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Scientists prepare for school camp in Masterton in May - 26/04/2018

Staff from GNS Science have been in Masterton this week finalising arrangements for a hands-on science event for intermediate-age and college students in Wairarapa.

The ‘Discover Hidden Worlds’ GeoCamp will be a 10-day field-based learning experience for about 30 students and their teachers from central Wairarapa. It will run from 7 to 18 May.

GeoCamps are designed to awaken the inquiring scientist in students through curiosity-driven, problem-solving activities and field trips. They also provide professional development for teachers who participate.

GNS Science has held successful GeoCamps in Napier, New Plymouth and Kaitaia in the past six years.


The event will involve no cost to the students and will be run from a central site during school hours. Six schools in the Wairarapa region have signed up and will be sending year 7, 8 & 9 students and teachers to attend.

It will involve a mix of classroom activities and field sessions, depending on the weather.

GeoCamp co-leader Kyle Bland, a geologist at GNS Science, says the aim is to create an environment as close to doing ‘real science’ as possible so students could experience the power of discovery for themselves.

“Themes will be ecology, climate, environmental change, and the geological history of Wairarapa,” Dr Bland says.

“We hope to show that through a bit of knowledge students will be able to discover the hidden stories in the landscape and what makes the natural world work.”

Field trips are planned to places such as Castlepoint, Lake Wairarapa, and Mangaopari Stream.

Three staff from GNS Science will be in Masterton for the duration of the event, with others visiting for shorter periods to share their specialist expertise.

On the last day of the GeoCamp, May 18, the students will put on a public expo at Aratoi Wairarapa Museumof Art and History in Masterton, where they will showcase discoveries they have made during the event. The expo will be open to the public between 9.30am and 12.30pm.

“By showing what they have discovered to their community, the students take ownership of their learning experiences. This empowers them to communicate their discoveries, just as real scientists do.”

The scientists are also planning a couple of evening presentations on Wednesday 9 may and Wednesday 16 May between 6pm and 7pm.  Topics will be the ‘Geology of the Wairarapa region’ and ‘An Introduction to GNS Science research in Antarctica’.