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House of Science looking for volunteers

Volunteers wanted. Love of science helpful.

House of Science is looking for helpers to share the wonders of science with Gisborne students.

The charity aims to pique young New Zealanders’ interest in science by delivering experiment kits to schools.

“Students learn how to gather data, conduct an investigation, follow instructions, work together in groups, measure, count, analyse and play,” said House of Science Tairawhiti manager Mihi Hannah.

“The wonderful thing about the experiments in the kits is that they are incredibly fun.”

Each kit comes with different experiments ranging from fireworks to weather models.

“Most of what we do at House of Science Tairawhiti is voluntary.

“We have had passionate parents, retirees and sponsors heed the call to volunteer over the past two years.”

Now the charity needs more volunteers to help deliver, clean and restock kits.

“The volunteers that we attract have a love of science. Some have been science teachers while others simply love the idea of encouraging science to be taught in schools.”

Mrs Hannah’s mother, Anne Lewis, is one of those volunteers.

“I love seeing the kids use them because I know they are top educational kits,” said Mrs Lewis.

“I think that’s why I do it, because I love knowing the kids are going to have fun with them and learn at the same time.”

Mrs Hannah said most volunteers were retirees and had some concern about what the future holds for today’s children.

“This is a chance to do something to make a difference and have a positive impact,” said Mrs Hannah.

Schools can use the kits in a variety of ways, integrating science into their reading or maths programmes.

“Te Wharau use the kits to actively involve students in both literacy and maths in a targeted but fun and interesting way,” Mrs Hannah said.

At Te Wharau School there is a strong focus on reading comprehension, developing vocabulary and exploring scientific ideas and concepts through the Reading through Science programme.

A recent survey of 120 children showed an immediate increase in confidence when scientific understanding went up, Mrs Hannah said.

The House of Science was brought to the Tairawhiti region in 2019 by Connext Trust.

The kits were hugely popular and bookings were at an all-time high, Mrs Hannah said.

In Gisborne, 13 schools receive kits each week with around 500 students using these in their science lessons.

Mrs Hannah asked to dedicate this article to her aunt Kathleen Drane (nee Kirikiri), who was one of the first local volunteers. She passed away recently and Mrs Hannah said she would be dearly missed.

■ Volunteers are needed for Mondays and Fridays. For more information get in touch with Mrs Hannah at tairawhiti@houseofscience.nz

LET’S EXPERIMENT: Volunteer Anne Lewis helps Rachel Montague (left) and Willow Cudd with a science kit at Te Wharau School. The House of Science Tairawhiti is looking for more volunteers to deliver, clean and restock the kits, which are proving a popular educational aid at schools. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell