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science teacher 2012 Featuring: Science and Storytelling Neurogenesis: the brain, the people and the hope Tribute to Sir Paul Callaghan Issues in storytelling Making NoS more explicit Lean mean vehicles Ripping yarns: science in Africa Nematodes: the unseen multitudes Kiwifruit: the perfect food TKI: what’s on offer And more‌

Number 130

ISSN 0110-7801


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www.sciencelearn.org.nz Explore the Science Learning Hub to find a wealth of resources for year 5–10 teachers including contemporary science stories, feature articles, people profiles, images, animations and video clips that showcase New Zealand’s world class science sector.

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Editorial Advisory Group: Rosemary Hipkins, Chris Joyce, Suzanne Boniface, Beverley Cooper, Miles Barker and Anne Hume Editorial Address: lyn.nikoloff@xtra.co.nz

Editorial 2 From the President 3 Tribute to Sir Paul Callaghan 2, 5

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NZST PublicationTeam: Editor: Lyn Nikoloff, Bijoux Publishing Ltd, Palmerston North Sub editor: Teresa Connor Typesetting and Cover Design: Pip’s Pre-Press Services, Palmerston North Printing: K&M Print, Palmerston North Distribution: NZ Association of Science Educators

Science and Storytelling Narrative and science education 4 Issues in storytelling 6

NZASE National Executive: President: Sabina Cleary Senior Vice-President: Lindsey Connor Treasurer/Web Manager: Robert Shaw Primary Science: Chris Astall Auckland Science Teachers: Carolyn Haslam Publications: Matt Balm Executive Member: Steven Sexton Executive Member: Gerard Harrigan

Research on the human brain: the challenge and excitement 11 Kiwifruit: the perfect food 16 From carbon arcs to lean mean vehicles 19

Mailing Address and Subscription Inquiries: NZASE PO Box 37 342 Halswell 8245. email: nzase@xtra.co.nz

Nematodes: the unseen multitude 22 A model for making NoS more explicit 26 Ripping yarns: science in Africa 29

NZASE Subscriptions (2012) School description Secondary school

Roll numbers Subscription > 500 $240.00 < 500 $185.00 Area School - to be determined TBA Intermediate, middle and > 600 $240.00 composite schools 150-599 $90.00 < 150 $65.00 Primary/contributing schools > 150 $90.00 < 150 $70.00 Tertiary Education Organisations $240.00 Libraries $110.00 Individuals $50.00 Student teachers $45.00 Special Interest Group (includes access to secure sites): BEANZ, NZIC, STANZ, ESSE (was SCIPED) $20 per group Note: SIG fees are included all subscriptions except for individual members. Additional copies of the NZ Science Teacher Journal $32.06 per year for three issues Subscription includes membership and one copy of NZST per issue (i.e. three copies a year). All prices are inclusive of GST. Advertising: Advertising rates are available on request. Please contact Matt Balm, c/- nzase@xtra.co.nz Deadlines for articles and advertising: Issue 131: 20 August (publication date: 1 October, 2012) NZST welcomes contributions for each journal. Please refer to the NZASE website or contact the editor (nzst@nzase.org.nz) for a copy of the NZST Writing Guidelines. Disclaimer: The New Zealand Science Teacher is the journal of the NZASE and aims to promote the teaching of science, and foster communication between teachers, scientists, consultants and other science educators. Opinions expressed in this publication are those of the various authors, and do not necessarily represent those of the Editor, Editorial Advisory Group or the NZASE. Websites referred to in this publication are not necessarily endorsed.

A butterfly story: being a citizen scientist 34 Primary science Te Kete Ipurangi 39 From mud whelks 40 Nature of science activity 42 Subject Associations BEANZ 44 Chemistry 45 Physics 46 ESSE 47 STANZ 48 Resources Book review 18, 21, 28, 38, 43 NZST writing guidelines 4 Ask-a-scientist 33 NZIBO 25

Cover photo caption: A schematic three-dimensional representation of the rostral migratory streams (orange bands) for new brain cells in the human brain extending from the lateral ventricles around the front of the basal ganglia to the olfactory bulb (originally the cover page of the Science Magazine of the AAAS (315 March 2007). New New Zealand Zea eala land Association Assoc ociiation n of of Science Scieen ncce Educators Educ Ed uca atorrs ator

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Great NZ science stories It was with great sadness that I learned of the untimely death of Sir Paul Callaghan (p.2). Sir Paul was not only a New Zealander of repute, he was also a tireless campaigner for NZ science and science education, and he was a great storyteller. Sir Paul had a generosity of spirit and the NZST team feel privileged to have been able to print some of Sir Paul’s last words in Issue 129 of the NZST some of which are reprinted here (p.5). May he rest in peace. This issue of the NZST has the theme of science and storytelling (p.4) and features stories from the NZ science and education communities. The main feature article has been written by Professor Richard Faull who writes about neurogenesis: the brain, the people and the hope. This is a fantastic heartwarming story about scientific endeavour (p.11). We are privileged to be able to publish this story and I am certain that it will find a place in every science teacher’s resource bank. Crafting a narrative in the classroom that engages students is not easy, writes Cathy Buntting (p.6). Yet the careful use of science stories, such as the one on neurogenesis, can provide a context for socio-scientific discussions that engage and enthral students. There is a new field of research: science studies which Rosemary Hipkins draws on to show how carrying out science investigations ‘like a scientist’ can be a model for making nature of science more explicit (p.26). Science stories are as unique as scientists. In another series of Ripping Yarns, Miles Barker writes about three scientists from Africa whose stories challenge our notion of ‘scientist’ (p.29). I am sure you will find these three stories enlighten aspects of the nature of science. We bring to your attention some great NZ science stories. Daniel Leduc’s engaging article about nematodes, the unseen multitudes, will certainly give you a newfound respect for these otherwise unmentioned worms that are teaching us about ecological processes (p.22). I enjoy eating kiwifruit but until I read Fran Wolber’s article I never imagined they had huge health benefits, aiding the absorption of iron and boosting the immune system (p.16). This is a great food science story and shows how one question led to many more – a great whodunit! Also on a

food science theme, Steve Flint reviews a book that celebrates agrifood innovation in NZ – I am sure it will be a useful addition to your department’s library (p.21). Internationally there has been a huge amount of research on developing an alternative to the petrol engine. In NZ one team, including John Abrahamson, has taken a different approach to the problem. They have focused on cutting fuel use when the car is idling. This has led to the development of a new battery that uses carbon fabric – and which is attracting international attention (p.19). This is a great NZ science story about entrepreneurship that will enthral your physical science students. Imagine protecting native butterflies by encouraging your students to become citizen scientists, and in the process teaching them about butterflies (p.34). This is a great article about a primary classroom project that I am sure will spur you to engage your students in similar projects. Also in this issue: for primary science educators: TKI (p.39); realising the dream (p.40); and a nature of science activity (p.42). And: meet the BEANZ team (p.44); read about the nature of chemical bonding (p.45); separate fact from myth about the gold foil experiment (p.46); learn about tracking yellow ducks in the world’s oceans (p.47); and some tips from a science technician (p.48). We also have book reviews about promoting conceptual understanding in middle years (p.18), and why history of science matters in the classroom (p.38). Finally, I would like to thank all of our contributors. Your generosity of spirit in writing an article for the NZST is gratefully appreciated. We are mindful that there are competing interests for your time and it is not always easy to find the time/funding to write for us. Yet without your support, science educators would not learn of your endeavours or be inspired by them. Thank you. Now…I urge you all to make a hot toddy, stoke the fire and settle in for a good night’s reading – this issue is a rollicking great read. Enjoy!! Kind regards

Sir Paul Callaghan 19 August 1947 – 24 March 2012 “Science is vital for good citizenship. Science is dependable, honest, fearless and clear, and causes us to question received wisdom and common sense and that’s a good start on the road to wise citizenship, ” wrote Sir Paul in Issue 129 of the NZST, some of his last words. On behalf of the NZASE and the NZST team, I extend our sincere condolences to Sir Paul’s family and his colleagues.

