• iceberg
  • boy with flowers
  • checking water quality
  • planet eclipse
  • rangitoto trees
  • kids with test tubes
  • kids with earth
  • snowy mountains
  • Rainbow Clouds

    Refraction and diffraction of light through ice crystals in the clouds

  • Philippa On The Ice

    Philippa On The Ice Philippa Werry at an Antarctic research camp 2016

New Zealand Science Teacher

Teacher Education in Science

Small school teachers urged to enter PMs Science Teacher prize

New Zealand prize-winning teacher Tania Lineham from Invercargill is urging teachers from some of the country’s smaller, regional schools to enter this year’s Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize, which she won last year.

PMs Sci Prizes“I encourage them to put themselves forward because in a smaller area you’re probably doing a lot more than you realise. Putting it down on paper for the entry process is a worthwhile and interesting experience. In the regions, you often have a lot to do in both the school and in the local community,” she says.

“The application process requires you to be reflective and concise and that helped with clarity. I am always looking for new ways to teach and it helped inform that process.”

Tania Lineham heads the science department at James Hargest College. The Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize awards $50,000 to the winning teacher and $100,000 to their school.

Entries to this year’s prizes are now open and the 2016 prize criteria give more New Zealand teachers an opportunity to apply. This category is open to teachers at primary, intermediate or secondary level, and to those teaching mathematics, technology and engineering, as well as science.

“The big advantage of winning is that it allows your school to do so much more than they could otherwise afford. We have used some of the money for professional development for science teachers to help them travel to conferences, which is very expensive from Invercargill,” says Tania.

Money is also being used to support science students to access science learning experiences and opportunities, taking the pressure off families with limited budgets. James Hargest is buying a digital spectrometer for chemical analysis and technology including large screen Smart TVs for some of its nine laboratories.

As a result of receiving the prize-winning recognition, Tania has had many new opportunities, including now planning to write a book for other teachers about her classroom practices. She has become more involved locally, working with primary school science programmes and taking student science leaders from her school to perform chemistry shows at other schools.

“It is absolutely worth applying. It’s an opportunity to share different teaching approaches.

“As a society, we are becoming more dependent on science than we have ever been before so it’s important to get the message across about how and why science is so important.”

Entries for the 2016 Prizes close on 16 September. The Prizes will be presented in early 2017.

The Prime Minister’s Science Prize categories are:

The Prime Minister’s Science Prize, $500,000

This will be awarded to an individual or team for a transformative scientific discovery or achievement, which has had a significant economic, health, social and/or environmental impact on New Zealand or internationally

The Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize, $200,000

This will be awarded to an outstanding emerging scientist who has had their PhD conferred within the past eight years (i.e. from 1 January 2008 onwards)

The Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize, $150,000

This will be awarded to a registered teacher who has been teaching science, mathematics, technology, pūtaiao, hangarau or pāngarau learning areas of the New Zealand curriculum to school-age children in a primary, intermediate or secondary New Zealand registered school.

The Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize, $100,000

This will be awarded to a practising scientist who can demonstrate an interest, passion and aptitude for science communication and public engagement, or to a person who has developed expertise in public engagement with, or communication of, complex scientific or technological information to the public or science community.

 The Prime Minister’s Future Scientist Prize, $50,000 tertiary scholarship

This will be awarded to a Year 12 or Year 13 student for outstanding achievement in carrying out a practical and innovative science, mathematics, technology or engineering project.

To find out more and to lodge entries visit:


or contact:    

The Secretariat

Royal Society of New Zealand

The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes Secretariat

Tel 04 470 5762

Email debbie.woodhall@royalsociety.org.nz

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