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Learning support #3: Climate change and floods - values, perspectives and decision-making

How does exploring different perspectives shape the decisions that are made about how we adapt to climate change?

The previous two learning experiences help us to understand the nature of the challenges that climate change and flooding are bringing to the game’s community and how they can respond to those challenges. We have explored adaptation options i.e. stopbank, nature solution, redesign, relocation, including how those adaptations can be viewed through four components of community wellbeing:

  • cultural
  • economic
  • environmental
  • social

Understanding why people think, feel and act the way they do

This learning experience deepens ākonga (student) understanding of the relationship between values, perspectives and decision-making. The decisions people make in response to challenges are shaped by their values and perspectives. These affect people and groups’ understandings of what their rights are, and what responsibilities they have as individuals as well as members of different groups. 

Ākonga will keep playing the Township Flood Challenge through a variety of different scenarios, each time exploring the different decisions the characters have made and what happens to their decisions and actions if they approach them with different values and wellbeing components at the forefront. The big questions to keep in mind are: 

  • Which flood adaptation decisions are most likely to lead to the community and all of its members and other living things being safe and living well? 
  • How do we ensure the most affected people and groups are part of those decisions? 

Find out more

NZHistory has further explanations for teacher reference and could be used to extend ākonga beyond the activities in this support for the Flood Challenge Game. A climate justice approach says that the needs, rights, voices, and aspirations of the most affected people and groups should be centred in how societies respond to, and take action on, climate change and sustainability. Find out more here.

Activity: Living well in a climate changing environment


This activity, based on an iceberg metaphor, helps ākonga to understand the relationship between values, perspectives and points of view and how these inform decision making about flood adaptation. The learning tasks are designed to be integrated with game play of the Township Flood Challenge in a facilitated environment so that ākonga are supported to explore the values, perspectives and points of view of the character they created in Learning Support #1. The overarching focus of the learning activity is how decision making shapes people’s ability to live well in a climate changing environment. 

Ākonga will use the iceberg model provided to identify values, perspectives and the points of view of the character. The activity includes guiding questions such as:

  • What is their viewpoint about the adaptation for their property?
  • What action did they take?
  • What does this tell us about the values that they have?
  • Which wellbeing perspective is likely to be shaping those values?

Ākonga could choose a particular round of play in the game for this activity, or make a note of the decisions the character makes throughout each round of the game. We have provided two examples of tables for ākonga to track the decisions and actions of the character through the Township Flood Challenge, and a table for collating ākonga decisions in groups representing all of the characters. These tables can be used in the small group and whole class reflection activities to consider the range of decisions the class has made and what the impacts of those decisions might be on different people in the community of Township Flood Challenge. 

Download the activity here.

Activity: Reflecting on the game play and decisions made

Use the guiding questions to have the groups reflect on the decisions that their characters have made. Kaiako will then facilitate a whole class reflection to help ākonga draw the connections between individual actions and the way they impact the community as well as themselves. At the end of the reflection, draw out themes of hope and resilience that have surfaced, even in the smallest of ways. It is important that ākonga feel there is agency, the ability to act and make decisions, that can help us to adapt to climate change and flood events in a way that ensures the community will be taken care of.  

Before moving to the next learning sequence, check in with ākonga about their understanding of interconnectedness and how it can be applied to the Township Flood Challenge. One way to do this is through using this short video clip of Arihia Bennett, the chief executive of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, being interviewed on Q+A by Jack Tame on 25 June 2023. Health is wealth video clip:

Discuss the section of the clip starting at 6.23 when Jack Tame asks Arihia Bennett “How do you think about the way we define commercial success?.” Listen until 8.31.

  • What does Arihia mean when she says that health is wealth? 
  • Is there any one of the wellbeing perspectives that adequately captures this idea? 
  • Gauge ākonga understanding of how interconnected all of the wellbeings are from Māori and indigenous worldviews. This leads into the next learning sequence where ākonga will develop a deeper understanding through the use of a mauri ora model. 

 

Next: Learning Support #4: Applying the learning - reimagining the town’s response