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The science education community has lost a good and true friend. To honour Sir Paul’s commitment to, and support for, science education, the NZST will dedicate all three issues in 2013 to him and his last words: ‘Science is vital for good citizenship.’—Editor


Recently, Professor Guy Claxton from the University of Winchester spoke at the 2012 Graham Nuthall Annual Lecture in Christchurch. His keynote was entitled ‘Can schools prepare you for anything?’ In his talk, Professor Claxton challenged us to think critically about what success at school means. How might we implement a future-focused approach to learning that prepares students with the resources, attitudes, and mindset for the 21st century? He suggested that many young people are struggling in the face of all the complexities and uncertainties of modern life, and that they need to “learn how to flounder intelligently.” In other words, they need to learn how to respond when they don’t have a ready knowledge base. This is especially true for science education, as our increasingly scientific and technologically dependent society requires students to be scientifically literate. We not only need to prepare enough students for careers in science, we also need to prepare all students for a life that necessitates a multitude of decisions that require their engagement in science. Unfortunately, students commonly misconstrue science as a body of facts about the way the world works, that scientists have discovered and that they (students) have to memorise in order to pass exams. This “scientific knowledge” is only one of the three domains that are critical in the development of scientific literacy (Figure 1). The Nature of Science strand in the New Zealand Curriculum reflects a shift in emphasis towards the

Figure 1: Three domains of science (Ref: Bell, R.L. (2009). Teaching the nature of science: three critical questions. http://tinyurl.com/7koghkz)

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importance of explicitly teaching the nature of science. There is no way we can teach students the entire body of knowledge they will need in their future lives; but we can help to prepare them to ‘flounder intelligently’ if we can engage them in understanding the way science works. One way that we can help students to understand science as ‘a way of knowing’ is through stories from the history of science, or from contemporary scientists. Such stories can be embedded in lessons involving science knowledge and/or skills so that students gain a meaningful understanding of how science works. There are a number of very useful web pages available with New Zealand science/scientists’ stories, including: • National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Ma¯tauranga O Aotearoa, online exhibition: Contemporary New Zealand scientists. http://tinyurl.com/2443g9 • Science Learning Hub: Science Stories. http://tinyurl.com/7c7ryw4 • Ministry of science and innovation: Success stories. http://tinyurl.com/6u3mwch It is also important that students appreciate that science exists in a cultural context. They need to think about whose knowledge, processes and nature of science they are considering. In a New Zealand setting, students could be looking at the links between Ma¯tauranga Ma¯ori and western science. Some web pages that may be of use to teachers include: • TKI Nature of Science Teaching Activities: Scientific knowledge and Ma¯ori knowledge about mussel biology. http://tinyurl.com/736knq5 • NIWI: Ma¯ori environmental knowledge. http://tinyurl.com/76w6dwq • National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Ma¯tauranga O Aotearoa, online exhibition: Contemporary New Zealand scientists – traditional knowledge. http://tinyurl.com/7zo36s4 • Landcare research: What is Ma¯tauranga Ma¯ori? http://tinyurl.com/7sdvdjb Giving students repeated opportunities to link knowledge and processes explicitly to the different ‘ways of knowing’ in science helps them to gain a broader understanding of the nature of science beyond the ‘fair test’. If students can see the importance of collaboration, creativity, innovation and often serendipity in science, it may make the subject more exciting and attractive for them. If it can be wrapped up in an engaging story involving scandal, excitement and rivalry (as many tales of scientific discovery are) then all the better! Nga mihi nui Sabina Cleary President NZASE

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narrative and science education This issue of New Zealand Science Teacher takes storytelling in science teaching and learning as its theme. What comes to mind? asks Miles Barker. I would wager that a good many of us can comfortably imagine a science lesson in Room Seven where Year Two children are sitting on the mat and, with their teacher, are engrossed in a Big Book. A much greater stretch is needed to conjure up a Physics Lab where Year 12 students and their teacher are engaged in an extended session of listening to, and telling, stories in and about physics. Why does this latter scenario tax our imagination? Is it only because time is so short in the senior secondary school, and curriculum and assessment needs are so pressing? Or is it also because we actually believe, overtly or covertly, that storytelling is somehow not ‘real science’? The accumulated wisdom of a lifetime prompted American educator Jerome Bruner to think deeply about this. He wrote about two forms of human expression. First, there is the narrative mode, which “leads to good stories, gripping drama…it deals with human-like intentions and action…it strives to put its timeless miracles into the particulars of experience.”1 Bruner contrasts this with the logico-scientific mode2 which “…seeks to transcend the particular by higher and higher reaching for abstraction,

