• iceberg
  • boy with flowers
  • checking water quality
  • planet eclipse
  • solarsystem model
  • rangitoto trees
  • kids with test tubes
  • kids with earth
  • snowy mountains
  • teens in physics class
  • 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

Learning in Science

Organised chaos: BHS science fair

Stephen Dorey, HOD Science at Buller High School, says that the introduction of a science fair has built bridges in the community at large, invigorated learning, and created opportunities for cross-sector knowledge sharing.

2015 BHS winnersStephen helped introduce the science fair to the Buller community after having lived in Nelson before moving down the coast, where he helped run a successful science fair for many years.

Originally from Canada, Stephen says that the science fair format ties together all curriculum 

“If we look at the NZC, and the Nature of Science strand, it fits in with so much of that: participating and contributing for example. Quite often science projects that students will choose are related to things that are relevant to their community, like testing local waterways for example. The format of the science fair really is relevant across the entire Nature of Science.”

“In one science fair project, we can encompass all that we’re trying to do as science educators.”

Cross-sector science

Choosing a science fair project topic is the part that gets students invested in the learning, but the scientific rigour that must follow during their investigations is the learning main course, says Stephen.

“After coming up with their own idea, they have to apply the scientific method, and to me, that’s what we’re trying to teach.

Science fair learning takes place during class time, and although this is exciting for all involved, it’s also a recipe for sore feet, says Stephen.

“You’re just madly circulating, helping out with resources and that sort of thing. So it’s a really hectic two weeks. But we’ve seen the benefits, so we’ve decided that it’s worth the organised chaos!”

Stephen says that science fair is something that’s generated a lot of enthusiasm in the area, to the point that primary schools wanted their help to get involved. After being called on to judge primary school science fairs in the region, Stephen and his colleagues at the West Coast Science Teachers Association realised that the best way ahead was to bring them in.  A number of intensive PD sessions followed.  

This has meant that primary teachers, who may not have had specific scientific training, can add to their confidence in teaching things like the scientific method.

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  • As a parent of a child that has been involved with Steve in the Science Fair, I can confidently say that this is an excellent opportunity that creates a lot of enthusiasm from a lot of the kids involved. It really does give the kids confidence to think that maybe they do have what it takes to include science in their future endeavors especially when they see the results they have come up with for the Science Fair. Steve is a popular teacher who has earned much respect from students and parents alike with his enthusiasm for Science, the Science Fair and what can be achieved with a little bit of hard work and enthusiam. He is a real credit to our community.

    Posted by Haidee Ward, 03/06/2016 9:16am (8 years ago)

  • Science Fairs are always worth it.

    Posted by Murray Quartly, 10/05/2016 8:49pm (8 years ago)

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