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Maungatapu School - Chris Dixon

2018 | Marine Science - Aotearoa - Our Marine Environment.

School: Maungatapu School

Host: Coastal Marine Field Station - Tauranga, Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Waikato.

Region: Tauranga - Bay of Plenty

Maungatapu School sees the Nature of Science as an integral component of our dual curriculum, and students are encouraged to use their scientific capabilities in real-life contexts. Having science as a key pathway for children to interact and engage with the world around them means providing teachers with a curriculum focus that encourages sustainability and pedagogical improvement. The Science Teaching Leadership Programme will enable Maungatapu School to build teacher confidence and capability, which will lead to improved student engagement, achievement and outcomes. This will then provide their learners with rich, meaningful and authentic experiences in the world of science that will promote both problem solving skills and a scientific way of thinking and engaging with the world around them. STLP will enable Maungatapu School to form relationships with their community that aim to promote science. 

Chris has been at Maungatapu School for 6 years. During his time at the school, he has had the opportunity to teach children with a diverse range of abilities and cultural backgrounds. Chris has experience in providing leadership and professional development to staff through his responsibilities as IT lead. With a keen interest in science, Chris has become the liaison with the local House of Science, and promotes the use of science resources within the school.

Chris has been hosted by Dr Phil Ross at the University of Waikato’s Coastal Marine Field Station (CMFS). His placement has included being taught how to replicate DNA in marine science laboratories, undertaking a variety of research, measuring nitrogen changes in water with the use of benthic chambers, taking samples from marine animals, and spending a lot of time out in the field on various projects. The experience at the CMFS has given Chris a comprehensive base of scientific knowledge of marine science and allowed him to see the skills scientists use on a daily basis.

A highlight for Chris during his placement was learning about the marine life in his local area. He particularly enjoyed being part of a project that involved catching and sampling stingrays to see the effects of pollutant exposure in Tauranga harbour.

The Science Teaching Leadership Programme has provided Chris with a wealth of knowledge and skills he can take back to Maungatapu School.  He would like to thank The Royal Society Te Apārangi, the team at the Coastal Marine Field Station and Maungatapu School for the experience.