and in the end, disclaims in principle any explanatory value at all where the particular is concerned.” Somehow, unwittingly or by design, we teachers of science often let the logico-scientific mode squeeze out the narrative mode. In the Physics Lab, the Ohm’s law equation R=V/I takes on a life of its own. How and why R=V/I first came to be known, how it has evolved, who Ohm was, how we can make his law part of our own lives, how we can think and talk about it in our own way, and how we can make up our own stories about it – in short, the stuff of human narrative – are somehow downgraded or sometimes even omitted. Of course we teachers of science need both of Bruner’s modes; as he says, “the two (though complimentary) are irreducible to one another.”3 However, without science stories, science lessons suffer two fatal flaws: they are boring for students; and they give students a hopelessly false impression of how science actually happens. To live science ourselves, to know how science is done by others and why it is so special, science stories must be an indispensible part of our school repertoire. That is why this issue has storytelling as its theme. 1

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Bruner, J. (1986). Actual minds, possible worlds. Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press, p.13. Bruner also calls this the ‘paradigmatic mode’. Bruner (1986), p.11.

NZST writing guidelines The New Zealand Science Teacher (NZST) welcomes the submission of quality articles related to science education. Topical contributions might include: discussion of the purposes of science education; responses to science articles published in the journal; curriculum issues, such as the development of Nature of Science approaches; pedagogical challenges and ideas; creative use of existing resources; classroom-based research findings and implications; and development of teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge (which subsumes a focus on students’ content knowledge). The audience for the New Zealand Science Teacher is potentially wide. It includes early childhood educators, primary teachers, secondary teachers from the various discipline areas of the sciences, teacher educators, tertiary science teachers, and scientists with an interest in educational challenges and issues. The structure and tone of articles should demonstrate an awareness of the need to communicate clearly with this wide audience, in a suitable and direct magazine-style of writing. Your topic and the direction of your argument should be clearly apparent in the first paragraph and unfold logically thereafter. Informative sub-headings help to break up the text and keep readers engaged. Formal academic conventions are not mandatory. For example, the use of the first person can be desirable in the interests of clarity and audience engagement. However, this does not mean that rigour is not important. The basis for claims should be carefully developed, with supporting evidence where appropriate. Referencing should be accurate and preferably follow widely adopted APA conventions, but should also be constrained in the interests of brevity. Please consult past issues of New Zealand Science Teacher for format and style cues. Submitting articles for publication It is advisable to seek informed and critical peer feedback

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before submission. Appoint a private mentor to check that you are presenting your ideas in a concise way, that claims are supported, and that the text is free of spelling and grammatical errors. The ‘New Zealand Science Teacher’ is not a formally refereed journal, but all articles will be peer reviewed after submission, and it is common for substantive rewriting to be requested at this stage. Timely feedback from a mentor before submission will help prevent this frustration, for you and for the reviewer, and speed up the publication process. However, if you are a first-time author you are welcome to approach the editor with a view to having a mentor provided to advise you in the initial writing. Unsolicited articles are welcome, but they must meet the editorial requirements as described in these guidelines. Publication of unsolicited material will be subject to the formatting and space restraints of the current magazine edition, and may be held over for future publication. Submission of material does not guarantee publication. All articles should be 2500 to 3000 words in length, and may include up to 3 or 4 images or tables. Articles are to be submitted electronically as a text only document (no layout), including captions and their placement, using Times New Roman or Arial font (12pt, headings 14pt bold). On the first page include: title, name(s) of the author(s) and an email address to which reviews should be sent. Send all articles to The Editor, NZ Science Teacher at: lyn.nikoloff@xtra.co.nz The Editor’s decision about acceptance is final, and will be based on advice received from the reviewers. Publication is conditional upon authors giving copyright to the NZASE. Requests to copy all or substantial parts of an article must be made to the Editor.


The following are some highlights from Sir Paul’s article that was published in Issue 129 of the NZST, three weeks before he died of cancer on 24 March 2012 at the age of 64. Sir Paul was a good friend of science educators. We live in a world where science and technology are central to our lives, but often remote from our understanding. Science has driven accelerating technological change, rapid advances in medicine and changing social attitudes. Two simple examples – oral contraceptives and cell ell phones – powerfully illustrate how science changes the way we live and behave.

