Heads Up

Resources for teachers interested in science, technology and mathematics

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  • Alpine Fault Drilling: Right now a geological drilling programme is being undertaken on the West Coast to study the alpine fault.  This project has had its ups and downs with tough technical challenges and unexpected twist and turns.  Read Rupert’s Blog”  by one of the science leaders to follow progress of this fascinating project, and have a look at the GNS Science video “Minerals and the Alpine Fault”  to find out how researchers study the rock chips to locate the fault.

  • The science of Interstellar: 5 TED-Ed Lessons to help you understand the film: The space-travel film Interstellar features some remarkably scientifically accurate depictions of topics that have previously been mangled by the Hollywood treatment. The link will take you to five TED-Ed Lessons that can serve as a (spoiler-filled) crash course on some of the trickier science in the film.

  • Philae has landed: This month Philae left the Rosetta spacecraft and made its journey to the surface of Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The European Space Agency has published teaching resources for primary and secondary schools linked to this mission. 

  • Magnetic Field of the Earth: People who take their magnetic compass from one hemisphere to the other are often surprised that it doesn’t work in both. This ELI  activity uses this finding as a prompt to explain the three-dimensional nature of the Earth’s magnetic field.

  • Unknown Extremophiles in 1000 Hot Springs :Discovering new micro-organisms and how they interact with the environment is a frontier of science. GNS Scientists estimate there are over 15,000 geothermal features in New Zealand, and each of them will have a distinct microbial community and often include many undiscovered species.

  • Engaging with technological products – new videos added: Learning communities full of curiosity and exploration. Students  are captivated and having fun learning about materials through hands-on experiences.

  • LEARNZ : The 2015 confirmed field trips  will be posted on the LEARNZ Field Trip Chooser  next week… ready to enrol before you go on holiday. Confirmed field trips include The Virtual Great Walker (Fiordland);Memorial Park (Wellington),Geohazards, Waterview Connection (Auckland),Kea! And Shakeout! You can view videos from the recent Antarctic field trip to get a sense of how LEARNZ takes you and your students to remote places.

  • Aki: A free Maori language vocabulary and phrase-learning app for i-phones and i-pads that involves participants in an interactive game. Its aim is to develop Maori language skills, particularly in young people. The App will be free through the Apple Store, and work is under way to also make it available to Android phones.

  • Mind Mapping Apps for StudentsMindomo . Students can capture their thoughts and turn them into presentations on the fly, with the added value of being able to share them with others. They can synchronise their maps to the cloud, from any device. When doing a group project, the app provides a platform to collaborate work in real time. Platform: Android. Price: Free. SchematicMind is a mind-mapping app for the minimalist. This app allows the user to create an unlimited amount of mind maps, designed for use on-the-go with an aesthetically pleasing design. Students  can apply styles, add icons, and use shapes and colours to make your map even clearer. If students are planning a project, need to organise their thoughts or are simply looking for a way to visualise an idea then this app might help.. Platform: All Devices Price: Free

  • NZTA Secondary curriculum resources: Resources for schools and teachers with students in year 9 and above to plan teaching and learning aligned to the New Zealand Curriculum. These resources include mathematics and statistics, English, visual arts, science, and more.

  • Characteristics of technology in primary: New videos to watch.

  • Sheep study to help humans

  •  NZTA Secondary curriculum resources: Resources for schools and teachers with students in year 9 and above to plan teaching and learning aligned to the New Zealand Curriculum. These resources include mathematics and statistics, English, visual arts, science, and more.

  • The beauty of Chemistry: Take a peek behind the beaker and see the beauty of chemistry in this showcase from Chemical & Engineering News. See the brilliant blue liquid oxygen in a flask, and an extremely light material resting on top of a dandelion.

  • Online ToL events? What types of online events would you like Technology Online to provide? Complete  the survey and let them know.

  • Testing rocks – 1 bouncing back testing the strength of rocks’?: When engineers build structures such as dams, roads and tunnels, they need to investigate the properties of the rocks beneath and around them. One of the key properties is the strength of the rocks. This normally requires expensive equipment, but we can get quite a good idea by simply dropping a ball bearing onto a flat, cut sample of the rock. The height to which the ball bearing bounces back allows us to compare the relative strength of different rocks.

