivers (PDF 371 KB)

  • Written by NIWA scientist Scott Larned and published by the Royal Society of New Zealand, the paper contains information about water quality, land-use changes and managing and restoring streams and rivers.

Alpha Issue 123: Fresh Water Aquatic Plants 

  • Written by NIWA scientist Tracey Edwards, this looks at native freshwater plants in New Zealand.


When fresh water meets salty water

  • A classroom exercise that explores the physics of estuaries.

Sedimentation: its impact on estuaries (PDF 1.3 MB)

  • Written by NIWA authors and published by the Royal Society of New Zealand (and also included in pages 19–26 of NZ Science Teacher No. 101), this resource describes NIWA’s fieldwork north of Auckland and in the Coromandel and looks at how  increased amounts of sediment impact estuaries.

New Zealand’s Sandy Coasts

  • A NIWA CD resource for science and geography teachers which covers coastal processes and hazards such as the effects of erosion on development. The introductory material includes information on how the content fits into the New Zealand science, physics and geography curricula.


The Iron hypothesis (PDF 1.6 MB)

  • Written by NIWA scientist Julie Hall and published by the Royal Society of New Zealand, the paper looks at the SOIREE iron fertilisation experiment in the Southern Ocean.

Marine biodiversity (PDF 442 KB)

  • Written by NIWA scientist Dennis Gordon and published by the Royal Society of New Zealand, this resource provides an introduction to the ecosystems of our ocean habitats. 

Spongy skeletons (PDF 17.4 MB)

  • Written by NIWA scientist Jill MacGregor and published by Learning Media Ltd, this resource about sea sponges is written for primary school-aged students. 
  • More sponge resources


Specific project ideas

NIWA Invertebrate Collection Manager Kareen Schnabel showing students some of the Collection. [NIWA]