New Zealand Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Carrin Hahn

Carrin taught 3rd grade for ten years, worked as a learning specialist with K-5 students, and has a Master's degree in Elementary Education.

Students will learn general facts and a brief history of New Zealand and have an opportunity to research topics they find interesting. The lesson includes a game to test the students' knowledge.

Learning Objectives

After completing this lesson, students will be able to

  • Describe New Zealand's history from native people to European settlers
  • Identify things that are important to New Zealander's and their culture


60 minutes (some extra time is needed beforehand to create the BINGO cards)

Curriculum Standards


Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.


Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.

Vocabulary and Phrases

  • Kiwis
  • Haka
  • Maori


  • Computer access for students or pairs of students
  • Pre-made BINGO cards on cardstock (see lesson instructions)
  • BINGO chips to cover words

Lesson Instructions

1. Before this lesson, make BINGO cards for all students. Below is a list of words and phrases to put on the cards and the corresponding questions. The words are starred, and the questions are in parentheses.

  • two (number of big islands that make up NZ)
  • silver fern (plant that is the symbol of NZ)
  • Hobbits (characters in the Lord of the Rings books)
  • Matamata (place near where the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed)
  • Wellington (capital of NZ)
  • 1,000 miles (length of the two main islands)
  • Ring of Fire (area around the Pacific Ocean where volcanoes and earthquakes often happen)
  • Southern Alps (mountain range on South Island)
  • 3,000 (number of glaciers)
  • Mount Cook (highest mountain in NZ)
  • Maori (first people to live in NZ)
  • Polynesia (place from where the Maori came)
  • haka (Maori war dance)
  • Abel Tasman (first European to see NZ)
  • Dutch (country of origin of Abel Tasman)
  • James Cook (first European to land on NZ)
  • Britain (country of origin of James Cook)
  • 1986 (year NZ became independent)
  • lizards (some of the only creatures on NZ before Europeans settled)
  • flightless (describes the birds in NZ)
  • kiwi (famous flightless bird in NZ)
  • sheep (10 times as many of these as people)
  • Maori resistance (what happened when Abel Tasman tried to land on island)
  • European diseases and warfare (factors that led to Maori's population decline)
  • ANZAC (biggest holiday in NZ honoring those soldiers who died in wars- like US's Memorial Day)
  • hydroelectric dams (one big source of electricity in NZ; uses flowing rivers)
  • geothermal energy (electricity source that comes from the volcanoes on North Island)
  • rugby (a favorite sport in NZ)
  • stations (what sheep farms are called in NZ)
  • Pacific and Indian (two major oceans that surround NZ)

2. Find out what the students know about New Zealand - have they seen 'The Lord of the Rings' movies or read the books? Do they watch rugby?

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