Curriculum Days No 1

Last week we spent 3 days in Wellington at RSNZ looking at curriculum development, more specifically looking at science capability one, ‘gather and interpret data’ (

On the flight down I couldn’t resist taking this photo of the Brooklands lagoon (I was in an Airbus A320 so it was ok to use my phone to take a picture!), where I was the week before getting all muddy. The mouth of the Waimakariri is visible next to the lagoon, and you can see it was quite a misty morning in lower parts of the area.


While in Wellington we looked at lots of activities we could do with classes to observe and infer different things.


One of the activities was looking at what happens with skittles in water and making good observations with it.

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We then got so excited we had to try it with M&Ms which was even better.


With purple skittles it was particularly good, as you could see the different colours coming out, like pen ink in chromatography.

Another activity was making playdoh circuits. Salt playdoh is able to conduct electricity so you can make cool circuits with it. If you make sugar playdoh though, it would be an insulator so could be a good way of looking at both circuits, and conductors and insulators.

This activity was shown to us by an ambassador from Future in Tech. They will come out to schools and take about careers, and will do activities.

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They were very simple circuits with two AA batteries, playdoh, and LEDs. No need for resistors etc. They also work really well! Much easier than setting up electricity equipment that hardly ever works properly!

We also did an activity looking at different density liquids where we had to figure out which liquid would float on which to make a traffic light in the straw.

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It took a while, but we got there in the end.

While we were looking at making observations and inference, we also looked at Cartesian divers, observing toast cooked in two ways (toaster and microwave- there is a surprising amount to observe there!), and floating paper cut different ways.

On Thursday night we were sent out on a mission to take photos of “Science”, so that we could use them the next day. We didn’t know what they were for so we all took lots of photos.

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Those are some of mine.

In the end we were asked to choose a photo (I chose the plant one) and write some questions about it that help make close observation of the photo, then some that help make inferences. This was interesting as it was very quickly proven that it is very hard to stop making inferences automatically and just make some observations. We all tend to observe very quickly and leap straight to inference.

I think next time I might give this photo a go…



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