Genesis Energy Realise the Dream is a 5 day national celebratory and educational expo for high achievers in research and technological practice (sciences, mathematics, social sciences and technology) in New Zealand schools made possible by sponsorship from Genesis Energy (principal sponsor), Victoria University and the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology. It is designed to build a strong culture for sciences, mathematics, social sciences and technology (sciences and technology) in New Zealand by:
- building on the foundation provided by our young;
- providing an incentive for achievement;
- encouraging and acknowledging young people in their development of creativity and lateral thinking in sciences and technology and entrepreneurialism; and
- supporting parents and educators to inspire our future wealth creators.
Using young achievers and their achievements to promote science and technology to other young people and the community is one of the most powerful ways encouraging them and others with potential to carry on into tertiary study of the sciences.
Every student nominated for Realise the Dream has already succeeded in winning an award for their work through other programmes such as regional Science and Technology Fairs, CREST Awards, ETITO Bright Sparks, Young Enterprise Scheme, Young Historian or the Yr13 Planning & Decision Making Competition.
The selection panel was made up of Mr Bill Radford (chief selector); Glenys Ross, Kerikeri High School; Cory Matthew, Massey University; Jeff Reid, Crop & Food; Sally Birdsall, Auckland College of Education, Ross Petersen, ETITO Bright Sparks and Glyn McGregor from GIF Technology Education. All of the selectors have long experience as chief regional science and technology fair judges or involvement in research or technology.
69 nominations were received from the above programmes in 2005. Nominations from these programmes included a video of the student’s display together with their log-books and supporting material. The overall standard of the nominations was very high and 32 nominations were selected for Realise the Dream. Inclusion of work from activities other than regional science and technology fairs has succeeded in presenting a broader, more realistic spread of skills and knowledge required for attainment of the “knowledge society”.
“From my perspective, it was really awesome being able to meet with students from all over New Zealand, and I was astounded by the creative and complex nature of their projects. The entire event demonstrated that the possibilities in science are endless and I feel as if more opportunities have opened up for me. I have a better understanding of the ingenuity and perseverance displayed by those pursuing a career in scientific research.”
Genesis Energy Realise the Dream 2005 included workshops for the participants on presentation and speaking skills, intellectual property, patenting and commercialization of ideas, and future planning; visits to research and technological organizations such as ESR, AgResearch, NIWA, and demonstrations and visits to sites such as Stonehenge Aotearoa; Hau Nui Windfarm and Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre. Victoria University also ran workshops on electronics; a hands-on laboratory class and biology and technology workshops. The aim of the programme offered was to expose the participants to a wide range of research activity, technological practice and commercialisation of the products of research in order to encourage and promote these areas and to inspire our future wealth creators.
“I have had the privilege of being able to attend the event twice and each time I have had an absolutely incredible time. This time was no exception! The visits to various NZ research institutions and technology centres provided a glimpse of the incredible amount of scientific progress that is being made in this country.”
All students gave a three minute oral presentation at the Grand Hall, Parliament, which was very well attended by teachers and Members of Parliament. After the presentations a cocktail function was held so that guests had an opportunity to speak with the participants.
“Congratulations on your organisation of the Realise the Dream event before Xmas. I thought it was superbly run and we were very happy to be a part of it. There is no doubt that there are some extremely talented youth out there creating some fantastic intellectual property.” Chris Dodds, Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand
The principal sponsor for the last three years has been Genesis Energy, but other sponsorship is also received from the Ministry of Research, Science & Technology and Victoria University. The Genesis Energy sponsorship provides for participant travel, some activities and most of the celebratory awards dinner. In-kind sponsorship was received from Victoria Universitywhich subsidized the costs of accommodation for the participants and provided different activities in the programme. Dexcel and the HC in AgHort sponsorship covered the cost of some activities and bus travel.
MC Ginette McDonald oversaw a celebratory dinner during which 18 awards were made for the standard of work. The Hon Steve Maharey, Hon Marian Hobbs and the Hon John Luxton joined guests from business, research and education at a very successful and enjoyable evening.
“I really enjoyed attending Realise the Dream. I have not been with such a group of focused, motivated and enthusiastic students for many years. This experience has been a real morale and confidence booster, as well as a valuable learning experience in the area of science and technology. Many thanks to all involved especially the time and effort to organise such an event. I will never forget last week.”
