The House of Science was established in 2013 when CEO and founder Chris Duggan learned that over 70% of NZ’s primary and intermediate schools lacked an effective science programme. With a home base located in Tauranga, House of Science has expanded to eighteen branches across the motu.
House of Science aims to empower teachers, raise scientific literacy and foster curiosity. It achieves this through providing training workshops for teachers and curating a library of science resource kits, available to schools/kura on a subscription basis. With up to 40 different options, schools can borrow kits that provide all the resources necessary to investigate scientific concepts. Every kit is bi-lingual, curriculum-aligned for years 0-8 students and comes with all the teaching resources, equipment and consumables needed to explore a science topic!
“Science is a resource-hungry subject so by sharing these kits among a group of schools it allows access to quality resources covering the whole science curriculum” - Dr Siousxie Wiles, House of Science Ambassador
The impact of effective, hands-on learning
With the Mataruahou Kāhui Ako Napier (Napier City Community of Learning), House of Science were able to reach out to five schools, 35 teachers and 931 students.
They explored topics surrounding Earth in terms one and two followed by Energy in terms three and four. Students from the classes were tested on their knowledge of various topics related to Earth prior to their involvement with House of Science.
They were retested at the end of the topic and a marked improvement could be observed in test scores.
“The kits have been a rich source of learning and inspiration for myself and the children” - Teacher feedback from Mataruahou Kāhui Ako.
At Welcome Bay School (Tauranga), the impact of House of Science was evidenced through qualitative feedback, with teachers and parents reporting students were better able to ‘see’ themselves as scientists and improved classroom behaviour through moving to highly engaging, hands-on learning experiences. An evidence-based assessment of the student’s science thinking skills also showed great improvements with long-term use of the kits.
How STEM organisations can get involved:
Businesses and STEM professionals are critical to the House of Science’s success. Here’s how your organisation could help:
Volunteer to check and restock resource kits. Contact your local branch to find out how you can help maintain and restock the House of Science resource library.
Volunteer for follow-up session(s) at a school after they have completed a science kit/topic. With over 40 kits covering just about every STEM field, and branches in most major centres, there is likely a topic that will align with your organisation’s focus and location.
Sponsor a school, branch or resource kit. Science kit subscriptions are heavily subsidised to make them accessible to all schools. This is only possible through the generous sponsorship of businesses and corporate sponsors.
Partner with HoS to co-develop new resource kits. HoS kits are developed by experienced educators who know what excites students and what works for teachers. STEM partners can support the development of new kits through providing technical expertise or relevant data and real-life examples for students to engage with. Mighty Microbes (NZ Microbiological Society) and Moo to You (Dairy NZ) are some examples of kits co-developed with STEM industry partners.
Read the full case studies from House of Science here: