National Primary Science Week aims to inspire young enquirers20/05/2013
Cultivating awe, wonder, and interest are top goals for Sterling Cathman, national coordinator for National Primary Science Week 2013.
Today marks the start of the week, which is being held by the New Zealand Association of Primary Science Educators to promote the subject in primary schools.
Sterling says primary science teachers need extra support making science work with other parts of the curriculum.
“Science can be integrated into the curriculum, but it’s difficult. Teachers have to do so much. We’re trying to help them build science into their work,” he says.
Each region involved in the Science Week has developed a programme according to its own features and science focus, says Sterling.
“The programmes are quite personalized for each region. The teachers are providing their own ideas and interpretations on what their region needs,” he says.
These outlines can be found on the NZASE website, along with 25 experiment ideas for teachers to use.
There are also details of a competition open to participating schools. The SchoolGen Hot Solar Oven Challenge is both an enquiry-based learning project for students and a contest.
Students will work together in small groups to design, build, and test a solar oven during the week, using everyday materials. They will then present their finished work in video format for judging.
Sterling, who is based in Nelson and teaches science at Victory School, says Nelson’s Cawthron Institute has been actively involved in National Primary Science Week.
“Cawthron have been very supportive of this event. They’ve provided prizes and helped organise activities. We’re lucky to have them in Nelson.”
National Primary Science Week is in its third year and Sterling is optimistic about its future.
“It’s growing every year, and I hope it will continue to do so,” he says. “Primary science is so important and it needs all the promoting it can get.”