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Social Sciences


Unuhia te rito o te harakeke kei whea te komako e ko?

Whakatairangitia – rere I uta, rere ki tai;

Ui mai koe ki ahau he aha te mea nui o tea ao,

Maku e ki atu he tangata, he tangata, he tangata!

Essence Statement

In the social sciences, students explore how societies work and how they themselves can participate and take action as critical, informed, and responsible citizens.

The social studies learning area involves students learning about the way society works and how people can participate as critical, active and responsible citizens. Contexts are drawn from the past, present and future and places within and beyond New Zealand.

Onehunga Fire Station Visit Onehunga Fire Station Visit
Students visiting the local Onehunga Fire Brigade


Through the social sciences, children develop knowledge and skills to participate and contribute to their communities and the wider world. Along with this they clarify their understanding of their own identity and place in the world. Students develop an understanding of the bicultural nature of New Zealand and the Treaty of Waitangi as well as multicultural perspectives on people, places, cultures, histories and economics.

Social Sciences is structured by integrating concepts from the following strands:

  • Identity, Culture and Organisation
  • Place and Environment
  • Continuity and Change
  • The Economic World

Onehunga Primary Concept Curriculum Plan

At Onehunga Primary School the social sciences learning area is part of a two-yearly cycle, which covers the following key concepts, understandings and driving questions. These are assessed through key SOLO Taxonomy thinking maps and self, peer and teacher assessment rubrics. The topics are learnt through different contexts to ensure children receive a wide range of learning opportunities throughout their time at school. Opportunities include actual experiences eg: trips, visiting experts, links to community events, enviro experiences and multicultural links.

Concepts Key Understanding Driving Questions Junior School Middle School Senior School
Relationships Knowing me, knowing you Are we connected? Relationships at home and school Relationships in my community Relationships in our country
Sustainability Protect our taonga for tomorrow Am I a kaitiaki? Sustainable actions at home and school Sustainable actions related to issues in Onehunga/ Auckland Sustainable actions related to issues in NZ/the world
Systems Many parts make a whole How do the parts connect? Sun, moon, light and heat Human effect on natural features & resources Earth systems (geosphere, atmosphere, biosphere)
Movement / Diversity A change of place Where did I come from? My class (where have we come from?) Onehunga (where have we come from?) NZ (where have we come from?)
Communities We share, we care - Tatou, tatou Does my place matter? I love Onehunga Onehunga through the ages Auckland/NZ communities
Change Moving from one state to another What is changing? Kitchen science - heating & cooling Changes of matter. Forensic science/reversible & irreversible change
Cycles A re-ocurring sequence What happens next? Life cycles Weather Water cycle
Innovation Something new What is the need? Movement & forces Light & sound Electricity & magnetism

Monitoring and Assessment

Student achievement in social sciences is assessed with SOLO rubrics developed in team planning and linked to the New Zealand curriculum.


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