  • Estimation: Being able to estimate is a really useful mathematical skill. See how good you are at geometric estimation with this eyeballing game.

  • Plotting Meteor Path: A mathematician has used  videos and photos  to plot the path of a big meteor on Google Earth.

  • The Art of Mathematics and the Mathematics of Art: A 2014 Distinguished Speaker: The Art of Mathematics public lecture. 9-17 December.

  • Heart attack bacteria: From the Biotech Learning Hub.It has long been believed that over-exertion, stress and emotional shock can cause heart attacks in vulnerable people, but the pathway by which this occurs has remained uncertain.

  • Open Heart Surgery! Have a go at open heart surgery with this on-line activity.

  •  TRCC Courses : Current courses available between December ‘14 and October ‘15

  • Science Learning Hub Newsletter November 2014: Seeing the world through the eyes of our ancestors:  Navigating Without Instruments, the science behind traditional navigation, student activities and the culturally embedded nature of science.

  • Technology On-line :ToL is  the Ministry of Education website for the learning area of technology in the NZC.  An “ open home” session  will take you on a tour of Technology Online and offer advice on how to find and make the most of the resources and services.  Throughout the session you can also ask questions and give ideas and feedback about what supports you in your teaching and learning. Tuesday November 25, 3.45pm–4.45pm . To register for this event sign up here .Complete the form and  ToL will send you an invitation to the event and login details just before the date.

  • Coral Bleaching :Zoom into a coral reef and discover photosynthetic algae inside the coral’s cells. Reef-building corals rely on these symbionts for their survival. This animation could suit  for all levels of biology and environmental science classes.
  • Engineering and Sports :The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat … the coefficient of drag? Engineering principles have always shaped outcomes on fields of play. Now, as technology of all shapes, sizes, and uses floods the sports world, engineering and sports have become a public couple, brought out from the back rooms of testing into headlines and TV screens everywhere. 
  • NASA Education: This website contains  items of interest to educators. Locate top level sites for interesting topics, education pages for NASA missions, print materials, and other hard-to-find pages that offer resources for educators.
  • A genome for ewe: Mapping the whole genome of the sheep (Ovis aries) was completed earlier this year. The information is contributing to a myriad of new research projects to improve the health and meat and wool yields from New Zealand’s most populous farm animal.

  • Journey to the centre of the Earth – on a toilet roll: This ELI activity considers the true scale of many features of the Earth and   aims to enable pupils to visualise the thickness of the crust in relation to the rest of the Earth, to appreciate the difference in depth between the oceanic crust and the continental crust and  introduces the terms ‘lithosphere’ and ‘asthenosphere’ to help in understanding plate tectonic theory.

  • 3D printers are being used to make cars. A vehicle was printed in just two day, though it still needed extra parts like an engine, brakes and tires.

  • Reactive periodic  table:  Create your own virtual chemical reactions!

  • Pizza physics (New York-style): Maths is incredibly useful – it can even show you the best way to hold your pizza! (a TEDEd video)

  • Spiralling Maths: Draw intricate, beautiful spiral paths with this spirograph generator.

  • Geological Time:  A series of ELI activities  designed to  help students  understand how the rates of Earth processes differ .

  • Nominate your Seaweek  2015 Ocean Champion: NZAEE Seaweek is delighted to announce  that nominations are now open to find the Seaweek “Ocean Champion” for 2015.Visit the Seaweek website at to nominate your “Ocean Champion” and celebrate all those individuals groups and organizations who work so hard to look after our seas and the marine life that lives in them. Nominations will be open from the beginning of November 2014 until 20 January 2015 and voting will take place during February 2015. Nominees will all be featured on the Seaweek website.

  • Core Education:  2015 Teacher  online PLD opportunities.

