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Kamo Primary School - Rob Brown

2023 | Propagation and Growing for a school context.


Name:   Rob Brown

School:   Kamo Primary School

Host:   Plant and Food Research Kerikeri

Placement:   Propagation and Growing for a school context.

Region:   Northland



The teaching and learning of Science at Kamo Primary School is ready to travel deeper into what we can observe through our senses, so that we can participate in scientific ways in our school and community. Through the Science Teaching Leadership Programme, Kamo Primary anticipates a richer understanding of the Nature of Science (NoS) within their school community. Kamo Primary aspire for their students and teachers:

  • to explain the natural world using science and to develop the science capabilities to investigate and problem solve local issues.
  • to test, critique, interpret, and represent our ideas using the NoS strand.

Through phase two of the Programme, Kamo Primary will strive towards quality communication, observation and discussion in teaching and learning. Kamo Primary are intent that cultural respect and capability will be present in all they do as they immerse themselves within the growth of science.

Robert has had 9 years teaching experience. During this time, he has been focused in Primary years 1-6 and leading Environmental Education, including Enviroschools, and the Garden to Table programmes. Robert is passionate about providing students with the opportunity to experience science through the natural world. He believes that connecting to the environment through the Nature of Science with practical hands-on experiences gives students the opportunities to learn what science is, how science works and how it can contribute to our well-being in tangible ways. Robert has learnt that by consistently critiquing the evidence provided by data collection, students can see that science knowledge is durable, robust and has real world application that can enable them to participate and contribute to society.

The Programme has enabled Robert to delve deeply into the Nature of Science. His knowledge of the Nature of Science benefited greatly from seeing what and how scientists operate while

hosted by acclaimed plant virologist, Robin MacDiarmid at Plant and Food Research (PFR) Kerikeri. With the help of the talented and brilliant team at PFR Kerikeri and Kiwifruit Breeding Centre (KBC) he learnt how the Nature of Science is used to develop new kiwifruit varieties and maintain the viability of this important vine fruit in a New Zealand context.

Robert ran a research project in Kerikeri growing Tatsoi (Brassica rapa var. rosularis) in three mediums: soil, hydroponics and aeroponics. During this project, Robert used the five science capabilities and the four sub strands that gave insight into how growing could be more efficient in a school context. The knowledge he gained could be used in school curriculums to make science accessible and enduring.  Through his research, he learnt that Controlled Environment Agriculture is a highly productive system for growing food.  

Thanks to a wide exposure at PFR Mt Albert, Robert learnt that scientific knowledge is continually evolving, and new discoveries lead to more enlightened questions. He learnt that scientists are constantly testing the boundaries of scientific knowledge and require tenacity, collaboration and divergent thinking to be successful.  

Additionally, Robert’s Programme provided opportunities to broaden his understanding of mātauranga Māori, learning that this knowledge system contains hundreds of years of scientific observations passed on through pūrākau, and this pūtaiao knowledge is a taonga that contains wisdom that will nurture us all to a healthy and vibrant future.

Robert has learnt that science is EVERYWHERE, and there are numerous avenues available for teachers of science to absorb themselves and students in. Since participating in the Programme, Robert is far more confident and competent as a kaiako pūtaiao and on the path to support his community to be scientifically literate citizens!