“Realise the Dream was the most wonderful experience for Anna. She had a fabulous week and had so many great things to tell us about. She definitely learned an enormous amount and grew from the experience and opportunity.” Parent
The Royal Society’s goal is to enthuse, excite and motivate young people in sciences and technology to ensure New Zealand’s future capacity. In addition to identifying, communicating with, and organising events for young achievers, we make it possible for them to travel to international science and technology events. This develops in our young achievers an outlook that is global rather than parochial and builds the foundations for full New Zealand participation in the global community. The following promising young New Zealanders were selected to attend these events in 2005.
The Forum involves up to 300 students from 60 countries. Students are involved in lectures and demonstrations, including visits to scientific institutions including Oxford and Cambridge University. Lychhun Kouch from Aorere College, Auckland and Sarah Wong from Nayland College, Nelson were selected to attend. These two students also met with the Hon Steve Maharey to talk about their visit to London.
Timothy Bishop from Spotswood College and Emma Dunning from Kapiti College together with teacher escort Ritesh Anand also from Kapiti College attended the USA Space Camp where they participated in a comprehensive educational programme, which included activities such as scuba diving, experiencing four G’s of lift-off force, weightlessness and a simulated lunar landing.
Beijing Youth Science Creation Competition participants
Simon McVeagh, Rongotai College; Thomas Cole and Logan Elliot from St Thomas of Canterbury College; Sarah Trass from Kamo High School and Jessie Lineham from James Hargest College together with Mr William Radford, Chief Selector for Realise the Dream, attended this event in March organised by the Beijing Association of Science and Technology at which over 500 students from China exhibited their scientific investigations and technological practice. Other countries participating were North Korea, Japan and France.
Jonathan Platt from Kings College, Auckland attended the Taiwan Science Fair and won 1st prize in the international engineering section. This event is attended by Taiwanese students as well as students and teachers from 13 countries.
The Professor Harry Messel International Science School gathers together top science students from nine countries for two weeks of lectures, laboratory tours and experiments and social events. Six students were selected by the Royal Society of New Zealand to attend: Vaishnaavi Gnanasampanthan, Wellington Girls’ College; Alexander Gordon, Hutt Valley High School; Andrew King, Lynfield College; Amy Russ, Palmerston North Girls’ High School; Chloe Waddell, Westlake Girls’ High School and Jessica Wong from Epsom Girls’ Grammar School.
“The 33rd Professor Harry Messel International Science School is a life changing experience. It really opened my eyes; see how much more there is to understand and how exciting the prospects are in science and technology. It made me realize the potential of future in science and made me re-evaluate my own goals. Now, I am really interested to pursue science as a career.” Jessica Wong
Biofutures is a conference for senior secondary students who are interested in pursuing studies and careers in biomedical engineering and/or biotechnology to learn from industry professionals, investigate career opportunities and network with like minded students. These students were selected: Jimmy Chong from Pakuranga College; Jenny Chu, Westlake Girls’ High School; Sarah Wyse, Diocesan School for Girls; Lisa Kaan, Otago Girls’ High School; Ngaire Keenan, Palmerston Girls’ High School; Tori Collins, Opotiki College; Jennifer Ho, Epsom Girls’ Grammar School.
“Looking back on it now, Biofutures 2005 was not only a chance to experience the latest cutting edge technology in the field of biological sciences, but also allowed us to develop close friendships and aspire to be motivated and get the most out of our studies for next year. I bring back many memories of positive group discussions, funny and playful moments, as well as a new renewed feeling that there are endless opportunities for everyone if we choose to seek them out.” Jimmy Chong
The genETHICS Essay Competition was held for the second time in New Zealand in August 2005. The activity is a unique and innovative competition that provides secondary school students with an opportunity to discuss ethical issues associated with human genetics research. Students are provided with a scenario which requires them to make a judgement based on scientific and ethical reasoning. genETHICS is open to all secondary school students who prepare an essay that considers the science underlying a given scenario.
The top 6 essayists are brought to Wellington to present their arguments where they are then assessed on the basis of their presentation. Finalists were Anna de Roo, Mt Roskill Grammar School; Tanya Keast, Wainuiomata Christian College; Lee White, Columba College; Jina Rhou, Orewa College; Daphne Cohen, Hutt Valley High School; Sasha Srivastava, Otago Girls’ High School with Daphne Cohen winning the competition.
BAYERBoost is an environmental scholarship scheme which gives senior secondary school and undergraduate tertiary students experience in environmental research or restoration under the guidance of a Host Organisation during the summer holidays. It is funded by Bayer New Zealand and administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand.
