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Achievement objective PEB 8-3

Students will:

  • explore recent astronomical events or discoveries showing understanding of the concepts of distance and time.


  • Relates astronomical processes to astronomical events or discoveries that have happened within the past few decades.
  • Relates astronomical processes to the shapes of planets and moons.
  • Describes how bodies such as Kuiper Belt Objects and extra-solar planets are discovered.
  • Puts events in the context of larger cycles of the solar system and the universe.
  • Explains how the electromagnetic spectrum can be used for space exploration.
  • Recognises the vast distance and time scales of the universe.
  • Can discuss some of the space probes that have visited different parts of the solar system – asteroids and comets as well as other planets and moons.

Possible context elaborations

  • The effect of the Shoemaker-Levi comet slamming into Jupiter.
  • The explosion of Supernova 1987a in the Larger Magellanic cloud and the subsequent formation of a pulsar.
  • Kuiper Belt discoveries such as Eris and Sedna.
  • Why Pluto was demoted from planet to dwarf moon.
  • Recent space probe discoveries such as evidence of water on Mars and on the Moon.
  • The causes of gamma ray bursts.
  • How Polynesians discovered and navigated around Pacific islands using astronomy and knowledge of ocean currents.

Assessment for qualifications

At the time of publication, achievement standards were in development to align them with The New Zealand Curriculum. Please ensure that you are using the correct version of the standards by going to the  NZQA website.

The NZQA subject-specific resources pages are very helpful. From there, you can find all the achievement standards and links to assessment resources, both internal and external.

Learn more with NZQA subject resources for:

Aligned level 1 achievement standards were registered for use in 2011 and level 2 for use in 2012; level 3 will be registered for use in 2013.

  • 91410 Earth and space science 3.1 Carry out an independent practical Earth and space science investigation; Internal, 4 credits
  • 91411 Earth and space science 3.2 Investigate a socio-scientific issue in an Earth and space science context; Internal, 4 credits
  • 91412 Earth and space science 3.3 Investigate the evidence related to dating geological event(s); Internal, 4 credits
  • 91413 Earth and space science 3.4 Demonstrate understanding of processes in the ocean system; External, 4 credits
  • 91414 Earth and space science 3.5 Demonstrate understanding of processes in the atmosphere system; External, 4 credits
  • 91415 Earth and space science 3.6 Investigate an aspect of astronomy; Internal, 4 credits

Last updated September 15, 2020