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Cross-curricular approaches based on values

The New Zealand Curriculum (page 10) describes values that inform all curriculum areas.

Several values are integral to accounting, for example, community and participation, ecological sustainability, diversity, integrity, and equity.

Values-based planning encourages collaboration between teachers of different curriculum areas and can create synergies in learning for students.

Sample values context: Sustainability

Why is this learning important?

Relevance to their current and future lives

Students will understand that there are global, national, and local needs for sustainability. They will learn to understand their responsibilities as individuals and the contribution they can make as members of a household now and in the future.

Identified student need

Students need to gain a greater understanding of the non-financial and financial issues linked to sustainability. In considering sustainable businesses, students will learn about the triple bottom line for a business: people, planet, and profit.

Links to other learning

This learning lends itself to working with teachers from a variety of other curriculum areas such as science, mathematics, economics, geography, home economics, and digital technologies.

Who are the learners I am working with?

Planning for teaching sustainability depends on the students in the class. Not only should their interests, prior knowledge, ethnicity, and specific learning needs be taken into account, but also the other subjects they are taking. Teachers become facilitators of student learning across their various subjects.

What content could be explored?

The overarching context could incorporate power generation and consumption, energy efficiency, and sustainability. Content could be introduced at levels 6, 7, and 8 with sustainability as the value to be explored.

Sample unit 1: Energy options for households and organisations


Families are facing increasing electricity bills that put pressure on the monthly budget.

  • Investigate money-saving options such as switching power companies.
  • Investigate power-saving options such as installing insulation, timing showers, replacing lights bulbs with energy efficient options, government subsidies for energy saving options.
  • Consider which options would contribute to a more sustainable future for New Zealand.

(Possibilities other than a home include energy saving for schools, clubs, and so on.)

A local organisation

The local council is planning to construct a new aquatic centre that will include multiple swimming pools, changing facilities, and a fully equipped gymnasium.

As part of its contribution to the conservation of the environment, the local council wishes to explore the various options for an efficient and sustainable power source.

Each of the samples in this unit should explore at least two options for power supply, for example, solar panels, wind power, and so on.

Topics that could be covered include:

  • looking at source documents, for example to prepare a household budget (power bill, rates, insurance, vehicle expenses, credit card statement, food receipts) or an organisation’s budget (invoices, receipts, quotations, and so on)
  • budgeting, including income vs outgoings, essential spending (non-discretionary), non-essential (discretionary) spending
  • analysis and interpretation, for example, expense percentages could be explored for a household/organisation to make comparisons between years and/or months
  • decision-making processes
  • suppliers
  • capital and revenue expenditure
  • links with other community organisations/local businesses/national government
  • research
  • identifying and evaluating alternative sources of funding, for example, business sponsors, grants, government subsidies, donations (level 6 = financial decision-making for groups; level 8 = management decision-making, cost volume profit analysis).

Examples of specific links to other curriculum areas include:

  • Accounting/geography/economics: Explore the financial and non-financial impact of choosing different energy sources on the environment.

Compare local environment resources with national resources, for example, students could investigate the sources of power that are more favourable in Rotorua as against Queenstown, looking at wood, coal, geothermal, wind, waste product gas production, hydro electric, solar, and so on.

  • Accounting/science: Compare the implications of costs for insulation and energy transfer based on understanding of convection, conductivity, radiation, and so on.
  • Accounting/mathematics/digital technologies: Develop and use a spreadsheet to analyse the costs of changing energy use and energy conservation in the short and long term. Present the information in appropriate graphical formats.

Learn more:

Links to assessment

Formative assessment can be used throughout the learning to assess understanding, misconceptions, and areas for further study. Students may want to adopt their own organisation to explore the different content being taught and to assess their comprehension of the different concepts being learnt.

