House of Science goes national

Issue: Volume 96, Number 8

Posted: 15 May 2017
Reference #: 1H9d7j

Former secondary school teacher Chris Duggan established House of Science three years ago with the aim of enriching the science education of young New Zealanders, and the organisation is now expanding.

House of Science aims to inspire and enrich the educational experiences of students and their teachers through the provision of science resource kits delivered to schools. The organisation has also been offering professional development in science for both primary and secondary teachers, in addition to a VEX robotics club and science-based school and holiday programmes for primary and secondary students.

“I want to help connect schools, tertiary institutions and industry so we can all make science more accessible, fun and engaging for kids,” says Chris.

Chris had a vision of raising scientific literacy in the local Western Bay of Plenty community in particular, and by 2014 had left her teaching job to set up House of Science Tauranga.

Supported by a horde of willing volunteers, she developed and delivered a range of science resource kits to the region’s primary schools. These kits contain everything a year 1–8 teacher needs to get their students involved in hands-on science experiments. They are sponsored by local businesses and range in topics from flight science to forensics, and food science to force and friction.

Relying on the support of local businesses, community grants, donations and membership fees, House of Science hosts a successful VEX robotics club and a science tutoring service.

A shift beyond Tauranga

In January 2016 the organisation entered into a partnership with the Wright Family Foundation, which encouraged a shift in thinking beyond the Tauranga region.

House of Science NZ Charitable Trust has been established as a new entity, with a vision of raising scientific literacy throughout New Zealand.

This new national body is responsible for developing resource kits and supports the establishment of House of Science branches across the length of the country. Each branch is an independent charitable trust and raises funds locally. So far, seven have opened.

“Our aim is to support teachers to offer the science-based activities they’d like to do with their students but sometimes struggle to, due to time constraints and a lack of confidence."

“We want to help teachers overcome the obstacles to carrying out science experiments at school – some of the kits even include the red cabbage needed to make an indicator,” she laughs.

Teachers are able to book the kits online; they are delivered directly to the school and then collected a week later.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 8:06 pm, 15 May 2017

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