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Rotorua Lakes House of Science Programme: Enriching Student Learning Experience with support from a Rotorua trust Grant

    Making science more interactive with a library of engaging kits, Rotorua Lakes House of Science started as an initiative for Tauranga schools and now has over 20 branches, including one in Rotorua.

    Supported by funding from Rotorua Trust, the Rotorua Lakes House of Science programme has witnessed a positive impact in its efforts to make science education more accessible and engaging for students across the region.

    With 40 different topics in their library, each kit aligns with the New Zealand curriculum, comes in a bilingual format, includes at least five hands-on activities, and provides everything to make teaching science as easy as possible.

    “This is our first year of having to pay rent, and this is our biggest expense. It’s such a relief not to have to worry about this,” said one of the programme organisers, highlighting the aid of funding from the Trust. “We also have a leased van which we are able to pay for from our grant. This has meant schools can rely on delivery at a certain time. Without this, we would have to rely on our volunteers to help with delivery.”

    Describing the impact of the kits on classroom experiences, a teacher shared, “The Rockets kit was the most booked kit last year. All the kits are popular, though. Our students love the hands-on experiments and are eager to explore the wonders of science.”

    Teachers from member schools can access the kits through the programme’s website and select the ones best suited for their classrooms. With support from volunteers, local businesses, and trusts, the programme aims to keep schools’ membership fees affordable. Kits are delivered to the schools for two weeks, during which the students engage in various interactive experiments and small group activities.

    Organisations have been approaching Rotorua Lakes House of Science to aid the development of kits that help get their message out to schools. For example, in conjunction with Countdown, SCION helped develop a kit called ‘A Load of Rubbish’ to teach children about the circular economy and the 6Rs of resource management.

    The House of Science programme is celebrating its 10th anniversary and has grown from its humble beginnings in Tauranga to encompassing 20 branches nationwide, serving over 650 schools. The Rotorua branch has experienced remarkable success, with an increasing number of schools joining the initiative.

    Looking to the future, the Rotorua Lakes House of Science programme aims to extend its reach, ensuring equal access to science education resources. To achieve this goal, the programme intends to expand its kit inventory, enabling them to cater to the growing demand. Additionally, plans are underway to involve sponsors in classroom activities, creating opportunities for direct engagement and enhanced learning experiences.