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Future scientists encouraged

Children at Lakeview School doing an experiment. (Left to right) Aeris Tepou Taniwha, Jessica McIntyre and Frankie Bond. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

Science is fun for eager pupils

Lisa Urbani

Science teaches us how to think, to gather and interpret information, to test assumptions, to weigh up options and to make informed decisions”

Unfortunately, despite its importance, science is not directly funded in primary schools and many schools lack the resources to teach science.

The 2017 National Monitoring Study of Student achievement found that only 20 per cent of students in Year 8 were achieving at or above science curriculum expectations.

The House of Science Wairarapa Charitable Trust was formed in 2019 to support primary and intermediate schools with teaching science and address this issue.

They provide their services to 19 schools throughout Wairarapa, from Mauriceville to Pirinoa.

General manager Amanda Taylor said the trust’s goal is to make science learning accessible to all children in Wairarapa, and the global pandemic had shown “just how important it is to be developing the next generation of scientists”.

House of Science provides quality hands-on bilingual – te reo Māori and English – science resource kits to primary and intermediate schools in Wairarapa.

The kits are all based around a science theme and include five to seven hands-on experiments.

They contain everything a teacher needs including all consumables, student worksheets and instructions and they are delivered to schools weekly by volunteers and replenished by them on a Friday before going out to another school.

“Our science kits support students’ curiosity and imagination while developing their ability to assess and analyse scientific information,” Amanda said.

Lakeview pupils (left to right) Jake Sargant, Keanu Slater and Lakyn Poulgrain.

Lakeview School junior syndicate leader Michelle Kerr, whose year three and four classes were using the kits, said, “it’s amazing to watch the children engage and feel excited and energised by the experiments”.

“They are bubbling with learning and enthusiasm and can make connections between science and everyday things.

“Their scientific language is growing, they are collaborating and asking questions and problem-solving to build and extend their knowledge, it is great to watch them discover that science is fun, and it’s all around us.”

More than 3000 children and teachers in Wairarapa have weekly access to these science kits.

This saves teachers valuable preparation time and from having to buy their own resources, and it also means the kits are up to date, complete and have all the required parts to provide meaningful science experiments.

They also provide teacher professional development and learning for teachers once a term to support the teachers.

There are more than 30 science resources around different themes available like Flexi Physics, Food for Thought, Water Analysis and Spaced Out.

As a charitable trust, the House of Science Wairarapa relies on a mixture of grants and business sponsorship as well as a small contribution from schools to cover its costs, and is always looking for more businesses to sponsor a science kit to help expand their science library.

Amanda said, “it is only thanks to the generous support of Greytown Honey, Tranzit Group, Under the Stars, Masterton District Council, Carterton District Council, South Wairarapa District Council, Masterton Trust Lands Trust, Trust House Foundation, Community Organisations Grant Scheme, Eastern and Central Community Trust, and the Rural Communities Trust that we can offer the service we do”.

  • If you are interested in helping as a volunteer or are a business interested in sponsorship, please contact Amanda ([email protected]).

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