This is despite a new national report on children’s science literacy levels showing poor results in science for children finishing primary school. The National Monitoring Study of Student Assessment shows just one in five Year 8 children across New Zealand are reaching the expected level of achievement in science – the worst figure of any learning area in the curriculum.
Director of Hutt Science, Dr Anne Ryan says the science programme offered in Lower Hutt to primary schools is making a difference by supporting teachers and schools to provide high quality science in the classroom.
“We receive consistently positive feedback from teachers, who, with the help of our resource kits, can now deliver great science lessons. Our science resource kit ‘library’ is tightly aligned to the New Zealand curriculum and has a vast range of topics from Forensics to Forces and Bones to Biosecurity. Teachers need this type of tangible support to deliver a wide-ranging science programme to students,” says Dr Ryan.
“Hutt Science provides professional development to teachers and targeted ongoing support so that science can be taught well in classrooms. We also have strong networks that enable primary teachers to connect with tertiary educational institutions, science and technology businesses, and Crown Research Institutes.”
The Hutt Science programme has been proven to work with an independent evaluation showing teachers experienced a shift in students’ thinking and approach to science. “Students participating in the programme demonstrated an enquiry-led approach to learning which is fundamental to expanding your knowledge of sciences,” says Dr Ryan.
Better provision and improved access to science resources in the classroom were also considered to have contributed to improvements in the level of student engagement in the science curriculum. Principals, teachers and students who participated in the evaluation all acknowledged that there had been a positive shift in their school’s ability to deliver quality science programmes in the classroom.