Eighty Million Years Of Evolution!

August 09, 2019 at 12:59 PM

Senior College Scholarship Biology students were taken back through eighty million years of time this week during a workshop delivered by educators from Auckland Museum to help review NCEA Achievement Standard 3.5: Evolutionary Processes Leading to Speciation.

The visiting educators, including former Saint Kentigern student, Ella Rawcliffe, brought to life the history of New Zealand, demonstrating the evolutionary processes that led to speciation. Covering a time of massive geological change when New Zealand first separated from the supercontinent Gondwanaland, through the ice ages, oligocine sea level rise, mass extinctions and the formation of many new species, to the rise of the Southern Alps, the students were engaged throughout, with much to learn from their visitors and plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

With the Museum’s display of precious and extremely rare fossils, moa bones, kiwi bones, tuatara skulls and giant weta, the students were drawn into the evolutionary stories of some of New Zealand’s most iconic species.

The hour long, lecture-style session let the students get hands-on with specimens from their collection, as well as gaining an insight into how speciation can be measured through the Museum’s recent research expeditions to Rangitāhua, the Kermadec Islands.  

This was an inspiring after-school session that led to plenty of discussion and learning experiences for our biology students aiming to sit NZQA Scholarship exams at the end of the year.  Scholarship biology students are expected to demonstrate higher level critical thinking and are required to analyse biological situations in terms of ecological, genetic and evolutionary principals, as well as demonstrate integration of biological knowledge and skills to a high level.

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