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Achievement objectives PEB 8-1 and 8-2

Students will:

  • develop an in-depth understanding of the interrelationship between human activities and the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere over time.


  • Uses models, diagrams, photographs, and texts, to demonstrate key processes (such tectonic plate movement) at work within the geosphere.
  • Uses models, diagrams, photographs, and texts, to demonstrate key processes (such as the formation of winds) at work within the atmosphere.
  • Explains the role and importance of greenhouse gases.
  • Uses models, diagrams, photographs, and texts, to demonstrate key processes (such as ocean circulation) at work within the hydrosphere.
  • Recognises how the thermohaline circulation distributes heat around the world.
  • Explains the role of the ocean in absorbing excess carbon dioxide, and the effect of this on the ocean’s acidity.
  • Recognises key processes (such as phytoplankton sequestering carbon) at work within the biosphere.
  • Recognises the effect of extra-terrestrial events such as changes in solar activity.
  • Uses models, diagrams, and texts to illustrate how the transmission, reflection, absorption, and scattering of all types of electromagnetic radiation and sound can aid exploration of Earth and space systems.
  • Discusses how human activities are affecting and unbalancing natural cycles and depleting resources.
  • Uses the concept of geologic time to explain how landforms evolve.
  • Uses models and cross-correlated data to show how changes in Earth cycles can be detected.
  • Integrates relevant knowledge about Earth and space systems dynamics and processes to explain the consequences of global change.

Possible context elaborations

  • The impact of climate change on global, national, and local scales.
  • The use made by mātaurangi Māori of the relationships between weather, climate, and other natural phenomena to predict events such as the arrival of seasons.
  • The effect on ocean ecosystems of ocean acidification and the effect of this on New Zealand fisheries and traditional food gathering areas such as pipi beds.
  • How to maintain sustainable fishing.
  • Effect on humans of resource depletion.
  • The evolution of landforms over time.
  • Sunspot cycles and solar flares and their impact on communications systems.
  • The use of tree rings from old kauri logs and ice core data from glaciers or Antarctica as evidence of historical climate fluctuation.
  • Matariki and the planting of crops.
  • How Polynesians used knowledge of astronomy and ocean currents to navigate the Pacific and discover islands including New Zealand.

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