Here-turi-kōkā pānui /
August newsletter

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


Testing freshwater cheaply

Local streams are good contexts for teaching concepts of biology, chemistry and mātauranga Māori, and also allow cross-curricular links. Testing water quality need not be expensive and can be a lot of fun for students in science classes or in environmental groups. Mike Stone explores the possibilities in this publicly-available article.

Making kawakawa balm

Rongoā is commonly explored by matching ailments with remedy, but students can also enjoy making a sample remedy and learning its chemistry. Read our publicly-available article about one teacher’s experience making kawakawa balm with her students.

Māori scientist profile

Simon Hills (Ngāti Porou) works in genomics, ecology, and evolutionary biology across a range of taonga species and issues. Read his publicly available profile.

Teaching human evolution

Human evolution is a fascinating topic, with new evidence bringing ever-changing theories, but for inexperienced teachers the breadth of possibilities can be overwhelming. Read our members-only article about how four experienced biology teachers approach the subject.

Teaching fire-making

In a related members-only article, one teacher outlines how he incorporates traditional methods of fire-making from mātauranga Māori in teaching human evolution.

Present at ChemEd & BioLive 2021

Teachers are invited to submit proposals for seminars, workshops, lab practicals, show-and-tell or other presentations for 15, 30 or 70 minutes at this conference from November 10-13 in Auckland. Proposals on the conference theme - Manaaki whenua, manaaki tangata, haere whakamua – Care for the land, care for the people, go forward - are particularly encouraged, but submissions relating to any area of science, chemistry or biology education at primary or secondary level are welcome. Use the Google form to register a presentation and register by September 10 for earlybird discounts.

Science Teaching Leadership Programme 2022

The intensive Science Teaching Leadership Programme enables primary schools, secondary science departments and their nominated teachers to improve science teaching in their school communities. Chosen teachers take leave for two terms to work in a science organisation, expand their understanding of the Nature of Science; and develop their knowledge in master’s level study. Then, back in their school, they work collaboratively to improve science teaching and student learning. Schools can opt to begin the programme in term 1 or term 3 2022. The deadline for applications is September 10.

Virtual field trips for your class

The LEARNZ virtual field trip this week explores the engineering of the challenging TranzAlpine track from Ōtautahi/Christchurch to Māwhera/Greymouth, and what makes a train able to pull 1,000 tonnes. From August 9 you can access curriculum and supporting resources, discovery reading and quizzes. On August 11 and 12 you can ask an expert in a free live web conference, and watch the videos. 
The LEARNZ virtual field trip videos of Taranaki maunga will be online from August 23. Your ākonga can explore the science and mātauranga behind volcanoes, hear mana whenua stories about the maunga, learn about lahars and pyroclastic flows, and inspect monitoring sites. 
Curriculum and supporting resources, discovery reading and quizzes for the virtual field trip to the biodiversity of the Waikato will also be online from 23 August. Videos and online live experts will be available from September 20.
Register with LEARNZ here.
Conservation Week/Te Wiki Tiaki Ao Tūroa from September 4-12 is always a good opportunity for some inspiring learning. See the DoC website for events, activities and competitions.

Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne essay prize

Nonfiction creative essays up to 3,000 words are welcome on the topic of Radical Connections for this competition. Essays could focus on conservation, biodiversity, and kaitiakitanga; community, hauora, and living with nature; ecology, art, and imagination; or mātauranga, scientific knowledge, and personal experience. First prize includes $750 and a 12-month Zealandia membership; the top three essays will be published on the Headland website. Email essays by September 12.
The international Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition is running in Aotearoa for the first time through MOTAT. Students, teams or whole year 7-10 classes can enrol, aiming to identify a community problem and a creative fix from science, technology, English, arts or maths (STEAM). Applicants need to describe the issue, their solution, who it is for, why is it different, and what inspired them. Entries close on August 31 and winners will be announced in September. Finalists will share $20,000 in prizes, including money and Samsung tech.  Find out more and enter here and email questions here.

Real human skeletons in schools

Schools have contacted NZASE, concerned about the legality and cultural appropriateness of using skeletons of real human bones. For such bones obtained after 2008, the Human Tissues Act (HTA) applies – only licensed schools of anatomy may “receive, possess, store or otherwise use all or part of a body”. However, this does not apply to articulated skeletons, loose human bones or skulls obtained (usually from India) before 2008; these bones are legal to use. 
All human bones should be handled with care and respect, and schools should keep a record of where they are at all times. If schools feel it is culturally inappropriate to keep and use actual human skeletons, the Ministry of Health suggests schools find local funeral directors to cremate the bones and then respectfully dispose of the ashes.

Survey about your use of animals

If you have received a request from the Anti-Vivisection Society to respond to their survey about your school’s use of animals, please read our letter to schools with advice, which is still current, about similar requests in 2019.  

MOTAT North Island education

The Museum of Transport and Technology is taking its educators and STEAM Cell trailers full of museum resources around the North Island. Visit costs in the greater Auckland area are $10/child plus $200 per return trip. Multiple consecutive booked days incur only one travel charge. Visit costs around the rest of the North Island are also $10/child, plus $350 or $1 per km (whichever is highest) per return trip, as well as accommodation and educator per diem cost for multi-day bookings. See their website.

Te Papa Learning Research Panel

Te Papa wants to know about how teachers use class visits to the museum in their teaching, and the results in student learning, and is offering teachers some freebies for participation in their panel. Register your interest by email.
Auckland Museum’s exhibition shows how giant land vertebrates evolved to be often huge prehistoric ocean predators. It includes real fossils, gigantic replicas including a 13-metre Elasmosaurus and 9-metre long Prognathodon, and multi-media and hands-on interactives to reveal how these ancient sea monsters lived and hunted. It runs to October 25; with timed-entry every 30 minutes. See their education programme for Years 1-8 here.

New NZASE president

Sam York’s presidency of NZASE finished in June and our new president is Doug Walker, who hails from Scotland. He completed his initial training and Masters in 2007-8 and taught for two years in England before coming to Aotearoa. He has taught at Palmerston North Boys High School and is currently HoD at St Patrick's College in Wellington. There he is an active member of Capital City Science Educators, the Wellington regional branch of NZASE. He loves New Zealand’s unique biodiversity making engaging resources for science teaching, and. When not presenting at conferences, supporting student teachers as a visiting lecturer, or making occasional YouTube videos, he can be found exploring New Zealand with four little Scottish-Kiwis.

Redesigned NZASE website

After wide consultation with our member networks, the NZASE site has been redesigned to provide easier navigation on a wide range of devices, rather than just on desktop computers. We would really appreciate your feedback, suggestions and reports of any difficulties. Please use this form, which you’ll find on the bottom right of the front page.

Events related to science teaching

See our events listing for upcoming events and activities by NZASE networks.
Copyright © 2021 New Zealand Association of Science Educators, All rights reserved.

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