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Teachers develop science skills

Last updated 07:53 31/10/2012

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Five Auckland primary school teachers are part way through a teacher fellowship programme to help develop their science teaching skills.

The teachers are spending the last two terms of 2012 as Primary Science Teacher Fellows, under a scheme administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand and funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Auckland's representatives include Paul Cowan from Henderson Intermediate who is studying the risk of volcanoes,  Barbara Lowther from St Joseph's School, Grey Lynn who is studying the biological control of pests for tomato and potato plants and Esha Narayan, Hare Krishna School who is loking at insect life in replanted pohutukawa forest.

Also participating are Wynn Morris from Remuera Intermediate who is learning more about Kiwifruit Disease and Rodney Bowden from Wairau Intermediate who is studying the diet and invasiveness of mice.

Around 115 teachers have been through the Primary Science Teacher Fellowship programme, since it began in 2009. The programme was started following a report in 2008 from the National Education Monitoring Project, which highlighted a downwards trend in the attitudes of primary aged students towards science.

Under the scheme, teachers take leave from their schools to work with researchers at host organisations and learn more about science and its application.

"The goal is to make these teachers science curriculum leaders," says Richard Meylan, Manager - Education at the Royal Society of New Zealand.

 "We hope the experiences the teachers have during their fellowships and the commitment the schools make to science will have a long-lasting positive effect on science teaching in these primary schools."

Host organisations for this group of teachers include organisations such as NIWA, Plant and Food Research, University of Canterbury, Department of Conservation, and UNITEC.

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