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Nationwide science education week announced

Nationwide science education week announced

Students, teachers and parents throughout New Zealand will be involved in a special week next year to emphasise the importance of science education in primary schools. This is the first time such a week has been held.

The inaugural National Primary Science Week will be run from 2-7 May 2011 by the New Zealand Association of Science Educators and the Royal Society of New Zealand.

The aim of the science week is to involve pupils, teachers, parents, communities and science providers in engaging science activities and, more importantly, provide professional development opportunities for primary school teachers.

Associate Professor Lindsey Connor, president of the New Zealand Association of Science Educators, says: “I have no doubt that through participation teachers will re-energise and gain lots of great ideas that will support and enhance science teaching."

A number of regional centres will coordinate programmes based on local teachers’ needs, with nationwide events also taking place. Initially, regional events will be based around Auckland, Wellington, Western Bay of Plenty, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin and the West Coast.

Each day during the science week, schools in each region will be able to work with their regional science teacher associations and offer teachers free workshops that will include latest science research and ideas for the classroom, teachers sharing practical experiences, and visiting speakers.

A nationwide experiment will engage children throughout New Zealand in collaborative ‘hands-on’ science.

Dr Di McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of New Zealand, says “the new initiative is part of a wider programme to support primary school teachers when they are teaching science.”

“We want to enhance science teaching in primary schools and get pupils excited about learning about science from an early age. The aim is to provide a range of fun activities and also practical help that will capture the imaginations of both teachers and pupils.”

The teachers’ initiative has strong support from the Ministry of Education. Chris Arcus, Curriculum Manager at the Ministry says: “This is a great initiative. Children have an enormous curiosity about the natural world. Resources from NZASE and other sources can help teachers capitalise on this curiosity and guide it so children can learn to learn, to explore, to investigate and to generate explanations for what they see around them.”

Frances Nelson, National President of the New Zealand Institute of Education comments “NZASE's Primary Science Week in 2011 is a welcome opportunity to focus on science as a curriculum area in its own right. I encourage schools to participate in this opportunity to enhance science as an important component in a student’s learning journey."

The NZASE National Primary Science Week will give schools an opportunity to focus on ‘doing’ science during this time, both at school and at home.

ENDS

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