The Department of Chemistry’s Chemistry Outreach Group, comprising mostly postgraduate students, do about 1000 hours a year of work with Primary, Intermediate and High School students around Dunedin, Otago and Southland. In particular, students create and run weekly or fortnightly classes, and ‘chemistry magic shows’ for students in over 30 schools across the region.
Research by the National Education Monitoring project has identified years 4 to 8 as being the time when students become disengaged with science, we therefore target this age range, although we do work with other age ranges. This not only raises the profile of chemistry, and science in general, in these schools but also gives our own students the chance to gain new skills in both understanding and then communicating scientific ideas effectively as well as sharing their enthusiasm for science (areas identified the government as a desirable in practising scientists).
We have been highlighted by the NZ Royal Society (along with Marine Sciences and the Science Wananga program) as a model for successful outreach within NZ and recently have hosted International visitors from the UK and USA to work with us. We are also heavily involved with Hands on Science, OU Advanced Science Academy as well as the Science Wananga program.
This programme is solely funded within the Department of Chemistry and there is no cost to schools who we work with.
Students can use their time spent on outreach to qualify for a Certificate in Outreach from the Division of Sciences.