Learn more:

Using values-based examples could contribute to achievement in the following accounting and related subject area achievement standards:

  • AS90981 Accounting 1.6 Make a financial decision for an individual or group; Internal, 3 credits.
  • 91408 Accounting 3.5 Demonstrate understanding of management accounting to inform decision-making; External, 4 credits.
  • AS91009 Geography 1.3 Demonstrate geographic understanding of the sustainable use of an environment; Internal, 3 credits.
  • AS90983 Economics 1.1 Demonstrate understanding of consumer choices, using scarcity and/or demand; External, 4 credits.
  • AS90988 Economics 1.6 Demonstrate understanding of the interdependence of sectors of the New Zealand economy; Internal, 3 credits.
  • AS91071 Digital technologies 1.4 Implement basic procedures to produce a specified digital information outcome; Internal, 4 credits.
  • AS91028 Mathematics and statistics 1.3 Investigate relationships between tables, equations and graphs; External, 4 credits.
  • AS90943 Science 1.4 Investigate implications of heat for everyday life; Internal, 4 credits.
  • AS90939 Physics 1.5 Demonstrate understanding of aspects of heat; External, 4 credits.
  • AS91227 Economics 2.6 Analyse how government policies and contemporary economic issues interact; Internal, 6 credits.

Please ensure that you are using the correct version of the standards by going to the NZQA website.

Sample unit 2: Financial and non-financial decision-making for a large company (level 8)

Should the Mohikinui River be damned for power generation or left as is?

The Mokihinui River is located on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, about 40 kilometres north of Westport. Its headwaters rise in the Glasgow Range and its mouth is on the Tasman Sea. There is little human habitation near the river. A tramping track runs along the south bank of the river giving access to Kahurangi National Park.

This unit explores the various views concerning the hydro project proposed by Meridian Energy, including looking at how Meridian will make decisions about future provision of power. (As a state owned enterprise, Meridian has a responsibility to meet the country’s future energy needs.)

Students can explore how this responsibility is balanced against other government priorities and against the value of ecological sustainability, taking into consideration environmental, financial, and social imperatives.

Topics that could be covered include:

  • financial reports, for example: analysis, interpretation, profitability, liquidity cash management, financial stability, and financial viability
  • the ability and commitment to contribute to sustainable futures
  • the ability and commitment to contribute to local New Zealand communities
  • decision making processes (routine and strategic decisions)
  • different types of management (roles, responsibilities)
  • budgets (types of budgets for different functions)
  • cost concepts, including fixed, variable, and semi-variable costs; indirect and direct costs
  • financial and non-financial information
  • share investment options (If shares for Meridian Energy are made available to the New Zealand public, justify whether they would be a worthwhile investment).

Examples of specific links to other curriculum areas include:

  • accounting/history/geography and accounting/economics/biology: Research historical hydro-electric planning decisions (as represented by Manapouri, Waitaki, Clyde, the Waikato dams, and so on). Compare and contrast government priorities and policies then and now. For example, relate the 'think big' policy that resulted in power supply for the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter to current concerns with global warming and conserving our natural environment.
  • accounting/technology/legal studies: Identify and describe the wider responsibilities of companies wishing to pursue a project that will have an environmental and/or social impact.
  • accounting/digital technology/English: Produce a digital media presentation that outlines findings and recommendations for action in relation to development of power generation on the Mohikinui River.

Some useful sources of information are:

This unit relates to learning objectives 8.1 and 8.2.

Using sustainability as a context could contribute to achievement against the the following level 3 achievement standards:

  • AS91407 Accounting 3.4 Prepare a report for an external user that interprets the annual report of a New Zealand reporting entity; Internal, 5 credits.
  • AS91431 Geography 3.6 Analyse aspects of a contemporary geographic issue; Internal, 3 credits.
  • AS91437 History 3.4 Analyse different perspectives on a contested event of significance to New Zealanders; Internal, 5 credits.
  • AS91476 English 3.5 Create and deliver a fluent and coherent oral text which develops, sustains, and structures ideas; Internal, 3 credits.
  • Economics 3.2 Describe an economic problem, allocative efficiency, and market responses to change
  • Please ensure that you are using the correct version of the standards by going to the NZQA website.

Last updated August 20, 2019