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House of Science

We aim to achieve that by resourcing and connecting the Local Science Community to create a nationwide education system that nurtures curiosity.   

RATIONALE 

We know what happened to the cat when it followed those inquisitive instincts, but for humans the act of investigation, exploration and discovery is crucial to our ongoing development and learning processes. 

Ironically, our education system ignores the nurturing of curiosity as a key platform for learning, at a critical time in children’s lives when they need it most. Our ability to think and communicate is vital to our survival, and a formal education – through an emphasis on reading, writing and maths – is how we best attain and develop these skills. However, the degree to which our curiosity is nurtured often sets the extent to which we desire to learn. 

The House of Science is proof that through the simple provision of inspiring educational science programmes and experiments, children are given an outlet for their natural curiosity and a platform for expanding that inquisitive nature. This assists with their learning across the whole curriculum.

BACKGROUND 

“In New Zealand, 73% of primary schools do not have an effective Science Programme in place” MAY 2012, EDUCATION REVIEW OFFICE 

“New Zealand’s education system is falling behind in Science and Maths” DEC 2012 HEKIA PARATA, MINITER OF EDUCATION 

“A growing number of schools are ditching Science from the compulsory curriculum in Year 11 because it is too difficult for some pupils. I believe it is vital that Science is recognised to be as important as Literacy and Numeracy.” SEP 2013, SECONDARY PRINCIPALS’ ASSOCIATION NZ PRESIDENT, TOM PARSONS 

The House of Science was established in 2013 by Chris Duggan with a vision to raise Scientific Literacy throughout the Western Bay of Plenty (WBOP) and to give children a place to explore, experiment and investigate science in all its forms. 

As a charitable trust, House of Science has the ability to connect the local community with science teachers and practicing scientists, and get them engaging in the field on a tangible and approachable level. 

The first House of Science was developed at and hosted by the University of Waikato’s Coastal Marine Field Station in Tauranga. It now has operational branches in Whakatane, Rotorua, Hutt Valley, Palmerston North, Wellington and Nelson. 

The team, which includes many educators and science professionals, has researched and developed a variety of creative resources for promoting positive engagement with Science. These include kits for in-classroom teaching, professional development programmes for teachers, out-of-school science programmes, community symposia and guest speakers. 

Since 2014, the House of Science initiatives have been successfully integrated into the teaching programmes of participating schools and the WBOP community. As a result, 81% of the region’s primary school children are exposed to the Science resources, with over 1000 students using them every week. 

The intended outcome of enhancing Scientific Literacy was to see an increase in the number and quality of students taking Science at senior secondary school level –

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