The pilot of Junior Eureka will initially target years four to six but we intend for it to grow to years four to ten in future years. 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 awarded 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.

If you have any queries about Junior Eureka or want further information, please contact us at junior.eureka@eureka.org.nz

Process:

  1. As a class brainstorm what, where, why, how and who is using science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) in your home, school or community
  2. If needed break into small groups and further brainstorm what, where, why, how and who is using STEM in your home, school or community
  3. Choose a local application of STEM Investigate the application by talking to teachers, family, friends and local business (possibly Eureka Alumni). Supplement the investigation with online content
  4. Write and present a speech with an introduction, description of the local application of STEM and a conclusion

Outcome:

Francis Wevers sat down with Jo Hawthorne of Wellesley College to talk about what they got out of Junior Eurkea

Recognition:

All students that participate to a sufficient level receive a Junior Eureka Achievement Certificate

Teaching the Junior Eureka Programme (Years 4-6)

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 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 (and possibly) observation stages of the programme

Programme Objective

That students have developed sufficient confidence in their understanding of an application of science and technology in their community that they can make a 4-5 minute speech/presentation to their classmates or to a larger audience

This approach assumes that students who investigate local applications of science and technology will be likely to develop an understanding of the benefits of science and technology on a daily or regular basis

By focusing on local applications the benefits will be real and clear for the students

Suggested approach

Francis Wevers sat down with Jo Hawthorne of Wellesley College to talk about what they did for their Junior Eureka programme

Identify an application

Group work (as a whole of class or small groups) 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)

Establish teams

Once potential local application(s) have been chosen the students should be grouped in teams of no more than 4 or 5 to undertake the investigation phase of the programme

Investigation (and Observation)

Fact gathering and analysis is a shared responsibility – much like in the real world of scientific and technological research and development

Writing the story

Having gathered the information students need to make a compelling story for their class mates.

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)

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.

Doing the presentation

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 (local Rotary Club, local business owner, Eureka Alumni mentor etc) to help with the presentation of Certificates