So what is science? I like Lewis Wolpert’s view the best. It is a way of looking at the world that tries to explain natural phenomena in terms of underlying causes in a way which is self-consistent and corresponds with reality. Archimedes’ law is independent of culture or religion. It is neither good nor bad. It is simply true. There is no agreed definition of science, and we scientists get on perfectly well without one. We have just two requirements: all debates are settled in the end by evidence; and all ideas and theories have to be consistent with all the evidence we have. There is no authority in science apart from evidence… and in all of the evidence of science, there is uncertainty, sometimes remarkably small, as in the precision with which we can measure the speed of light or the oscillation rate of an electron in an atom and sometimes exceedingly large and worrisome, as in our ability to predict the future climate of planet Earth. Numbers lie at the heart of science, and we have to know what the numbers mean and what they do not mean. Science is revolutionary. It builds a solid core of established knowledge; but at the frontiers it is in a state of restless upheaval…upheaval that can sometimes reach to the very heart of science. Science is sceptical and always questioning. But science has one overriding strength that assists it in its task to overcome our common sense and communicate its beauty and excitement. Central to the values of science is the imperative that ideas must be expressed with the utmost clarity, economy and simplicity. Nature is complicated enough without our trying to make it appear more so.

Motivate children to enjoy and learn science And so I turn to the matter of motivating our school children to enjoy and learn science. This world is an extraordinarily different one from that in which I grew up in back in the 1950s, when we disappeared after school down to the river bank to play with homemade boats, where we fired shanghais and lit fires and created havoc, never appearing at home until dinnertime, to parents who never worried about

where we were. We children talked to each whe other and argued, and in the evenings we ot rread, even if we sometimes read comics, and we let our imaginations roam free with radio. Thirty years ago the play of young boys (though not sadly of girls) centred around pulling gadgets apart or putting them together. My generation made telephones, put-put boats and crystal sets. In my own case could be added nitroglycerine, Molotov ca cocktails and homemade firearms. Today, coc television and the Internet have consumed televis vast quantities of children's leisure time. And we now live in the throwaway age. Nothing is tinkered with or repaired, only discarded and replaced. Toys have become innocuous and we have even deprived children of fireworks. We need to use e-learning, but we also need to put back what has been removed from their play as children. They need conversation, they need practical experience of nature and the world, and they need effective teaching from inspired individuals with all the subtlety and nuance that only real human beings can provide. Indeed, my idea of a science curriculum for primary school would be a form of directed play, in which children gather direct personal experience of the natural world.

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Last words of Sir Paul Callaghan: science is vital for good citizenship

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Engage the young scientist What of those who will be scientists? What of those who make that choice, as is so often the case, in those crucial adolescence years? I think that those first steps on the road to a science future will be made because of a feeling of magic in the childhood experience of the natural world; but that choice will be given some structure and encouragement, in the early secondary school years, by teachers who are able to open windows on understanding.

Teaching science for citizenship Education is not, primarily, about preparing kids for employment. It is about opening their minds and their hearts to a world of knowledge and understanding and motivating them and equipping them to become lifelong learners. If they fall in love with science then that is a matter for rejoicing, and such an outcome will inevitably be the result of a teacher who has not only a gift in science communication, but who also has personal qualities that resonate with that child. And such a teacher can have a profound influence an all children, whether destined to study science further or not. For all our kids need to know what science is; how it works and what its values are. Science is not the totality of our knowledge. It does not tell us how to live as human beings. Yet it is dependable and honest and fearless and clear, and it causes us to question received wisdom and common sense. That’s a good start on the road to wise citizenship.

