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Terrace End School- Sophia Douglas

2018 | Exploring the Nature of Science in a Sports Science setting

School: Terrace End School

Host: School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition - Massey University 

Region: Palmerston North, Manawatū

Terrace End School believes that science needs to be practical, taught within a meaningful context and based on the process of inquiry. As the second teacher at Terrace End School on the programme, part of Sophia’s role will be to make connections with the local science community and finds ways of bringing these connections back into the school as teaching opportunities. She will also incorporate ways of science planning and teaching at Terrace End School that will reflect mātauranga Māori and other cultural perspectives relevant to our school’s community.

Sophia has been a primary school teacher for 9 years. Over this time she has taught students from a range of diverse backgrounds and ethnicity. Sophia has a passion for literacy and is often exploring ways to accelerate children’s abilities in reading and writing. She enjoys providing authentic experiences such as science activities to engage students in oral and written language. 

Sophia has been hosted by Dr Toby Mundel from the School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition at the Manawatu Campus of Massey University. During her placement Sophia has learnt a lot about the science related to sleep and heat acclimation. The development of her knowledge has mostly come from observations of the science happening on placement, assisting in scientific studies, participating in pilot tests, readings, and talking to the scientists around her.

Visits to the Sleep/Wake Centre in Wellington have given Sophia an opportunity to learn about the importance of sleep. She has been involved in activating actigraph watches and downloading the data, as well as explaining how they work to participants and how to complete the sleep diary. Sophia has learnt a lot about sleep and sleep studies from talking to researchers and scientists at the Sleep/Wake Centre.

A highlight for Sophia was working in Auckland on a heat acclimation study. Sophia was able to assist in the study from pre-testing through to the post testing. She was given tasks to do and measurements to take. Being a part of this study has allowed Sophia to understand the importance of being totally organised, and having a set protocol for testing.

The Science Teaching Leadership Programme has provided Sophia with an amazing and valuable professional learning journey. She is looking forward to applying this learning to Terrace End School. She would like to thank Royal Society Te Apārangi, Dr Toby Mundel and the School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition at Massey University and also the staff at the Sleep/Wake Research Centre in Wellington for their time and expertise.