Scholarships for 2005 were awarded to:
- Emma Beatson ($6000), Auckland University of Technology (AUT) to research the diet of the Pygmy Sperm Whale.
- Kathryn Lister ($6000), University of Otago to investigate the ecological interactions of the freshwater benthic diatom didymo in NZ streams.
- Sean Gresham ($5000) of Geraldine High School and hosted byEnvironment Canterbury to monitor the environmental health of the Waihi River, following the closure of the Winchester wool scour.
- Jade Lanauze ($5000) of St Mathew’s Collegiate, Masterton and hosted by the Department of Conservation to assist in the establishment of a new Black Robin population on Pitt Island.
- Diana Cheyne, ($3000) of New Plymouth Girls’ High School and hosted by the Taranaki Regional Council to adapt the New Zealand Stream Health Monitoring and Assessment Kit for use in Taranaki.
The Lindau Nobel Prize Winners Meetings bring together each year a collection of Nobel Laureates and students/young scientists for lectures and discussions in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. The 55th Lindau Meeting in 2005 commemorated the Einstein year, and was the second interdisciplinary meeting to be held, emphasising the important contribution made by scientific dialogue between the three disciplines.
In June 2005, a New Zealand delegation of:
- Peter Mace, a PhD student studying Biochemistry at the University of Otago;
- Kaa-Sandra Chee who holds a post-doctoral position within the Molecular Vision Laboratory at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences in The University of Auckland; and
- Dr Shelley Scott from the Physics Dept, University of Canterbury where she is currently researching spontaneous pattern formation in nanoscale systems,
joined more than 700 of the world’s finest young students and researchers from 54 countries in Lindau, Germany for a unique opportunity to exchange ideas with 44 Nobel Laureates, including our Nobel Laureate Professor Alan MacDiarmid.
This type of interaction is “the stuff of dreams” and is highly inspirational for researchers at this stage of their careers. The New Zealand scholars learned about areas of research unknown to them, exchanged ideas and views with both emerging and iconic researchers, and broadened their networks and horizons considerably. The Royal Society of New Zealand has recommended to the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology that New Zealand continue its involvement in the Lindau Nobel Prize Winners meetings.
There are 1056 Young Achievers’ on the database and of these 726 receive regular newsletters of recent developments in scientific and technological practice and opportunities such as scholarships and competitions. The database has been redeveloped to be much more inclusive and interactive. This has allowed greater flexibility in extracting information so that we now have a better ability to target particular groups of young achievers. This opportunity also keeps the Society up-to-date with the students about their study whether it’s at school or at university.
The Royal Society has been contracted by BP to administer this programme since 1998. It is estimated that more than 250,000 students participate in BP Challenges in class, school or regional events each year.
The BP Challenge is a very successful programme, which provides opportunities for Year 2 to Year 10 (J2 to Form4) students to develop such essentials 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.
91 schools received support for school and classroom BP Challenges in 2005, 42% of which were decile 5 or lower. The schools are sent the BP Challenge file, participation certificates and small prizes for those students participating. Now that the BP Challenge resource is on-line, the number of requests for the BP Challenge File is expected to decrease each year.
In 2005, 37 Regional BP Challenges involving 82 age level activities were participated in by 449 schools (18% of all schools) and approximately 8,000 students. These events are often community events bringing together a large audience of parents and interested adults, supported by the local BP service station. Inaugural regional BP Challenges were held in Marlborough and South Auckland.
The BP Challenge was evaluated in 2005 and the findings clearly demonstrate very high levels of teacher satisfaction with the programme and student enjoyment of the activities. Teachers and students recognise the learning opportunities in the Challenges. Teachers appreciate the support given by BP in terms of provision of the resource and materials, and for the commitment to on-going development of the programme.
“I continue to be amazed at the children’s problem solving skills, the co-operative way they work together and the success of children who don’t often achieve well in other school areas but they are usually the one’s who can think outside the square. Thank you for your support. This is a very worthwhile student learning programme”.
“A busy, noisy, fun day. The judges were fantastic and very enthusiastic. I especially liked how they moved through the teams encouraging the students. The students were eager and excited and extremely well behaved. The venue was warm, large and roomy. The central King Country schools are very grateful for the support that BP and the Royal Society provides”.
