New Zealand Disasters Reading and NZ History Unit | Print and Digital Options

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Explore some of the most devastating disasters in New Zealand’s history. In this New Zealand Disasters Unit, students will learn about eight historic and recent disasters and their effect upon Aotearoa. Through a range of activity options, students will extend their knowledge of these events, apply this knowledge by exploring digital links, and put their own design skills to the test with creative challenges. Passages are included for a range of ability levels so this resource can work with Year 5 to Year 8.
Both a paper-based and digital option are included so you can use this in the way that suits you best – great for distance learning.
This resource links to the NZ Curriculum for Social Sciences and Reading.
Our New Zealand Disasters Unit includes the following resources:
1. New Zealand Disasters Reading Comprehension Activities:
  • Eight texts – all with an extended and scaffold version:
  • The 1931 Hawke’s Bay Earthquake
  • The Pike River Disaster
  • The Ballantyne’s Fire
  • The Christchurch Earthquakes
  • The Erebus Disaster
  • The Tangiwai Railway Disaster
  • The Wahine
  • The 2019 Whakaari/White Island Eruption


  • SIX corresponding higher-order thinking activities – that’s 48 activities in total.
    • Each passage features different activities:
      • Remember
      • Understand
      • Apply
      • Analyse x 2
      • Create
3. New Zealand Disasters Digital Reading Comprehension Activities.
  • Use these digital interactive activities with Google Slides or Microsoft One Drive.
  • Directions are included for how to assign these to students.
4. Eight task card challenges (passages and follow-up activities)
  • Understand, Apply and Create activities are included (higher-order thinking skills)
  • The same eight topics (as above) are covered.
5. 24 vocabulary word wall labels with definitions
6. A large display poster (A4 and A2 sizes included)
7. A full set of answers
8. Links to the NZ Curriculum for Social Sciences, and Reading.
Over 100 pages of comprehensive content are included in this resource.
Please note:
The Apply section of this resource uses QR codes. You will need access to a digital device e.g. tablet, iPad, or phone that can scan QR codes (there are many free apps you can use). You will also need to have access to Youtube for many of the digital weblinks.
You can also access these web links using the Google Slides version of this resource, which is included.

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