Teacher Sinead Senek from Sts Peter and Paul School describes how the Rockets context provided New Zealand-based materials for a highly successful science unit for her year 5 and 6 students. She used the resources to develop her own understanding of the science, selected a variety of activities to use with her students, adapting them where necessary, and shared several of the video clips with the class. The practical investigations helped build students’ understanding of the science ideas. Nature of Science learning understanding about science was developed through watching the interviews with New Zealand rocket scientist Peter Beck.
As a primary school teacher, there’s always expectation you’re an expert in everything, which you aren’t, so for a science topic, I want to go to the experts. I wanted a New Zealand site, so that’s why I went to the Science Hub site. And also, when I was on the site, it gave me a lot of the background information and knowledge that I needed to learn first and understand about rockets so that then I could transfer that and break it down for use in the classroom.
So for me it was great. I watched the videos, I read the explanation on the scientific material that was put up there, and I could understand it quite well. It had diagrams, it had everything. I got my head around all of that, understood what it meant, got the words and the language. It just gave me a good overview of progression of their learning.
It had great lesson plans on there, and I looked through the various lesson plans, which had the lesson sequence broken down. I was able to then adapt and take pieces out to fit what I knew my class would work well with. It had plenty of resource material to support it, so I wasn’t hunting all over the place for video clips, I wasn’t hunting for visual images. It even had the video clip showing the children how to make the rockets.
VIDEO CLIP VOICEOVER
Cut nice flat sections from an ice cream container.
So for me, the resources were all there. Everything was there on one site. I wasn’t having to spend a lot of time trawling a lot of other sites to find the information. I also knew, too, it linked back to the resources we had at school. There’s the School Journal Story Library called Sky High that is related about rockets, there’s also the Figure It Out Forces book, which had science experiments related to rockets, so I knew I could blend all of that together.
And they were all New Zealand-based resources, so when the children are watching the video about the man from the Rocket Lab, he’s a New Zealand scientist talking about rockets in New Zealand, and I thought that was really important for the kids to get the message.
Sts Peter and Paul School