CREST – ‘Creativity in Science and Technology’ – is a national awards scheme that provides a framework for students to carry out authentic technological practice and scientific research based on individually chosen issues that are of real significance in their lives. Undertaking a CREST Award project can inspire, from an early age, an enduring passion for these subjects.
The scheme offers First CREST, Team First, Bronze, Team Bronze, Silver, Team Silver, Gold and Team Gold awards for students from Year 6 through to Year 13. This year saw the award of the first Team Gold award ever.
Non-competitive, these awards are applicable to students of all abilities, ranging from gifted and talented through to students with special needs. Assessment is based on the criteria of creativity, perseverance and the application of knowledge. All students are encouraged to access the expertise of consultants and assessors in the field relevant to their project, but at Silver and Gold level, this is an absolute requirement.
It is pleasing to note that in 2005 we retained the increase achieved during 2004. We hope to continue this trend during 2006.
Gold Update: Stephen McCabe of Morrinsville College, and now a first-year student at the University of Waikato, was presented with a Gold CREST award by John Todd of the Todd Foundation, on 5 July 2005 at The Royal Society of New Zealand. Stephen came up with the idea to build a small submarine after researching the internet and discovering the problems divers had to face when performing dangerous and time consuming tasks. His Remotely Operated Vessel (ROV) is a prototype designed to perform hull inspections on boats to look for hull damage, hidden contraband and the leakage of contaminants such as oil or other chemicals into the water. The ROV is also useful for search and recovery, which are common tasks carried out by the police when searching for bodies and various other objects.
A group of three Year 13 girls from Palmerston North Girls’ High School, Rosie Keane, Ellen Jones, and Victoria McLennon were awarded a Team Gold Award on 9 November 2005 for their documentary re:generation, an in-depth look at the leisure options for local teenagers. Their documentary premiered at Downtown Rialto Cinema, Palmerston North on 9 August before an invited audience of local dignitaries, and was the culmination of an 18–month project designed to research, analyse and present the findings of an investigation billed as ‘a finger on the pulse of teenage opinion on the city’.
Four other Gold projects are currently underway and are expected to be completed during 2006.
Sponsorship: As well as the Todd Foundation sponsoring CREST over the next three years, and a donation of $5,000 received from Eastern and Central Community Trust, $15,000 was received from ASB Trust in Auckland for furthering CREST in that area.
This Ministry of Education contract, funded through the Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom (LEOTC) Fund, commenced in August 2000 and RSNZ entered into a new contract in April 2003 which continued until December 2005.
The main purpose of the National Waterways Project is to enhance the implementation of the New Zealand Curriculum and support environmental education (in line with the Guidelines for Environmental Education in New Zealand Schools) using waterways as a context. Learning experiences provided via this project focus on waterways monitoring and waterways-based environmental education which enable students to:
- learn how to gather, record, interpret and utilise data ;
- develop an understanding of the importance of maintaining waterways ; and
- be encouraged to take responsibility for their environment
Networks and partnerships at the national level have been developed and information and resources in support of the Project compiled. A key element is the NWP website http://nwp.rsnz.org which promotes regional activities and support for waterways-based education and provides information about school activities, monitoring data and relevant links and information of interest to schools This includes information which will assist teachers to link the Project to their in-class teaching, curriculum links, information on learning outcomes, NCEA assessment resources, examples of best practice, and sources of support for waterways restoration and enhancement work.
In 2005 curriculum support for schools was provided through production of the NWP/Wai Care Stream Education and Assessment Resource for Secondary Schools, the Botany Downs/CREST case study (with 37 ideas for waterways investigations), the electronic newsletters A drop of news No’s 18 – 21 and through various other resources. The NWP Attitudinal Survey was trialled and support given to NZCER for their research into interdependence in the context of waterways at primary school level.
A continuing priority is to develop strategies for incorporating Mãori and Pasifika perspectives on the environment into programme planning, delivery and promotion. In 2005 NWP distributed free to schools copies of Waitakere City Council’s bilingual resource ‘The Guardians of the Mauri’.
The Biodiversity Advice Fund support enabled the NWP facilitators to spend twice as much time in the field, working with twice as many students.
In 2005 seven of the New Zealand Science Mathematics and Technology Teacher Fellows worked on waterways based environmental education and contributed in various ways to the delivery of NWP.
In October 2005 RSNZ successfully tendered for the LEOTC Joint Environmental Monitoring Project which combines the delivery of NWP and GLOBE (previously delivered by the University of Waikato), and a contract will be negotiated in January 2006 to run until June 2009.
