Science education.

Follow the links below to find out more about our science programmes:

Cawthron Scitec Expo (Science Fair) 

The Scitec Expo continues a tradition of science fairs in Nelson that goes back more than 30 years. Cawthron Institute has been heavily involved for much of that time – originally as a sponsor and now as manager of the event. The Expo brings together scientists, students, teachers, local and national businesses – all working together to support our region’s young enquiring minds.

Are you the next Ernest Rutherford, Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton? Explore the wonderful world of science at the Cawthron Scitec Expo; no idea is too crazy, no theory too preposterous. This year the Expo is for secondary schools and is being held on 25th -26th September 2018. More information is here https://cawthronscitec.org.nz/ or you can contact SallyAnn.Hughes@cawthron.org.nz

 

Mussel Biology workshops 
(Year 13 Biology students only)

The Year 13 Mussel Biology workshops were introduced by Otago University and Cawthron in 2011. They are run annually with the collaboration of Spat NZ and NMIT.

During the workshops, students fulfil requirements of the NCEA Level 3 Biology 3.1 Curriculum Assessment, which includes a small animal investigation. Students are required to alter something in the mussels' environment and measure the mussels' response to the change.

The workshops consist of:

  • Induction sessions (1-2hr) conducted at the schools, provided by either Otago University or Cawthron’s Community Educator.
  • 2 day workshop at the Cawthron Aquaculture Park, where students carry out their investigation at the NMIT student laboratory, assisted by both educators and class teacher.
  • Guided tour of Spat NZ facilities.
  • Post workshop report, written by the students and marked by their teachers.

The workshops allow students to:

  • Get fully immersed in ‘real science’.
  • Work in a purpose-built lab, with equipment not available in a school environment.
  • Meet Cawthron scientists and discuss with them their research and career paths.
  • See how Cawthron science has allowed for huge industry advancements.

Click on Cawthron Institute to view more Cawthron videos on Vimeo.

Equipment and resources available:

  • Adult mussels
  • Mussel Spat
  • Containers
  • Refractometers
  • pH meters
  • Fluorimeter
  • Light meter
  • Sea water
  • Algae
  • Wave machine
  • Specialised computer software
  • Thermometers
  • Sand bath

 

Up the Pipe
(Suitable for years 5-8)

‘Up the Pipe’ refers to the information coming back up the pipe to involve the community to better understand and be able to reduce the waste that is going down our drains and ends up in our environment.

Based on the work of Cawthron ecotoxicologist Louis Tremblay and his colleagues from the Centre for Integrated Biowaste Research, this programme explores the impact of chemical contaminations caused by everyday household activities, and how as consumers we have the ability to make more sustainable choices.

Schools can choose from the following resources made available by this programme:

  • Teachers' personal development
  • Whole school integration
  • Students workshops

In the workshops students will:

  • Explore the chemicals in their house
  • Discuss what happens to them and the impacts they may have on the environment
  • Learn how scientists work
  • Talk about antibacterial soaps and how to effectively wash their hands (hands on activity)
  • How soap works (hands on activity)
  • Make their own soap and how to experiment (hands on activity)

Curriculum Areas:

Nature of Science (level 2/3): Appreciate that scientists ask questions to understand the world, and lead to investigations. Communicating in science, using specific vocabulary. Participating and making decisions about possible actions.

Living world (level 3): How living things respond to environmental changes that are human induced.

Material World (level 2/3): Observe and describe chemical properties of common materials. Compare chemical and physical changes.

Click here to find out more about the Up the Pipe project or listen to Louis talk about the project on Cawthron Radio.

 

Ocean Acidification
(Suitable for years 5-8)

Under the CARIM project, Cawthron partners up with a number of science organisations, iwi, councils and government departments to improve our knowledge on Ocean Acidification (OA) and  enhance protection and management of NZ marine environments.

The Ocean Acidification programme is currently delivered as a workshop, where students get to:

  • Discuss knowledge of Climate Change, and Ocean acidification as one of its impacts
  • Understand pH
  • Practice measuring pH using different methods
  • Brainstorm about the consequences OA can have in a food web
  • Plan an experiment to observe how different shells are affected by different acidities
  • Discover how scientists are working to manage and protect our environment

We are working towards partnering with Experiencing Marine Reserves (http://www.emr.org.nz/) to deliver this programme in conjunction with snorkelling trips. Please contact us if you would like more information on this option.

Curriculum Areas:

Nature of Science (level 2/3): Appreciate that scientists ask questions to understand the world, and lead to investigations. Communicating in science, using specific vocabulary. Participating and making decisions about possible actions.

Earth Systems (level 3): Appreciate that water, air, rocks and soil and life forms make our planet and recognise they are the world’s resources

Living world (level 3): How living things respond to environmental changes that are human induced. Understand science based classifications. Explore how groups of living things have changed over long periods.

Material World (level 2/3): Observe and describe chemical properties of common materials. Compare chemical and physical changes.

To find out more about ocean acidification listen to Dr Norman Ragg on Cawthron Radio.

Murder mystery
(Suitable for years 4-6)

Cawthron scientist Susie Wood and her team have worked on investigating the deaths of dogs on Auckland beaches in 2009 and more recently in rivers in Nelson.

This programme, which takes students through the process of investigation, can be run as a workshop (1 hour), or as a game (15-20 minutes).

During the activity, students will learn:

  • To create hypotheses, and the importance of keeping an open mind
  • How different scientists work together
  • How to use a microscope
  • Taxonomy skills
  • How to identify toxic algae in Nelson rivers
  • How to keep our pets safe around our rivers.

For teachers and students outside the Nelson region, videos and interactive tools based on Cawthron's science investigations are available on the Science Learning Hub.

Watch more videos from Cawthron Institute on Vimeo

Curriculum Areas

Nature of Science (level 2/3): Appreciate that scientists ask questions to understand the world, and lead to investigations. Communicating in science, using specific vocabulary. Participating and making decisions about possible actions.

Living world (level 3): How living things respond to environmental changes that are human induced. Understand science based classifications.