    Seaweek 2015:  Runs from 28 Feb   to 8 March 2015. The theme is “Look beneath the surface – Papatai ō roto – Papatai ō raro

  • Conservation Week 2014: 1-9 NovemberThere’s an amazing world right on your doorstep waiting to be explored. New Zealand is full of great places and hidden treasures. This year’s theme is ‘Discover the world where you live’ and it’s about getting out and enjoying your local treasures. These are the local campsites, scenic reserves, wetlands, forests, walking tracks and other areas that have conservation values that can be found right on your doorstep. (Why not incorporate an environmental science CREST investigation?). Visit the Conservation Week website to find an event near you.

  • Cool Science in Action: Join the LEARNZ team virtually in Antarctica, 3–7 November 2014. Travel aboard a giant C17 Globemaster, complete a survival training course, go diving through holes in the sea ice, visit penguin colonies and seal haul-outs, discover how energy moves through Antarctic marine food webs, and work with specimens in the laboratory at Scott Base. All this while you put questions live to scientists working on climate change. Find out more…

  • Paleofantasy: What evolution tells us about modern life. An Allan Wilson Centre International Speaker Programme talk with Professor Marlene Zuk(3-12 November 2014) .Information about Dates, Venues and tickets are available here.

  • SunSmart: The SunSmart Schools new curriculum resources are now freely available. These 4 Inquiry-based Units are designed for Levels 1– 4 of the New Zealand Curriculum and are cross-curricula: science; health; maths; te reo and literacy learning. They are aligned with National Standards. Free teleconference 5 November 3.30 – 4pm.To listen in simply click on www.sunsmartschools.org.nz on 5th November and follow the instructions.

  • What makes a good egg? Ten by Ten; 7-10: Marsden Fund Marsden Fund researchers talk about their work and its impact on society Palmerston North, 6 November

  • Science Symposium: Waikato, 10 November.  A one-day professional learning and development event for science teachers. The symposium is supported by Team Solutions, University of Auckland through the Secondary Student Achievement professional development contract and the Waikato Science Teachers Association.

  • Ignited: Gifted Education in Action.14-15 November, Nelson. This conference will showcase international and national research, paper presentations and innovative workshops.

  • International Year of Light Logo Competition:2015 is the International Year of Light. The New Zealand committee will be running many activities and events throughout the country and their communications and website need a logo, so they are running a competition for students to design one. Entries due 14 November.

  • Spaceward Bound: Applications are open for a Spaceward Bound expedition in January 2015.  Applications close 15 November. A NASA team pairs up with local scientists and local tertiary, secondary school students, and teachers to travel to a location of interest for astrobiology to learn more about its significance. The expedition will consist of 6 days of field trips in the Rotorua – Taupo – Tongariro Plateau combined with talks with the scientists and hands-on lab work.

  • Clean Tech Competition: Registrations open 17 November for the Clean Tech Competition is an international research and design challenge for 15-18 year old pre-university students. This is a prestigious educational opportunity for students across the world. The 2015 challenge, Feed the World asks students to develop a clean technology solution to the problems of an inadequate and unstable food supply.

  • Teaching Science to students at Year 7 and 8 level: Auckland, 21 November  PLD workshop at St Cuthbert’s.

  •  Discovering new design practice: A one-day design conferences for secondary school teachers and students. This conference has been organised as a professional development day for secondary school teachers of design including design, visual communication and technology. Leading and respected designers talk about their thoughts on design and their projects and creative inspiration. Auckland 22 November 2014.
  • Electric Vehicles Competition: APEV, in partnership with CPIT, Enviroschools and Electroflash have launched an electric vehicles competition for secondary schools.  Their aim is  to provide an exciting, 21st Century project based learning opportunity for participating teams, to give students motivation to consider pursuing science/ technology/ engineering tertiary studies, to promote the advantages of electricity as a transport fuel and to stimulate innovation. Read more here.

  • ISLP poster competition: The 2014-15 International Statistical Literacy Project Poster competitionis underway! Winners of the national competition will be displayed at the World Statistics Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2015 and be entered into the international competition. You can register your school to enter by sending an email to mawby@stats.govt.nz  Entries can be sent to the same address any time before the closing date of 16th December 2014A school can submit more than one poster to the New Zealand competition. It is important to note that posters are only eligible for the competition if they are created by a group of 2 or 3 students. More information about the ISLP poster competition can be found here.







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