A new science teaching resource has got a big tick from Bromley School associate principal Rebekah McLeod.
“It’s so easy to use,” she said. “Very few teachers would have the knowledge, time or resources to bring something like this together. Everything you need is provided…and it’s all in one kit.”
In fact, the teachers using it at Bromley were so keen on the demonstration kit they did not want to send it back. That problem has been solved by Ferrymead Rotary funding half the cost of an annual subscription for Bromley School.
This gives the school access to the House of Science library of 30-plus kits, one of which has been funded by Ferrymead Rotary. Subscribing schools can borrow kits (one at a time) for a fortnight. Each kit focuses on a different theme, and contains information, lessons and activities designed around that theme. For example, ‘Sweet and Sour’ concentrated on analysing the pH levels of various materials, then relating the results to the degree of acidity.
Each lesson takes 30-35 minutes – a brief teacher introduction, then group work (carrying out the experiment and writing a brief report), and five to 10 minutes of a combined wrap-up of what the students have discovered and what it means.
House of Science New Zealand, which produces these teaching materials, was founded in 2013 by Chris Duggan, a former biochemist and secondary-school teacher. She was concerned about the lack of scientific knowledge of students arriving at secondary school, and discovered that New Zealand was well down the list when it came to teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics at primary and intermediate-school level.
She then read an Education Review Office report that said more than 70 per cent of New Zealand primary and intermediate schools lacked an effective science programme – and decided to do something about it.
She formed House of Science to develop resource kits with all the materials needed to carry out science lessons. Her aim is “to see every child in New Zealand become scientifically literate, which she defines as having “a clear understanding of science concepts and processes encountered in their daily lives.