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Taupo students offerred unique science learning opportunity - 18/12/2015

GNS Science has teamed up with Taupo-Nui-a-Tia College to provide a unique opportunity for a group of high school students to ‘adopt’ a public thermal area in Taupo.

Students from Taupo will team up with scientists to conduct a range of measurements at a geothermal areas such as this. Photo- Margaret Low, GNS Science

Students from Taupo will team up with scientists to conduct a range of measurements at a geothermal areas such as this. Photo- Margaret Low, GNS Science

The area chosen for the pilot project is Crown Park Thermal Area, near Tauhara College. The project has been awarded $20,000 from the Government’s Unlocking Curious Minds programme.

Starting in early in 2016 and running for 12 months, the project will involve up to 30 Year 10 students. It will combine science and mathematics lessons with hands-on activities, where the students will regularly assess the health of the thermal area.

Project leader Fiona Sanders, based at GNS Science’s Wairake complex, says they will learn to use standard scientific monitoring techniques, as well as starting a clean-up of dumped waste.

“They’ll be measuring soil temperatures at various depths, and doing a survey of vegetation to see how that changes over time. They’ll also be monitoring the activity of fumaroles.”

The students will disseminate their findings to the local community via a website and a Facebook page.

They will also be encouraged to engage with the public to inform and increase awareness about their local geothermal environment.

The project provides opportunities for participants to build partnerships with scientists, stakeholders and the local community, and to discover science career pathways.

“It will help the students appreciate the relevance of science, technology and math and how they can be used in every-day settings. We also want to show them the wide variety of science careers that are available.”