Primary Science Week 2012

National Primary Science Week provides opportunities for free local professional development around the Regions for teachers, access to the Big Experiment, Competitions for schools, free science Activities and Resources to help science teaching.

The Big Experiment – Monarch Butterfly Tagging

This year, 2012, the nationwide science experiement is the Monarch Butterfly Survey.  Butterflies are great indicators of the state of the environment.  The Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust is looking for ‘citizen scientists’ throughout the country to report sightings as the Monarchs follow their annual migration. Where do the butterflies go?

We want you to be a ‘citizen scientist’ and help tag Monarch butterflies and record where you find them. 
To do this you will need to register to receive the tags and then you can report your sightings to the Monarch Butterfly Trust.
Download the tagging experiment.
Goto the Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust website for more details.



Photo Competition

During Primary Science Week there will be a wide range of science activities and events happening both in and out of the classroom. National Primary Science Week wants to celebrate what science is being done and who is doing it. Therefore, we are pleased to announce that Cambridge has donated a set of books that will be awarded to the best photo entry. Details of competition. The competition is open to all ages.
Why Is It So? encourages children’s natural curiosity by offering answers to questions they ask about the world.  They are packed with fun, relevant and interesting information about the world of Science along with strange-but-true facts, biographies of past and present Scientists and quizzes. The books help develop research and reading skills and can be used stimulate whole-class discussion. Help them find the answers today!”

Nano Art Writing Competition

The Nano Art Writing Competition brings Chemistry into the primary school classroom and stimulates literacy and creativity. A competition run by NZ Institute of Chemistry and the Royal Society. Details of the competition. Open to all ages.


NZ Geographic Competition

Year 5-8 students: Write a poem that shows your understanding of one species that is found in one of these NZ ecosystems: NZ caves, NZ mountains, NZ wetlands, NZ forest canopy or NZ rivers. Details of the competition.
Win a set of 5 NZ Geo books about exploring these NZ ecosystems.Email entries to [email protected] with your name, class and school. Deadline is 31 May 2012


NIE Poster Competition

Fairfax NIE is supporting the week with a poster competition for Year 7-8 students, in conjunction with the Newslinks mini newspaper “Science 1.01.” There are all sorts of ways to communicate ideas in science. A poster can be a great way to express thoughts and observations about science, so here’s an opportunity for students to have a go at creating a poster. Winners will have their posters published in Newslinks and on the NiE website. They will also win a pair of books written by the Surfing Scientist Ruben Meerman. Details of the competition. Poster here.

Nationwide Webinar!

Connected provides in-depth content that promotes the exploration and learning of ideas in science, technology, and mathematics, and is distributed to all New Zealand schools. Join the team from Learning Media in a webinar to find out more about Connected and how to use the books and teacher support materials in your classroom programmes
Take part in the nationwide webinar on Tuesday 8th May 2012 4-5pm.  Details here.

Bringing Astronomy into the Classroom

Primary Science Week workshops from the RASNZ Education Group. Two of New Zealand’s most important astronomical events will be happening this June. What will you be doing at your school? The Royal Astronomical Society of NZ (RASNZ) Education group is running two exciting teacher development courses during Primary Science Week 2012 (7-11 May), with information, resources and plenty of hands on activities to help you bring
astronomy into your classroom.
Workshops will be held simultaneously at four different locations across the country in collaboration with Carter Observatory, Wellington; Science Alive, Christchurch; Stardome, Auckland; and Whanganui Museum and Cosmodome, Whanganui.
Matariki/Puanga – Maori New Year in your classroom Tuesday 8th May 4-6pm
Learn about the significance of the Matariki star cluster and the bright star Puanga, see them up close in the planetarium and discover the science and the stories hidden in the new year stars.
Transit of Venus – Observing this historic event at your school Thursday 10th May 4-6pm
The Transit of Venus on 6 June 2012 is a once in a lifetime event. This workshop will uncover the historical importance of past transits to New Zealand
and to science and show how you can safely observe the transit back at school.
Find out more and register at

Celebrate Science at Te Papa

Invertebrates – Go on a treasure hunt to uncover the variety of incredible invertebrates found in Aotearoa New Zealand. Discover one that glows in the dark. Investigate insect features before evaluating the good, the bad, and the bugly! Find out which insect superhero can save the world – and how you can help!
NatureSpace Discovery Centre – Bring your students to NatureSpace Discovery Centre where they can share their tips on how save the earth and all of its inhabitants.
Free for teachers – A free information evening will be held at Te Papa for all science teachers. Come along and try out some science learning activities that you can use with your students. Discover more about Te Papa’s science education programmes and collect a free science information kit.
To find out more and to book, contact the Education Coordinator by emailing [email protected]

BP Challenge Competition for Science Week

Butterflies are beautiful insects to look at but also very delicate. Although fragile, butterflies can be gently held and tagged and then released unharmed. Your task is to build a Butterfly Observation Net. (This device is not to be used to catch actual butterflies!). Details of the competition.
Make a start on this competition and be prepared for the Big Experiment. Competition entries are due in by 5th April, 2012


Want to know more about using the Science Learning Hub?

Free PD for Primary Science Week on 10th May, 2012 from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm.
Come to this free workshop at the University of Waikato to find out how you can use the Science Learning Hub to get a better understanding of the nature of science and to plan activities for the classroom using the nature of science strand.
To register or for more information, please contact us by emailing [email protected].

Butterfly Resources

Teachers! Children! Parents!  Do you have any butterfly activities, investigations, science resources that you have used?  Do you know of any great butterfly websites? We are keen to collect resources to be made available for everyone to use.  So please, if you have something that you can share, send it to Victoria Rosin and we will add them to this page.

Science Learning Hub – Science Stories ‘Monarch Butteflies’

Te Ara. The Encyclopedia of New Zealand –  Butterflies and Moths

School Journal – We have done a butterfly search using Journal Surf. Download the results.


Nature of Science

Steven Sexton from the University of Otagao shares a presentation about the Nature of Science: Nature of Science – presentation.


Discuss science ideas with us and other Primary Teachers on our Facebook site. Click here to be redirected to the National Primary Science Week Facebook Page.

Daily Science Experiments

New for 2012

Sandy Jackson from King’s School, Auckland has developed another 6 experiments to try out.

Free – Top 20 Science Activities

collection of easily set up activities selected by the editorial board of Primary Science Review to excite and stimulate science enquiry

Daily Science Experiments

A perfect set of experiments for you to try each day – either as a staff or with your class!

25 simple, cheap and easy experiments to do at school

A set of experiments with clear instructions, indications of what should be observed and an explanation of why it occurred.