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Kowhai Intermediate School - Jude Hancock

2017 | Science under the earth: Rotorua on Mars

School: Kowhai Intermediate School

Host: University of Auckland

Region: Auckland

Kowhai Intermediate School believes that students need to develop their science understanding using the capabilities to help solve problems, make decisions and relate scientific concepts to everyday life. The school wants to engage students and promote scientific attitudes and inquiry. Students are encouraged to use inquiring minds to develop social and scientific understandings. Jude is the second teacher accepted into the Science Teaching Leadership Programme for Kowhai Intermediate, following Gill Robertson. Having two teachers participate in this programme will further enrich the science experience that students and teachers of Kowhai Intermediate School will receive. The benefit from the development of teaching approaches that encourage critical and investigative thinking will result in the deeper engagement of students in the world of science.

Jude has been a teacher for 9 years, working predominantly with years 7 and 8.   She has used opportunities to demonstrate leadership in many areas of school life; in the development of the science department, and the organisation of school wide projects and field trips. Her passion is to facilitate independence in students and to help grow their inquiring minds in all subject areas.

Jude has been hosted by Kathy Campbell as part of the Astrobiology research group in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland.  During her placement, she has participated in Earth History lectures, laboratory sessions and a class field trip to Mathesons Bay.  She has been part of Earth Science staff and student briefings, research seminars and Astrobiology research group meetings. Jude has spent time investigating the links amongst research, education and cultural practice through the development and opening ceremony of Te Aō Marama – Centre for Fundamental Inquiry, and a pending Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ‘Curious Minds’ funding grant application, which sets out to engage our tamariki in the unique geothermal and volcanic settings we have in New Zealand. 

One of the most notable experiences was Jude’s participation in the Rotorua on Mars project where she helped to map hot spring related microbe-sediment fabrics in siliceous hot spring deposits at Tikitere (Hells Gate) geothermal area, in close association with an Honours research student to help prepare for landing site selection underway for the NASA Mars 2020 rover mission.  As part of this project, she also took part in drone mapping and pace and compass mapping of the research area in order to overlap drone photography with the rock texture maps created on the ground.  Jude has spent time with a Post-Doctoral candidate, Honours and Masters of Science students to complete sampling for geochemistry of thermal waters and the molecular biology characterisation of iron-rich hot springs at Tikitere (Hells Gate) and White Island to inform a Science project about the extreme environments of microbial life; analogue settings for early life on Earth and possibly fossil life on Mars. 

Jude has engrossed herself in her placement which has enabled her to gain a wealth of experience in what the Nature of Science looks like in real world contexts, allowing her to consider how this relates to the future of science education.  The Science Teaching leadership programme has provided a wonderful opportunity for Jude to develop both professionally and personally, allowing her to consider and practice her leadership skills. She is excited to return to school to continue implementing positive changes in science at Kowhai Intermediate. 

Jude would like to thank Professor Kathy Campbell and the Astrobiology research group at the University Of Auckland, School of Environment, for the rich experiences they have provided.  She would also like to thank Kowhai Intermediate School and the Royal Society Te Apārangi for believing in her and investing in her development.

Follow Jude's blog to see more of what she got up to on the programme: STLP 2017 Jude Hancock