*Te Pānui o Oketopa/October Newsletter

 ISSN 2703-5166
Science Communicators Mike Stone and Jenny Rankine welcome your feedback and suggestions at


Teaching Agriculture and Horticulture

Teaching students about how to look after crops and livestock is possible even in city schools. NZASE Science Communicator Mike Stone describes how some schools are ensuring that ākonga have the practical skills they need. Download our publicly available article.
Manu tukutuku
Mātauranga Māori of flight centres on manu tukutuku/kites, which in the past were flown for more purposes than just Matariki. Mike Stone and Mere Manning suggest how these can be explored in the Science classroom. Download this publicly available article.

Teaching about flight

Flight can be an engaging topic for students and some are making it very practical. Mike Stone talks with four teachers who are making the topic fly for their students. Download our members-only article.
Kentucky blues
There are isolated families in Kentucky whose skin is blue. Mike Stone summarises what is known about the science behind this genetic condition. Download our members-only article.
Atmospheric rivers
We saw recently the devastating effects of rainfall in Nelson. This was caused by an atmospheric river, and not the largest the South Island has seen. We need to know more about the causes of such extreme weather, as such events will only worsen with global warming. Mike Stone explains how atmospheric rivers work in NZ and Mere Manning explores Mātauranga Māori about reading the weather. Download our members-only article.
Real human remains
Some schools possessing real human skeletons feel it is no longer appropriate to keep using them. Those schools who have said a karakia before moving skeletons suggest talking to mana whenua about appropriate tikanga. The anatomy museum at the Otago Medical School is happy to receive them to use in teaching and research; email curator Chris Smith about how to do this.

From MoE – L2 RAS and a job

The Ministry of Education seeks a Lead Secondary Advisor to facilitate Subject Expert Groups to develop the Review of Achievement Standards (RAS), aiming to increase student progression into further learning, training or work. The job starts this Oketopa/Noema and ends in Hānuere/January 2025. A background in middle to senior leadership roles, and experience in Physics, Chemistry, or ESS would be helpful.
    The release of the draft L2 Biology and Chemistry materials is on hold because MoE will look at all five L2 and 3 science subjects together later this year.
    Over the last few months research on science education has been carried out to advise the curriculum refresh and the RAS. The research results will be discussed with Science subject association leaders and NZASE will keep you informed early in Term 4.
StudyIt forums for NCEA students
Online StudyIt forums have opened for students preparing for end-of-year exams in NCEA Levels 1-3 Sciences. Students can discuss NCEA achievement standards and seek general study and exam advice, including tips on how to study smart. The fora are facilitated by Teacher Development Aotearoa and the MoE. They close on Tihema/December 20.

Science teaching leadership programme

This Royal Society programme supports teachers to learn more about Science. Teachers work with scientists for six months while receiving PLD on leadership and Nature of Science, and are then supported to revise their school programmes when back in the classroom. Apply by Oketopa/October 3 for two 2023 cohorts, one starting in Term 1, and the other in Term 3. Teachers who have been on the programme find it hugely rewarding.
Royal Society’s powering potential
Year 12 and 13 students have until Oketopa/October 14 to apply for this event on Hakihea/December 12-15. Sixty tauira will be able to research big science questions or social issues in teams of 5-6, with a mentor, over three days. All travel, kai, accommodation and activities are included.  See the website for details.
Prizes for teachers and students
Applications and nominations for Ngā Puipuiaki Pūtaiao a Te Pirimia/the 2022 PM's Science Teacher Prize close on Oketopa/October 18. The prize is judged on evidence of improved primary, intermediate or secondary student outcomes, influence on science engagement in the school community, and regional or national contribution to science education. It brings $50,000 for the winning teacher and $100,000 for their school.
The student prize, worth $50,000, is awarded to a Y12 or 13 student for an outstanding science, technology, mathematics or engineering project. Deadline Noema/November 1. See the website for nomination and application details.
Environment education conference
The NZ Association of Environmental Education/Hā Hauora Tangata conference will be held on Oketopa/October 11 and 12 around the country. On Tuesday 11, attendees meet locally in 17 different areas, and the conference goes online from 9am-4pm on Wednesday 12. See the details.
ChemEd/BioLive keynote
Professor Allan Blackman of AUT believes it is important that the general public is aware how critical chemistry is to our everyday lives. He has written a regular chemistry column for the ODT and created a podcast series at RNZ, as well as authoring a chemistry textbook. For the ChemEd/Biolive conference 2022 he is talking about 'The most boring chemical element'. Allan is from Dunedin and obtained his BSc (Hons) and PhD from the University of Otago. For the last 8 years he has been the Professor of Chemistry at AUT, researching inorganic chemistry. Register for ChemEd/BioLive on Noema/ November 16-18.
Te Ao Earth Week, Ōtautahi/Christchurch
Running from 19-24 Hepetema/September, this exhibition of wildlife photographers highlights environmental challenges, and includes face-to-face ($20) and online ($5) speakers about living in alignment with the planet; large-scale environmental change in greater Ōtautahi/Christchurch; the role of digital tools in environmental change; and beyond greenwashing towards businesses healthy for the earth. See the programme.

Events related to Science education

See our listing for events by NZASE and its networks, as well as other activities of interest.
*Names of months in te reo
Astronomer and Mātauranga Māori expert Professor Rangi Matāmua recommends using transliterations of Gregorian months, rather than te reo Māori names for lunar months, because they refer to different periods. See the differences here.
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