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Hauraki Plains College - Lauren Penney

2023 | Reducing disease and maximising productivity in bees.


Name: Lauren Penney

School: Hauraki Plains College

Programme Title: Reducing disease and maximising productivity in bees.

School Region: Hauraki Plains

Host: Plant and Food Research – Bee Productivity Team


Hauraki Plains college’s vision is to educate our rangatahi so they are able to take their place as contributing citizens in their community, for rangatahi to be life ready, work ready and world ready. The Hauraki Plains Colleges’ Science department aim is for students to leave school with an understanding of the nature of science that allows them to be knowledgeable, critical thinkers, problem solvers and good communicators. The Hauraki Plains College Science department is looking forward to developing their junior science programme to incorporate the Nature of Science, Mātauranga Māori, and incorporate a localised curriculum in a meaningful way to increase engagement in the sciences. 

Lauren Penney is the first participant teacher from Hauraki Plains College.  She has been teaching for 11 years with the last 6 years at Hauraki Plains College as a Science, Biology and Mathematics teacher.  Lauren is passionate about building the localised curriculum and giving students the opportunity to carry out practical real-world science in their environment that is relevant to their lives. She is looking forward to working with scientists who are working in industry and bringing those connections back to school to enhance science learning.

Lauren has been hosted by Plant and Food Research, primarily working with the Bee Biology and Productivity team at their Ruakura campus. During her placement Lauren learned about keeping bees with the aim of maximising productivity and reducing diseases.  During her time with the Bee Biology and Productivity team, Lauren learned about the Nature of Science by participating in a few field (apiary) based trials. She investigated a bee pest called Varroa destructor, looking at ways of controlling and monitoring this pest more effectively. She will be assisted in setting up and carrying out randomised control trials. Lauren also had the opportunity to observe how science is communicated to the end user by attending an industry conference. A highlight for Lauren was when she hosted her fellow participant teachers at Plant and Food Research and got to share those learning experiences with others. 

Lauren is looking forward to using her experiences and understanding of the nature of science to advance the teaching and learning of science at Hauraki Plains College.  The Science Teaching Leadership Programme has allowed Lauren to build on her understanding of the nature of science and develop strategies to bring this to life in the classroom. The Science Teaching Leadership Programme has given Lauren the knowledge and skills to integrate Mātauranga Māori into teaching and learning in an authentic and engaging way. As well as embedding the Science capabilities and nature of science into the junior science programme at Hauraki Plains College. She would like to thank the Royal Society Te Aparārangi, James Sainsbury and the Bee Productivity team at Plant and Food Research and Hauraki Plains College for the opportunity to participate in such an amazing programme.