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Junior Eureka’s primary aim is to enable, encourage and engage young students to talk about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, with knowledge and confidence, to their classmates, friends and families. The secondary aim of Junior Eureka is to prepare students to participate and do well in the Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka Awards.

The students that participate in the Junior Eureka program will be presented with a certificate to recognise their achievement.

We are working with the Ministry of Education, the Royal Society of New Zealand and the New Zealand Association of Science Educators.

Process:

  1. Undertake a scientific investigation
  2. Write a short presentations with an introduction, body and conclusion
  3. Present speeches to the class
Francis Wevers sat down with Jo Hawthorne of Wellesley College to talk about what they got out of Junior Eurkea

Outcome:

Students are curious about science and feel empowered to talk about science with their friends and family

Recognition:

All students that present receive a Junior Eureka Achievement Certificate

1. Undertake a Scientific Investigation and/or Experiment

The Junior Eureka programme is designed to be integrated into your existing science curriculum and to be flexible in how you want to do science. It is fundamental to participation in this programme that teachers feel free to exercise as much creativity and flexibility as they need to ensure that students are fully engaged and excited about what they are doing. We are happy to supply (where possible) Eureka alumni, who have all been finalists or scholarship winners in the Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka Awards, to assist you in your investigation or to talk about what they are doing with science. 

 Below are two different examples of how the scientific investigation could be carried out. 

Local Application Investigation

As a class, or in groups, work to identify local applications of science and technology which the students are keen to investigate – teacher-led or teacher-facilitated (depending on what stage of development the class is at). Once a potential application has been identified students should divide into groups to investigate. Fact gathering and analysis should be a shared responsibility – much like in the real world of scientific and technological research and development

House of Science Experiment

Carry out a science experiment using one of the great hands on resource kits from House of Science NZ. Discuss what happened during the experiment and what the results are. Also the ideas in the experiment should be linked to the local community so that students can then abstract concepts to the world around them. 

2. Write a Short Presentation

The students then turn to the task of constructing/writing their presentation (N.B.  it is important not to be too rigid about the time frame for the presentation but the presentations should cover the main headings).

General Points to Cover:

  • An introduction
  • An explanation of the science
  • How the science is being used or could be used in the local community
  • A conclusion

Students should be encouraged to do this individually but it is acceptable for students to do this as a group activity to develop confidence in written and oral presentation skills and in the subject matter.

3. Present Speeches to the Class or a School Assembly

We believe teachers should aim to ensure students feel stimulated and challenged by participation and that they are keen to share what they have learned during the investigation stage of the programme. This is a suggested class activity.  Ensuring that some students don’t speak too long may be an issue in some classes. Encourage succinctness and brevity where appropriate. At the end of each presentation ask other students for helpful questions/comments to highlight the importance of peer review and collaboration

Achievement Certificates

Teachers will be supplied with sufficient quantities of Achievement Certificates to present to each student who has successfully delivered a presentation to their class-mates as part of the Junior Eureka Programme.

Certificates can be ordered by email from convenor@eureka.org.nz. Teachers could consider asking someone who has helped with the Junior Eureka activity to present the certificates

Links Between Junior Eureka and The National Curriculum

The key connection between the Junior Eureka Program and the National Curriculum is through the Nature of Science, mainly Communicating Science and Participation and Contributing. As well as teaching students about the Nature of Science the Junior Eureka Program can be integrated with any of the other core science areas, Living World, Planet Earth, Physical World and Material World. Junior Eureka also teaches students how to speak to an audience.

In particular Junior Eureka! enables students and teachers to demonstrate achievement of National Standards in Literacy and Numeracy through Years 4-8

Communicating in Science

The core principal of the entire Eureka Program is the communication of science. In the Junior Eureka program students will develop their language, vocabulary and understanding of how the natural world can be represented. As the students’ progress through the Junior Eureka program the will be introduced to new scientific symbols, conventions and vocabulary. They will need to use their new knowledge to communicate their ideas to others.

Participating and Contributing

To engage and connect students, science and the community is the second key mission of the Eureka Program. In Junior Eureka students will be discovering how science is being used in their community and how it links in with the science that they are learning in the classroom. This will encourage students to use their growing scientific knowledge when considering issues and making decisions.

Understanding about Science and Investigating in Science

Junior Eureka will show students how scientists ask questions, come up with a solution and then perform an investigation to support their ideas with evidence. As part of Junior Eureka students will learn how to carry out a scientific investigation. This will involve questioning, exploration, discussion and simple models.

Living World, Planet Earth, Physical World and Material World

Junior Eureka has been designed to have a flexible structure that is not attached to a single topic of investigation. This means that it can be integrated with whatever topic is currently being studied in the classroom.

Speaking, Writing and Presenting

As part of Junior Eureka Students will learn to speak in front of an audience. They will learn to communicate their ideas clearly and concisely, with information and evidence drawn from a range of sources.

As part of their Junior Eureka! participation, students will:

  • read, respond to, and think critically about texts in order to meet the reading demands of the New Zealand Curriculum at their year appropriate level or above
  • locate, evaluate, and synthesise information and ideas within and across a range of texts appropriate to this level as they generate and answer questions to meet specific learning purposes across the curriculum
  • create texts in order to meet the writing demands of the New Zealand Curriculum at the year appropriate level or above
  • use their writing to think about, record, and communicate experiences, ideas, and information to meet specific learning purposes across the curriculum
  • will be achieving at their age appropriate level in the mathematics and statistics learning area of The New Zealand Curriculum.