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Ladbrooks School - Ali Duncan

2020 | Soil Science - Greenhouse gas emissions from soil

School: Ladbrooks School 

Host: Lincoln University, Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Region: Christchurch                   

Nga Puna Tapuwai Ladbrooks School is a semi rural school of approximately 140 students on the outskirts of Christchurch. The school is the centre of the community and they play an active role in the mahi and ako. Ladbrooks School believes that science needs to be authentic, practical, encourage curiosity and taught within a meaningful context. This is reflected in their philosophy as a Silver accredited Enviroschool. The school is part of the Nga Matapuna o Nga Pakihi Kahui Ako and is working on the lever of “making science learning authentic” with the challenge of raising achievement in science for students in Years 4-10. The school has two teachers who are involved in the Science Leadership Programme; this will enable the school to deeply embed the understanding of the Nature of Science across the year levels and effect a change in pedagogy and practice over time.

Ali is passionate about teaching in an engaging, hands on and relevant way.  She has strengths in science and the arts. She has had 18 years primary teaching experience. Ali teaches with an incredible team in a flexible learning environment and believes learning outdoors is critical to building children’s understanding of the world. She has taught across all year levels in primary and is currently working with Years 3-5. As part of a small school, teachers work with all students at various times. Ali, as assistant principal and lead teacher for Environmental Ako, works with seniors developing their leadership skills within this area. She has built long standing relationships with ECan, and Enviro Schools which enables our school to participate in education opportunities with experts in their field, plant out days and river monitoring.               

Ali’s placement will involve her participation in the general research and activities conducted by the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Lincoln University. The programme will include opportunities to work with students and faculty staff, attending undergraduate and postgraduate lectures and laboratories, participation in field and lab based research, and interacting with students and researchers in academia and learn about science publication and peer review. A significant component of Ali’s placement will involve developing a deeper comprehension of the work being carried out in order to understand greenhouse gas emissions from soils, and factors affecting these: for example, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide.               

Returning to school Ali will share her experiences with staff, look at the current 'state of play' and develop ways for the Nature of Science to become embedded within the daily practice.  She hopes to highlight the importance of science learning and solidify relationships between the school and the local science community. She aims to have a firm foundation of knowledge and understanding of the Nature of Science, Science Capabilities, of Soil Science research and some associated field and laboratory skills.