May 13, 2016
Kits feed fire for science
Rotorua's Te Taumata o Ngati Whakaue Trust hopes its bilingual science kits will inspire tomorrow’s Maori scientists.
The trust has won a grant from the Unlocking Curious Minds fund. A joint initiative of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise, the Ministry of Education and the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, to create the kits for use in schools in Te Arawa rohe.
General manager Roana Bennett says the content will be based on the successful Matakokiri wananga the trust holds for 7 to 14 year olds every school holidays.
She says to increase uptake among Maori of science topics, which is as low as 10 percent among senior high school students, younger children need to be targeted.
"What we wanted to do is light the fire, the desire and drive for curiousity for inquiring at a much earlier age. Those kids that go through our wananga, they believe themselves to be scientists. They want to go off and be paleontologists or vulcanolgists or forensic scientists,"she says.
Roana Bennett says the kits will increase engagement levels of students and whanau, facilitate the use of matauranga Maori in the classroom and support the development of collaborative relationships between Iwi, the science community and schools.
The team led by Renee Gillies will also provide opportunities for professional learning and development for educators which will provide authenticity to the cultural components of the kits and ensure the science is robust and practical.
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