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He aha he kai hauora? | What is a healthy food?

Testing the game: He aha te kaiora? | What is healthy food?

Prototype testing of Kiwi Kai - an educational tool exploring: He aha he kai hauora? | What is a healthy food?

This project is designing an educational tool to enable tauira (students) and their kaiako (teachers) to explore and experiment with a simulation farm. The tool aims to empower the player through making decisions to problem-solve real world scenarios, while learning about biodiversity and production in Aotearoa New Zealand. It also encourages systems thinking about cause and effect in our environment whilst engaging an emotional response that encourages caring for nature. Woven throughout the resource is Mātauranga Māori, grounded in te ao Māori, and te reo Māori me ōna tikanga, alongside science and other knowledge systems that reflect the cultural uniqueness of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Kia kaha te kai,
Taiao ora, 

Whenua ora, 
Tangata ora, 

Give strength and energy to food, 
Healthy environment,
Healthy land, 
Healthy people, 
Give life, energy, vitality

Our resource

Our educational tool is a novella-style farm simulator for children aged 8-12 years olds (school years 5-7). It will cover the first 3 years of looking after the farm.

In the simulator, students will be tasked to find sustainable approaches to farming, aiming to address manaaki te taiao (caring for biodiversity on the farm) whilst whakatipu te kai hauora (producing healthy food) and manaaki tangata (taking into consideration community wellbeing).

The digital farm will complement The NZ School Curriculum, and will be designed as a tool for teachers to use in the classroom. The learning outcomes align with Levels 3-4 of The NZ School Curriculum.

Our guiding strategy

To ensure the tool and supporting resources are fit-for-purpose, reaching and engaging their intended audience, the project is:

  1. co-designed with participating schools a freely available open-source, browser-friendly online tool that young New Zealanders find engaging, gives them a sense of autonomy and creativity, and motivates them to learn.
  2. delivering a tool framework that is agile (i.e. easily maintained at a low cost so its content can stay current) and inclusive (i.e. cognisant of students’ diverse visual and auditory needs). The tool’s data governance strategy is being codesigned with our partners, carefully considering data ethics, privacy, and sovereignty issues within its educational context and requirements.
  3. providing curriculum-linked learning opportunities, by addressing three elements of the curriculum content (to understand, know and do) to help teachers to design learning experiences aligned to their pedagogical goals, workplans, and schedules.
  4. actively promoting the tool and its supporting resources nationally to enhance their discoverability and uptake.

Ensuring scientific rigour

The educational tool design is informed by:

  1. components of an existing calculator for NZ farm biodiversity assessments previously developed using evidence-based processes involving stakeholders and scientists.
  2. simulation protocols that reflect the real-world social, economic and environmental context within which NZ farms operate.
  3. a rapid and low-cost prototyping process (that gains a fast start by adapting an existing game framework ) with our focal schools to trial and refine basic prototypes, before progressing the functional prototype.

Our partners

This project is funded by MBIE’s Unlocking Curious Minds and BioHeritage National Science Challenge as well as the Strategic Science Investment Fund for Crown Research Institutes (Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research). It is also supported by generous in-kind support from the Science Learning Hub, Enviroschools (via Otago Regional Council), New Zealand Association for Environmental Education, Horticulture and Agriculture Teachers Association of New Zealand, New Zealand Association Resource Management and Deer Industry New Zealand.

Students and teachers from Carisbrook School, North-East Valley Normal School and Te Kura o Ōpoho are helping us to design and refine our educational tool. Our core project team involves Geo AR Games, Wl Links and Carisbrook School, with additional expertise provided by The AgriBusiness Group, EFS Initiatives, New Zealand Council for Educational Research and Science Learning Hub.