With its strong networks in the scientific and technological communities, the Royal Society is able to play a unique role in supporting science and technology education. The Royal Society is the only organisation in New Zealand which is able to encompass such a wide range of activity at so many different levels.
It has a broad perspective on science and technology education through the maintenance of a Science and Technology Education Committee, close links with the NZ Association of Science Educators and Technology Education NZ, affiliation with the other professional teacher associations in the Royal Society’s sphere of interest, the Polytech Heads of Science and the University Deans of Science committees.
The Royal Society contributes to ensuring the provision of New Zealand’s future human capacity in research, science and technology by:
- encouraging young people to engage in scientific and technological practice.
- encouraging students to enter careers in science and technology and supporting them in the early stages.
- demonstrating the value of science and technology in other careers.
- identifying promising individuals and providing opportunities to foster their growth and development.
It manages a range of programmes which:
- provide opportunities for school students to engage in scientific and technological practice, e.g. Science and Technology Fairs, BP Challenge.
- recognise and reward achievement by students (school and tertiary), such as the British Council Student Award to attend the London International Youth Science Forum.
- support students to attend international scientific conferences and schools, e.g. Singapore Science Research School and US Space Camp (see Medals and Awards section).
- recognise and provide professional development for teachers, e.g. New Zealand Science, Mathematics and Technology Teacher Fellowships (see Allocation of funding section).
- create linkages between enterprises and schools, involving professional scientists, technologists and engineers.
Science and Technology Fairs are established, successful and high profile events, which take place annually throughout New Zealand at classroom, regional and national levels. Science and Technology Fairs have been operating in New Zealand for over 30 years. Annually, they involve at least 50,000 children from Year 7 to Year 13. There are 23 regional fairs.
The Royal Society of New Zealand distributes funding to 16 of the 23 regional fairs, and regular communication is maintained with all regional co-ordinators throughout the year. Regional fairs are run by local committees of volunteers, including science teachers, service clubs such as Kiwanis and Lions, and Royal Society Branches.
The Royal Society manages the National Science and Technology Fair, which features the best exhibits from each of the regional fairs. This is a high profile event, attended by many people and attracting extensive national media coverage.
The 2000 Genesis Energy National Science and Technology Fair was held at the Maritime Museum in Auckland, from 6-12 December. Thirty-one regional winners attended as well as three guest exhibitors from Taiwan and the United States.
2000 Genesis E nergy National Science & Technology Fair Premier Winner for Science
Georgia Piggot, Whangarei Girls’ High School
Georgia’s investigation has commercial significance. After growing up in a family that exports calla lily flowers, she decided to investigate ways to enhance autumn flowering in calla lilies, a plant that normally flowers in summer and senesces in autumn. Tubers are usually lifted in mid May but Georgia found that delaying lifting until late June and leaving the plants to senesce until February, produced the most autumn flowers.
2000 Genesis Energy National Science and Technology Fair Premier Winner for Technology
Simon Jackson, Hutt Valley High School
Simon’s interest in electronics and global positioning systems inspired him to design and produce a positioning device that was accurate and useful for short distance positioning – the Portable Land-based Positioning System (PLPS). He then adapted part of his design to create the Single Distance Measuring System (SDMS), which is capable of measuring a single distance between two points or between the main unit and a solid object. His device could be used by a wide range of people, from golfers and builders to surveyors and environmentalists.
The was held at Exscite, the science centre in Hamilton, from 3-8 December 2001. There were24 entries plus 5 exhibits from other countries – Taiwan (2), USA (1), and Namibia (2). This is the first time entries have been received from Namibia and it is hoped that a reciprocal arrangement can take place, enabling a New Zealand exhibitor to participate in the Namibian Science and Technology Fair.
On the days that the exhibitors were not required for judging, they participated in a programme of activities, including visits to Waimangu Thermal Valley in Rotorua and the Genesis Energy Huntly Power Station, dinner on the M.V. Waipa Delta (riverboat cruise), and black water rafting at the Waitomo Caves.
The Award Ceremony was held at the Exscite Centre on 7 December, with Ruud Kleinpaste as Master of Ceremonies. The Minister for Research, Science and Technology, Hon. Pete Hodgson, addressed the audience and presented some of the awards.
Linda Moore of Morrinsville College, representative from the Genesis Energy East Waikato Science and Technology Fair, was presented by the Minister with a Gold CREST Award for her investigation into the effect of riparian zones on stream health.
This year was the 25th anniversary of National Science and Technology Fairs, which was celebrated with a cake-cutting ceremony, featuring the winner of the first national fair, Barry Dent.
2001 Genesis Energy National Science & Technology Fair Premier Winner for Science
Michael Walmsley, Church College, Hamilton
Michael’s project grew out of his love for cricket and his desire to be a better batsman. He designed a piece of equipment to hit a ball consistently and then investigated the effect of several factors on the flight of a ball; the speed of the ball when it hits the bat; the position on the bat where the ball strikes; the type of ball and the type of bat. His research has many implications for cricket. His method could be used for testing bats and for allowing individual cricketers to select the bat which best suits them.
Michael’s prize allows him to travel to either the US Space Camp or the London Youth International Science Forum.
2001 Genesis Energy National Science and Technology Fair Premier Winner for Technology
Jeremy Clark, Whakatane Intermediate School
Jeremy has been an insulin-dependent diabetic for most of his life. Diabetics need to rotate the position of injection sites to prevent the formation of lumps that could interfere with insulin absorption. Jeremy has designed a guide which has helped him remember to rotate injection sites. This has reduced the incidence of lumps dramatically as well as giving significantly better diabetes control. After gaining ethics approval, Jeremy invited other diabetics to be part of his trial and designed custom-made guides based on abdomen size. Jeremy’s prize also allows him to travel to the US Space Camp or the London Youth International Science Forum.
The BP Challenge is a very successful programme, which provides opportunities for Year 2 to Year 10 (J2 to Form 4) students to develop essential skills such as problem solving, team building and social skills, while enjoying the activity in which they are engaged. The activities offer the opportunity for teachers to develop scientific and technological concepts in class with their students if they wish.
Students are given a scenario and are then given simple materials such as paper, string, straws, sticky tape, and set about developing innovative solutions within time constraints.
These activities can be held in the classroom or as a whole school event. There are also regional challenges involving a number of schools coming together. This involves many hours of organisation, which is generally carried out by a voluntary regional coordinator. Ninety regional BP Challenges took place in 2001, an increase of 10% over the previous year. A total of 680 schools were involved, with over 12,000 students participating.
The Royal Society has been contracted by BP to administer the programme since 1998. It is estimated that more than 250,000 students have participated in these school events each year.
This Ministry of Education contract, funded through the Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom (LEOTC) Fund, commenced in August 2000. The main goal of the project is to provide curriculum support for water quality monitoring learning experiences for primary and secondary school students. The overall aim by the end of 2002 is to bring all regions up to an equivalent level in terms of programmes and resources.
During the report period, a National Advisory Group was established and a scoping exercise carried out to determine the extent of waterways work throughout the country. A database of waterways schools and teachers was set up and all schools were surveyed to determine the number involved in waterways activities.
Teacher training workshops were run throughout the country and a number of facilitators in areas of minimal activity were contracted to support teachers running field trips to their local waterways.
Curriculum support resources were commissioned, including worksheets in Te Reo Māori, which are made available nationally through the website (http://nwp.rsnz.org ).
Promotional activities included a quarterly newsletter and website.