Bringing science to schools

House of Science aims to raise scientific literacy, and they are bringing their science kits to Cambridge.

Primary school kids could soon get the chance to have their science know-how boosted, with the introduction of House of Science kits into classrooms.  The initiative, which started in Tauranga in 2013, aims to help young students get some “hands on” experience of science.

House of Science’s south Waikato general manager, Brendan Vink, said the ready-made kits which are lent out using a library system are designed to bring science to primary school students who might otherwise miss out. “Science is not always given the space it needs…teachers maybe don’t have the time to find resources or plan classes,” former primary teacher Brendan explained.

Trial boxes have been organised for two schools in Cambridge – Leamington Primary and Kaipaki School – and he hopes more schools will sign up for the initiative which will kick off in term two.  Schools take out a subscription, Brendan said, and then can book a particular box to be delivered on a Monday and collected on Friday.  Each box, which costs between $2,000 and $2,500 to put together, contains a manual (with pictures) in both English and Te Reo and enough material for six lessons, including consumables so students can make things to keep.  “That’s more than enough for a week of science,” Brendan said.  Teachers can teach directly from the manual or adapt it to suit their classroom, and the 40 different kits are also linked to the curriculum, from levels one to four.

Brendan explained that the contents of the box are designed to stimulate the children’s scientific curiosity and make it easy for teachers to bring science into their classrooms.  “Kids at primary school don’t need to know how things work, they just need to have a curious mind to ask ‘why?’ and grow up in a world where that’s OK.”

Brendan said that sponsors are vital to the initiative, with Trinity Lands in Putaruru chipping in $25,000 to bring the initiative across the Kaimai Range.  “We want to keep it as affordable for the schools as possible…community sponsorship is crucial.”

If you would like to find out how to support this initiative or would like to organise a subscription for your school, contact Brendan: Brendan.vink@houseofscience.nz or phone 021 262 7735.

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