Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Budding scientists test the water

Students love interacting with the environment, says Kevin Archer, and he should know – he’s been teaching for 45 years.

Kevin Archer and Lachlan Stewart test water clarity.

As the Taranaki Regional Council’s Education Officer for the past 12 years, he says students plunge into the Council’s hands-on schools programme, with freshwater stream studies being his most popular lessons year-round.

“I haven’t met a kid who doesn’t like this – thousands of them. They all love going into the stream. This is the real McCoy,” says Mr Archer.

Recently he led several Highlands Intermediate School classes at Huatoki Stream.

He explained how settlers and nearby schools used the stream, and why the Huatoki isn’t typical of most Taranaki rivers. Then it was down to business, with lessons on gauging streambed composition and streambank vegetation, and the water’s flow, clarity, conductivity, PH levels and temperature.

“Ten to fifteen degrees is what fish like,” he told his young listeners.

Finally, the students gathered riverbed samples.

“The presence or absence of macro aquatic invertebrates tells us an awful lot about the quality of the water in the stream, and the other day we found 17 different species at the site, which is a record for me,” says Mr Archer.

“There’s a move in science involving the community in getting scientific data. It’s called citizen science, so this is a stepping stone towards that.”

Science specialist teacher Pat Swanson is a firm advocate of Mr Archer’s classes.

“Kevin’s a great facilitator for this. He’s enthusiastic, he’s got a lot of knowledge. It’s a programme that he’s refined over the years… and he gets the kids involved,” says Mr Swanson, who teaches at Highlands Intermediate School.

“It’s learning in action, and kids learn and observe a lot more when they’re out there doing that. Once they start getting in there and looking at the animals and that, they’re super-engaged, and they’re starting to recognise that they’re doing things that scientists do all the time – looking for explanations, testing, making observations...”

Mr Archer’s field trips are held at rocky shores, riparian fencing and planting projects, streams, and Pukeiti, Tupare and Hollard Gardens. His theory classes cover those subjects as well as Civil Defence, public transport and various environmental topics.

For details about the Council’s schools programme, go to www.trc.govt.nz/schools-programme/ and to book Mr Archer well in advance for lessons or field trips, email kevin.archer@trc.govt.nz.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Scoop Review Of Books: Q&A: Prue Hyman On ‘Hopes Dashed?’

For Scoop Review of Books, Alison McCulloch interviewed Prue Hyman about her new book, part of the BWB Texts series, Hopes Dashed? The Economics of Gender Inequality More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Chuck Berry (And James Comey, And Bill English)

Back when many people were still treating rock’n’roll as a passing fad – was calypso going to be the new thing? – Chuck Berry knew that it had changed popular music forever. What is even more astonishing is that this 30-ish black r&b musician from a middle class family in St Louis could manage to recreate the world of white teenagers, at a time when the very notion of a “teenager” had just been invented. More>>

Howard Davis Review:
The Baroque Fusion Of L'arpeggiata

Named after a toccata by German composer Girolamo Kapsberger, L'Arpeggiata produces its unmistakable sonority mainly from the resonance of plucked strings, creating a tightly-woven acoustic texture that is both idiosyncratic and immediately identifiable. Director Christina Pluhar engenders this distinctive tonality associated with the ensemble she founded in 2000 by inviting musicians and vocalists from around the world to collaborate on specific projects illuminated by her musicological research. More>>

African Masks And Sculpture: Attic Discovery On Display At Expressions Whirinaki

Ranging from masks studded with nails and shards of glass to statues laden with magical metal, the works are from ethnic groups in nine countries ranging from Ivory Coast to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More>>

Obituary: Andrew Little Remembers Murray Ball

“Murray mined a rich vein of New Zealand popular culture and exported it to the world. Wal and Dog and all the other Kiwi characters he crafted through Footrot Flats were hugely popular here and in Australia, Europe and North America." More>>

ALSO:

Organised Choas: NZ Fringe Festival 2017 Awards

Three more weeks of organised chaos have come to an end with the Wellington NZ Fringe Arts Festival Awards Ceremony as a chance to celebrate all our Fringe artists for their talent, ingenuity, and chutzpah! More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Wellington Writer Wins $US165,000 Literature Prize

Victoria University of Wellington staff member and alumna Ashleigh Young has won a prestigious Windham-Campbell Literature Prize worth USD$165,000 for her book of essays Can You Tolerate This? More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: We’re All Lab Rats

A couple of years ago, there were reports that Silicon Valley executives were sending their children to tech-free schools. It was a story that dripped of irony: geeks in the heart of techno-utopia rejecting their ideology when it came to their own kids. But the story didn’t catch on, and an awkward question lingered. Why were the engineers of the future desperate to part their gadgets from their children? More>>

  • CensusAtSchool - Most kids have no screen-time limits
  • Netsafe - Half of NZ high school students unsupervised online
  • Get More From Scoop

     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
    Education
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news