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Pigs hearts, flatulence and infections get Kudos from kids

Pigs hearts, flatulence and infections get Kudos from students"

Students from all around the Waikato, and from as far as Piopio and Thames battled the heavy rain to get to the first “Science Spinners - Demystify the Sci" event which took place at Ruakura Research Centre last week.

The Science Spinners project is run by the Kudos Science Trust - home of the Kudos Science Excellence Awards, in partnership with the Prime Minister’s Unlocking Curious Minds fund. The project aims to provide opportunities for lower decile schools with Maori, Pacific Island and rural students to connect their everyday life activities with science, as well as to create a pathway for Science career prospects.

There were four mini-labs operating in Food Technology, Environmental, Sport Science and Medical offering a variety of hands-on activities. The Medical mini-lab provided students with the opportunity to practice their hand-eye co-ordination through using an Electrophysiology catheter, used by Cardiologists during heart surgery. Before going to check the bacteria on her hands, Te Kuiti college student, Shahila Sharma told us she enjoyed the Medical lab the most and thought it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Weird ingredient combos, pig hearts, puss, fish heads and BMXs also featured on the Science Spinners menu, giving students the opportunity to get some first-hand interactive guidance from Kudos Award winning scientists along with medical and sporting professionals. “Students interact with science everyday, yet they don’t make the connection that ‘it is’ Science, we’re trying to make it applicable everyday”, says Roger Cox, Kudos Trustee.

The students visited all of the mini-labs throughout the day and participated in a wide variety of science activities. Dr. Mustafa Farouk from Agresearch ran one of the Food Technology activities surprising the students with his ‘meat chocolate’ recently profiled at Fieldays. While some students got their hands dirty while sorting fish with Dr. Bruno David. Dr. David showed them some of the reasons behind while they can’t swim in some of our rivers and lakes. While Cardiothoracic nurses, Nardine Drent and Philomena McCormick showed them some gory photos and how pussy wounds can be managed.

New Zealand Elite Lightweight Rower Toby Cunliffe-Steel spoke to the students about the professionals behind the success of ‘elite sports people’, “they are all scientists, Physiotherapists, Physiologists, Phycologists and Nutritionalists”, he says. The students also enjoyed some banter and prizes from NZ Sevens rugby player, Isaac Te Aute and Samoan under 20s rugby player, Darren Tiumalu.

Sandy Edwards, teacher from Te Kauwhata College said, “on the way back to school our students talked about what a good day it was. There was definitely something for everyone and, better than that, I think that the activities ‘nailed it’ for student engagement, giving new experiences and perspectives to students and furthering their interest in Science”.

The Kudos Science Trust are working with funders to establish Science Spinners as an annual Science event aiming at providing more opportunity for Waikato schools and students to attend the next year.


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