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issues in storytelling Effective teachers tend to also be effective storytellers. However, the art of crafting the narrative in ways that engage students and enhance learning is not easy. Cathy Buntting, University of Waikato, demonstrates the complexity of such storytelling and its potential to engage students in thoughtful, respectful discussions about socio-scientific issues. (The double entendre in the title is therefore deliberate.) Socio-scientific issues are open-ended, multifaceted social issues with conceptual links to science (Sadler, 2011). They are highlighted in the New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2007) under ‘participating and contributing’ within the Nature of Science strand. At Levels 5 and 6, for example, students are required to “develop an understanding of socio-scientific issues by gathering relevant scientific information in order to draw evidence-based conclusions and to take action where appropriate”. At Levels 7 and 8, students “use relevant information to develop a coherent understanding of socio-scientific issues that concern them, to identify possible responses at both personal and societal levels”. One of the more widely recognised strategies to engage students in this area is through the use of narrative. Finding a meaning for narrative Narratives can be defined in two different ways: the stories that we tell about some aspect of the world; and the stories we tell about ourselves (Solomon, 2002). Both have relevance for the exploration of socio-scientific issues. In the first case, the narrative is used to situate the issue within a context to which students can relate. For example, to consider the development of genetically modified organisms, the story of Jonah Lomu needing a kidney transplant might be used to contextualise the value of genetically modifying pigs for the purposes of providing organs to humans (xenotransplantation). An alternative use of narrative is to focus on how individuals use personal perspectives to frame their responses to an issue. Referring to the latter, Hipkins (2004) writes: “...each of us constructs our own narrative accounts of the world as we go about our lives within our particular cultural contexts with all their associated interactions and experiences.” (p.54). Thus, using the example of Jonah Lomu, Ma¯ori students might bring with them ideas about whakapapa and the interconnectedness of all things – which would likely influence some key cultural concerns about xenotransplantation. A narrative approach within this tradition therefore not only recognises the diverse familial and cultural values that students bring to their understanding of socio-scientific issues, but also encourages an articulation and consideration of these values in the context of the issue. In other words, it recognises the value of students’ own perspectives and history when considering controversial issues.

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Building on this second perspective of narrative, ‘narrative ethics’ describes an approach to ethical decision making that allows individuals to explain their views “in terms that encompass the traditions, beliefs and values of their respective cultures.” (De Luca, 2010, p.88). This is particularly important in New Zealand, where our bicultural heritage shapes an atmosphere in which Ma¯ori (and other cultural) perspectives are increasingly acknowledged and integrated. By way of example, the Ma¯ori principle of whakapapa, referred to above, encompasses the presence of “a fixed and unalterable bond between humans and the physical world.” (Human Genome Research Project, 2006, p.73). From this perspective, “everything from a rock, a tree, the ocean and humans are all balanced intricately”. (p.76). The resulting understanding of the interconnectedness of all aspects of the human and physical worlds impacts on how many biological issues might be interpreted. As De Luca (2010) demonstrates: “Familiar practices such as donating an organ or becoming a donor recipient assume enormous cautionary significance within this worldview. Conversely, the consequences of a threatened extinction of an animal, bird or plant species may be explained with a sense of urgency.” (p.92). Narrative ethics – personal storytelling as part of the decision-making process – sits alongside other traditions in ethical thinking: such as consequentialism (the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcomes); autonomy (the right of the individual to make decisions about – and be responsible for – their own actions); and virtue ethics (the moral character of the person drives his or her behaviour).1 However, by embracing individual experience and storytelling in addition to other, more analytic approaches, “a narrative approach has the potential to take thinkers further than the traditional Western analytic way of thinking, on its own, sometimes allows.” (De Luca, 2010, p.88). This article provides an example of how narrative was used to engage Year 13 biology students in, and support their thinking about, socio-scientific issues. The intention is to demonstrate how teachers can use narrative to ground a particular issue within a genuine context. In doing this, the issue becomes less abstract and more ‘real’. For example, using animals for medical research is a fairly abstract topic, until grounded in a specific example – either concerning the treatment to the animals, or the potential life-saving impact on humans. Similarly, the impact of radio waves on human health becomes a lot more tangible when considering the story of a person with cancer who has lived near a cell phone tower. Of course, dialogue in this area also provides opportunities for discussing the nature of science – another key curriculum aim. In addition, exploring ethical issues is congruent with the values section of the curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2007). 1

For more on ethical frameworks, see ‘Using ethical frameworks in the classroom’ on the Science Learning Hub: http://tinyurl.com/7mqfcxx


