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Gordonton School - Katrina Bankier

2019 | The importance of honey bees and pollination

School: Gordonton School

Host: Plant and Food Ruakura – Pollination and Apiculture team

Region: Waikato

Gordonton Primary School is very excited to be part of the Science Teaching Leadership Programme for 2019. Historically the New Zealand curriculum was compressed under the framework of National Standards with a focus on reading, writing and maths. This has meant that areas such as arts and science have not always been given the priority they deserve.

 Once Katrina returns to school, she will be deployed across the school in the role of specialist teacher of science. This will mean every learner at Gordonton School will have the opportunity to learn a specialised curriculum from an expert teacher, and over the course of their time here they will be prepared well for their future learning. Gordonton School believes that the flow-on effect of this learning will be the development of a passion for science in students positioning them to contribute in meaningful ways to their communities.

 Katrina has 19 years’ teaching experience. She has been teaching Years 0-2 for the past 6 years and has worked with children from Years 0 to 8, from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. She believes that it is important for students to have opportunities to learn through real life, hands-on experiences and situations. She is passionate about the integration of science across the curriculum and extending students’ knowledge and skills in the nature of science and especially the links between science, technology, maths and literacy and the new digital technologies curriculum. Coming from a farming background she is interested in broadening her scientific knowledge and thinking, to inspire students to develop their own passion in science.

 Katrina’s placement has involved her in the research activities conducted by the Pollination and Apiculture team at Plant and Food Research, Ruakura. Katrina worked with a range of team members in a variety of projects both in the laboratories, facility workshops and on field trips. Katrina’s placement has included contributing research on kiwifruit and avocado pollination and control of Varroa mites on honey bees. The research she participated in about Verroa assisted her in contributing an article to the New Zealand Bee Keepers magazine. The data collected related to monitoring and testing Verroa in beehives and finding out why it is important to have a treatment programme for Verroa. The experiences that Katrina has been involved in can be clearly linked to the New Zealand science curriculum, in particular the Nature of Science and the capabilities.

 Katrina’s “learning about science” goal is to lift the profile of science and to gain skills to enhance the teaching of science across Gordonton School, and to develop partnerships and networks to support the teaching of science and students’ learning. She would like to see the students involved in ‘Citizen Science’ and become engaged with a range of science in their own lives. Katrina has enjoyed every aspect of her placement at Plant and Food Research Ruakura, her learning during the professional development days and the growth and learning she has made from the Leadership course at Otago University. She would like to thank the staff at the Royal Society Te Apārangi and the Apiculture and Pollination team for the time and support they have given her over this journey.