Explore as a

Share our content

Koraunui School – Diana Manks

2016 | Earth Science – what shapes our land

SchoolKoraunui School

HostVictoria University of Wellington, Department of Geography, Environment and Earth Science


Koraunui School believes that science needs to be practical, taught within a meaningful context and driven through the children. This is reflected in their philosophy as an Enviroschool. They already have one teacher, Dianne Christenson, who is currently leading phase two of the Science Teaching Leadership Programme. Having a second teacher with the same opportunity to develop science leadership skills at this level will be highly advantageous for a school of their size and it will enhance their chances for continuity over time. It will also enable Koraunui’s science leadership team to move their professional development on with greater depth and understanding of the Nature of Science.

Diana has had 13 years primary teaching experience. During this time, she has had the opportunity to teach children from a diverse range of year levels, abilities and cultural backgrounds. She has a background in ESOL and literacy. Diana is passionate about providing students with the literacy skills and culturally responsive learning contexts needed for them to successfully engage in the Nature of Science at Koraunui School.

Diana has been hosted by Professor Martha Savage in the Geophysics Department at the School of Geography, Environment & Earth Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington. Her placement has involved attending Earth Science lectures and laboratories, Geophysics PhD discussion groups and sub-groups, department Outreach Committee meetings, weather and climate forecasting seminars, and first, second and third year Earth Science field trips. This has given her a comprehensive base of scientific knowledge of Earth’s processes. It has also enabled her to observe engagement in the Nature of Science as knowledge is disseminated, scaffolded and discussed by individuals within different academic tiers of the department.

A highlight for Diana during her placement was her field visit to the Deep Fault Drilling Project in South Westland. This is where four boreholes have been drilled into the Alpine Fault to analyse its behaviour towards the end of its seismic cycle. Diana participated in an investigation to test the thermal conductivity of the rock surface in one of the boreholes. This geothermal investigation was a good example of scientific serendipity. This is in the sense that the investigation into the behaviour of the Alpine Fault led to the discovery of one of the borehole sites having significant temperature increase at depth, making it a potential geothermal energy site.

The Earth Science field trips that Diana attended focused on the geology and geomorphology of the Wellington region, seismic and gravity surveying of the Wairarapa Fault and marine stratigraphy sites in the Whanganui Basin. Diana was also fortunate enough to attend a four-day seismic workshop on stress at active plate boundaries, attended by New Zealand and International seismology experts.

The Science Teacher Leadership Programme has provided Diana with an amazing professional learning journey. She is looking forward to applying this learning to Koraunui School. She would like to thank The Royal Society, Professor Martha Savage and the Geography, Environment and Earth Science Department at Victoria University and Koraunui School for investing in her.