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giant snails are carnivorous, and talking about the Pike River Mine tragedy, also on the West Coast. A range of opinions was contributed in relation to the costs of collecting and moving the snails, and one student specifically asked Robert whether he supported the conservation efforts, which he said that he did. An audio recording of the entire lesson highlights the circuitous nature of the students’ discussion and how later topics trigger thoughts about earlier topics; the need for the teacher to play ‘devil’s advocate’ or explicitly encourage the voicing of alternative views; the effective modelling and encouragement by the teacher of respectful acceptance of (but not necessarily agreement with) alternative views; and the general knowledge of the teacher with regards to New Zealand conservation efforts. However, the nature of the conversation was such that it could probably have been guided in the direction of other socio-scientific issues that a teacher, not comfortable with concepts about conservation, might have felt more in control of. In other words, the teacher’s knowledge was important, but it did not necessarily need to be about conservation. The purpose of the lesson was to raise students’ awareness that socio-scientific issues are ones about which there are diverse views. While Robert did not in this instance delve more deeply into the giant snail narrative, a six-minute television article produced by TVNZ’s Close-up4 presents – with humour – a range of views (from the Department of Conservation, Solid Energy, and a lobby group ‘Save Happy Valley’) and lends itself to analysis of these views as well as the emotive language and footage used throughout the article. Lesson 3: Karen Ann Quinlan Building on students’ learning that controversial issues are ones about which a range of views exist, Robert focused the third lesson in the sequence of five on the tragic narrative of Karen Ann Quinlan. The story is pertinent to senior biology because the case represents “a landmark in the ethical debate over the lengths medical science should go in trying to preserve a life that is deemed irretrievably lost.” (Long, 2008). Born in 1954, Karen was 21 when she arrived home from a party having taken a concoction of drugs and alcohol. She collapsed and stopped breathing, was taken by paramedics to hospital and diagnosed after several weeks as being in a ‘persistent vegetative state’ (a deeply unconscious state with minimal arousal so that it cannot be classified as brain dead). She was connected to feeding tubes and a respirator. In describing the scenario, Robert was careful to clarify the specific details of the scenario, for example, explaining: “A ventilator is something that assisted her breathing.” He also stated: “So she basically didn’t have any real brain function. I want to make sure you understand the scenario. She had severe brain damage, so it looked like she was unable to sustain life without the ventilator support. She was described as being in a chronic, persistent, vegetative state. Think about that – chronic, persistent, vegetative state. Totally unresponsive to anything that was going on around, and unable to do anything.” 4

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Case study: Karen Ann Quinlan Robert (a pseudonym) is an experienced science teacher and head of faculty with an excellent reputation within his school and the wider education community. As part of a research project undertaken by the University of Waikato, he agreed to plan and implement units supporting ethical thinking. One of these classes, a Year 13 biology class, spent five lessons exploring a range of issues as part of their preparation for carrying out their own research for Achievement Standard 90714 (Research a current biological issue). 2 In the first two lessons, Robert used whole-class discussion to introduce a range of controversial issues. The third lesson highlighted the multiple stakeholders that may exist, and in the last two lessons small groups of students used the ethics thinking tool on the Science Learning Hub3 to consider whether pigs should be genetically modified for xenotransplantation purposes. Examples of dialogue from the first and third lessons are detailed here in order to unpack the expertise that Robert draws on when using narrative to support his students’ learning about controversial issues. Lesson 1: Class discussion In the first lesson of the sequence, Robert facilitated a whole-class discussion intended to raise students’ awareness of controversial issues that, by their very nature, cause people to hold differing views. He explained to his students: “Part of our work here, getting you to thinking in this way, [is] getting your brains attuned to thinking in a way which allows you to see different sides and points of view and positions whenever someone says, What do you think about ...? and they bring up a topic.” Here, Robert highlights the value of the students’ learning to their everyday lives. When the students responded with a range of views in response to his question whether whaling should be allowed, he affirmed their contributions: “You are illustrating what I want you to do, and that is to see that there are different points of view.” He also highlighted the importance of mutual respect within the classroom environment, saying to his class after the whole-class discussion dissolved into animated small group interactions: “One thing that’s important with these discussions is that they can get out of hand very quickly, with people having their own little discussions. And that’s another good thing, but we do need to come back together at times.” From discussing the benefits and risks of whaling in the Southern Ocean, the conversation moved easily, under Robert’s guidance, to conservation and the associated costs: “What cost do you put on keeping a species around? Why are we bothering to help the kiwis?” Again, there was an animated response with the majority of students contributing ideas. To push the conversation deeper, Robert drew on his own general knowledge of a relevant narrative about the relocation of a giant snail population prior to the destruction of its West Coast habitat for the purposes of coal mining. Students were able to make links from this example to their own knowledge, for example, that

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Figure 1: Example of three students’ group work.

