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House of Science goes national

House of Science goes national


Three years after starting a science education resurgence in Tauranga, the House of Science is taking its programmes nationwide.

Head of Science at Tauranga Girls College, Chris Duggan was appalled by the lack of science knowledge the year 9 students had when they entered secondary school. She had a vision of raising scientific literacy in the local Western Bay of Plenty community and by 2014 had left her teaching job to set up the House of Science Tauranga. Supported by a horde of willing volunteers, Chris developed and delivered a range of science resource kits to the region’s primary schools. These kits contain everything a year 1-8 teacher needs to get their students involved in hands-on science experiments. The kits are sponsored by local businesses and range in topics from flight science to forensics, food science to force & friction.

Alongside the resource kits the House of Science also delivers comprehensive teacher professional development to primary, intermediate and secondary teachers, runs after school and holiday programmes, has a successful VEX robotics club and provides a science tutoring service. The organisation receives no government funding so relies on sponsorship of local businesses, community grants, donations and membership fees.

Chris says “January 2016 was the start of an exciting year as the Wright Family Foundation commenced a partnership with the House of Science. This facilitated a move into Tauranga’s CBD and encouraged us to start thinking beyond the local region”. Already six other areas had begun to operate similar programmes with Chris’ help but it was becoming apparent that the systems for support needed to be more robust.

So the House of Science NZ Charitable Trust was established; a new entity with a vision of raising scientific literacy in all of New Zealand. This new national body is responsible for developing resource kits, and supports the establishment of House of Science branches across the length of the country. Each branch is an independent charitable trust and raises funding locally. The NZ head office manages the website that teachers use to book a kit and provides training for branch staff and volunteers.

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