Go to our new-look site, it combines the Biotechnology and Science Learning Hubs with a new look and new functionality. This is our legacy site and is no longer maintained.


Professional development for primary teachers

Primary teachers are getting on board with science! The Science Learning Hub is instrumental in helping primary teachers come to grips with science and then to deliver exciting and engaging science activities and learning to students. Check out these professional development sessions (with resources) to help you with the various topics offered.


Seaweek – New Zealand’s annual national week that focuses on learning about the sea – is usually held in February/March. This is prime time for a Living World science unit on our oceans.

Learn about the dog death mystery on Auckland beaches – and how our investigative scientists solved the mystery. Students can explore these ideas using the interactive What killed the dogs?

Check out the science ideas and concepts concerning marine life – such as classifying, adaptations, environmental issues, food webs and human impacts.

Teaching activities include a game about tracking marine toxins (the interactive Bioaccumulation in the sea goes well with this), a card sorting game on habitats Where do I live?, hands-on fun cleaning up oil from water and making food webs using marine organisms cards.

Awesome thanks. Some great resources to use.



Video: SLH and conservation

Download (MP4, 204 MB)

There are many student activities on the SLH about conservation. Science concepts from this PD include ideas such as bioindicators and biodegradability, classifying and identifying, solar energy, and river and marine ecosystems and human impact on them.

Fun student activities include making lizard-friendly habitats, an outdoor game that teaches about bird migration, simulating a greenhouse effect, melting chocolate biscuits to learn about heat energy, making a solar oven from a pizza box and developing classification systems.

That has been excellent – I am going to be sharing this with teachers at an Enviroschools Cluster meeting.


Get kids excited about science

Video: Get kids excited about science

Download (MP4, 238 MB)

Engage your kids with science! Give them a passion for learning. In this session, primary school teacher Andy Peart describes his favourite Science Learning Hub activities – ones he loves to teach and his students love to learn. These include exploding flour, putting out fires, observing candles, water rockets, canister rockets, balloon cars, UV beads and racing marbles in strange liquids.

I failed science at high school – like I wasn’t very good at science, but the Science Learning Hub stuff that I’ve been able to pick up, I can do all of it and I’m not the smartest character.


Material World and Physical World

Sometimes primary teachers struggle to find ideas, contexts or topics for teaching the Material World and Physical World strands from the curriculum. These PD sessions offer a number of ideas for teaching from these strands.

Topics/contexts (and student activities) presented in the Material World PD session include fire, biodegradability, non-Newtonian fluids, water and chemicals (toxins).

The Biospife story has some great aspects for primary children – my daughter’s class looked at it in year 3, and it was a hit.


Topics/contexts (and student activities) presented in the Physical World PD session include Flight, Light and Sight, Fire, Future Fuels, Rockets, The Noisy Reef, You, Me and UV, Harnessing the Sun and Tsunamis and Surf. 

I found this session really helpful, and I will definitely be using the Science Learning Hub. Thanks very much.


Teachers adapting the Hub: Food webs

If you want to focus on food webs, check out the food webs PD session. Candy Hart talks about how she taught food webs using SLH resources and then encouraged her students to transfer their knowledge and make food webs based on their surrounding area.

I have also used the article in reading. I love the scientific vocabulary they learn.


Teachers adapting the Hub: Understanding earthquakes in the primary classroom

Angela Schipper talks about how she adapted SLH material on earthquakes to suit year 4 students. Angela goes through a step-by-step process of how she developed the learning for her students. She looked at what her students already knew and what she needed to learn to be able to teach this topic. Angela used the SLH to find images, scientific language, science ideas and concepts about earthquakes, video clips, ideas about modelling and lots of hands-on activities – some of which involve food (a strong motivating factor!).

It’s a really good – nice – use of examples. Great for the classroom. I liked your edible Earth idea. I’m motivated by food as well [as the children].


Teachers adapting the Hub: Water pollution

Issues around water and farming have featured in the news quite a bit lately. In this PD session, Angela Schipper helps teachers to see what the issues are by first helping them understand the scientific view of the water cycle and then presenting some activities that help students see how water pollution comes about.

Great resources and information.


Teachers using the Hub: Bird conservation and literacy

Video: Bird conservation and literacy

Download (MP4, 234 MB)

With the recent push for literacy and numeracy in primary schools, this PD session is timely and helpful, showing how science can be incorporated into literacy teaching. Kim MacPherson has a passion for our native birds – teaching her students about them and instilling in the students a love for these birds while honing their reading skills.

Thank you for the presentation. A great insight into the Science Learning Hub and all its classroom possibilities.


Teachers using the Hub: Butterflies and citizen science

How about chasing butterflies over the summer months? Angela Schipper shares how she taught her students to be citizen scientists by showing them how to tag butterflies for the Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust.

Thanks, this was very informative.


Teachers using the Hub: Light and sight in the classroom

Video: Light and sight in the classroom

Download (MP4, 212 MB)

This Physical World PD session focuses specifically on light and sight. Secondary teacher Steve Chrystall and primary teacher Miel MacLean talk about how they have used this SLH context (Light and Sight) in their classrooms. They both used the same material – adapting it to suit their age groups. They used the same student activities – finding that their students particularly enjoyed the Light and Sight interactive, a hands-on activity about spearfishing, making pinhole cameras and investigating reflection using a dark box, objects to put in the box and a torch.

Thanks for the dark box – some great ideas – often can’t do some of those darkroom activities – thanks Steve.


Teachers using the Hub: One website, many uses

Middle school teacher Greta Dromgool describes some of the ways that she has used the SLH. Firstly, she made sure her students had access to the SLH themselves through their devices so they could access it whenever they wanted. Greta found that student science engagement increased when they were working on SLH activities. She shares how she adapted one of her favourite activities (on DNA). Greta also shares in depth how she uses the Hub for teaching skills in scientific observation.

It’s really good to see how resources are used in the classroom. I like what you’ve done with them and how you adapted them for your students’ needs. Really practical ideas.


Teachers using the Hub: Space and astronomy

Although secondary teacher Steve Chrystall describes how he used SLH resources to teach junior high school students, his work using these resources can easily be adapted and used by senior primary school teachers. In this session, Steve talks about satellites, scale distances in space, scale sizes of planets, the Moon, our Solar System, what it takes to get a rocket into space, what it takes to keep a satellite in space and why astronauts feel weightless.

Thank you folks – this was great. Always good to have someone sharing their passion! Great opportunities for thinking critically about the data and evidence, then opportunities to test their conclusions.


Nature of Science

Building students’ curiosity about the world around them is essential to their engagement in science. Providing students with simple scientific activities will build their scientific literacy as well as give them a greater understanding of the world we live in.