The Society worked with the Sir Peter Blake Trust to establish the Sir Peter Blake Environmental Educator Award. This was made to Sue Jarvis from Lincoln College who will be released from school for 2006 to work on the development of Lincoln as a sustainable township.
The Biotechnology Learning Hub (www.biotechlearn.org.nz) is a Government initiative which has been developed in collaboration with educators and the biotechnology sector. It features up-to-date examples of biotechnology in practice, along with supporting classroom resources. Developed and managed by the Centre for Science and Technology Education Research, University of Waikato, the Hub is overseen by an Advisory Group which RSNZ has been contracted to administer. The Advisory Group currently is composed of Emeritus Professor George Petersen, University of Otago; Robyn Baker, NZ Council for Educational Research; and Tony Brenton-Rule, Technologia.
In 2005 the following Alphas were produced:
Written by Kay Leather, Richard Hall and Geoff Dobson of the Phoenix Astronomical Society, and Anna Meyer, RSNZ. The ancient and mysterious circle of massive stones known as Stonehenge in England inspired a full-scale working adaptation right here in Aotearoa, allowing all New Zealanders to experience some of the wonder of Stonehenge for themselves. Situated near Carterton in the Wairarapa, Stonehenge Aotearoa allows us to explore and experience how the people of ancient times used the sky to obtain detailed information on the seasons, on time and for navigation.
Written by Phil Bishop from the Zoology Department, University of Otago, this Alpha traces the change in attitude towards frogs from the ‘truly loathsome creatures’ of the 18th Century to the present understanding that not only are they important environmental biomonitors, but comprise a ‘beautiful array of varied, colourful, harmless and often comical creatures’. They do however face a threatened future and the question is will they survive the 21st century?
We have all heard the saying ‘use it or lose it’ and there is little doubt that regular physical activity and general well-being go hand-in-hand. But can you have too much of a good thing? Exercise scientists at the University of Otago were curious to know how we respond when pushed to exercise continuously for several days—100 hours of exercise with minimal sleep. Dr Jim Cotter and his three team mates therefore ran, cycled, swam, paddled and climbed their way over the Southern Traverse Adventure Race, while a huge team of local, national and international researchers examined the effects on their bodies.
Flax, or harakeke, has played an important part in the lives of New Zealanders, right from supporting the survival of the very first people who came here. It is a familiar sight in our natural, farmed and garden landscape and a long-time part of our cultural heritage. Today, people are exploring ways to mix and match generations of knowledge about harakeke and its uses with new scientific ideas and innovation to make the most of this renewable resource. This Alpha looks at how people have found many ways to harness the strength and flexibility of this valuable natural resource, and the development of the New Zealand flax fibre industry.
In 2005 the following Gammas were produced:
Imagine opening a jar of jam – and as you wrestle with the top, you hear and feel the bones in your wrist fracture. Most think of the condition as only affecting old ladies, giving some a stooped posture. However, elderly women are not the only ones at risk. For some sufferers it means a life of debilitating pain, where bone mass degradation has reached the point where simple movements like bending, walking or stretching can cause brittle bones to break and spinal vertebrae to collapse. There are many lifestyle choices which are known to trigger or worsen osteoporosis, and how you live your life when you are young can directly affect whether you develop the condition at all.
On 26 December 2004 a large earthquake off the coast of the island of Sumatra in Indonesia triggered tsunami that raced across the Indian Ocean causing immense damage and loss of life. The tsunami wreaked havoc as far away as Somalia (over 4000 kilometres away) and were even detected by wave measuring equipment in Chile and Mexico. While the tsunami spawned by the Sumatran Earthquake was the most deadly and well publicised in recent history, tsunami are not an uncommon phenomenon; there have been at least ten tsunami events internationally that have caused loss of life since 1990 and New Zealand has been hit by tsunami numerous times in the past. This Gamma explains all about tsunami and their causes.
Human activities are causing the Earth’s climate to change and there are many potential consequences of this. This GAMMA explains the science of climate change and provides outlines of some of the potential consequences of human-induced climate change. It addresses how humans are involved in climate change; the greenhouse effect; the evidence that greenhouse gases are increasing; and looks at the changing climate and what is expected to happen in the future, including sea level rise, snow and ice melting, increased precipitation, but also water shortages, increased threats to human health; changes to ecosystems and changing crop harvests.
An in-depth look into the science of xenotransplantation as well as d