Robert then went on to describe how the father requested the hospital to turn off the ventilator and let Karen die. He asked the students to consider the multiple views that existed: “They [Karen’s parents] wanted to give her the opportunity to die with dignity. They wanted to do that. What I want you to think about is to do with the rights and the issues and who gets affected, what the consequences are, and so on. I want you to think about the potential scenario and some of the rights, some of the responsibilities, who should be able to make decisions, the types of questions that might come to mind when you have this type of scenario.” Within this, Robert alluded to a range of ethical principles (highlighted in bold): who gets affected, what the consequences are, who has rights, who has responsibilities, who should be allowed to make decisions about someone else’s life. To guide the students’ discussions, Robert distributed a brainstorming handout on which small groups were asked to record their views in response to the question: ‘Should they turn the respirator off?’ He emphasised the need for responses to be written down. (See Figure 1 for an example of a completed handout.) After the lesson, Robert explained that using the handout had been a deliberate pedagogical decision and that he was trialling for the first time in order to give students practice writing down their responses to an issue rather than just talking about it. “They find it hard to write on paper what they’re talking about. And so that’s actually a good exercise for them to realise that while they can talk about stuff, they need to write it down on paper too.” Robert circulated around the groups as the students discussed their views, interacting with them about their ideas. For example, he asked one group, “If you were the parents, put yourself in the parents’ situation…what would you say?” He then re-focused the lesson on a whole-class discussion, asking each group to contribute one perspective in favour of, and another against, the switching off of the ventilator. He was very affirming of New Zealand Association of Science Educators

the responses, and particularly the depth of emotion that surrounded the case: Group 2: Seeing your daughter lying in bed each day, not moving, seeing nothing, I don’t know... Robert: We [indicating another group] talked about how difficult it might be to turn it off, and how difficult it would be to not…to watch her live as well. Hard to see her live, and hard to see her die. Robert was also able to make links between students’ responses, and aspects that they needed to consider for their controversial issues assessment: Group 4: It could be against hospital policy. No one can say for sure what her wishes would be. Like Terry5 said, if she did re-awake, what state would she be in? She could be a liability for the parents as well. Robert: So there is a little bit about the economic aspect that Leo mentioned of saving money; while it sounds like a hard decision to make, keeping people alive for years in a state like that is extremely expensive. When you are investigating your ethical issue, or the issue that you do, I do want you to consider the economics of the situation. Is it expensive to do the procedure that you’re thinking about, or maybe you’re suggesting a process or procedure because it’s cheaper... After all groups had contributed to the discussion, Robert then continued with the narrative: “I’ll tell you the next step of the story then. The doctors refused to take her off the ventilator because they said that there might be some brain activity, and this was what might just be keeping her alive. And if you turned it off you would be, like Jacob said, maybe euthanising the patient. So Joseph Quinlan, who was the father, said, ‘I don’t know whether this is fair.’ He was a Catholic, quite a staunch Catholic, and he went to the Catholic Church and said, ‘What am I going to do? What’s the morally right thing to do in this case?’ And I want you, when you’re thinking about your issues, I want you to be thinking about the moral rightfulness of things. The good. ”6 5 6

Pseudonyms have been used. Virtue ethics focuses on the use of moral principles to guide ethical decisionmaking.


Table 1: Examples of teacher knowledge required for using narrative to contextualise a socio-scientific issue. Examples of teacher knowledge when teaching about socio-scientific issues

Content knowledge

Knowledge of the socio-scientific issue Knowledge of one or more appropriate narratives associated with the socio-scientific issue Identifying stakeholders and their views.

General pedagogical knowledge

Facilitating classroom dialogue Monitoring classroom dialogue for classroom management purposes Creating a classroom environment in which alternative views are respected.

Curriculum knowledge

Identifying appropriate learning outcomes.

Pedagogical content knowledge

Knowing how to formatively assess students’ ethical thinking skills and then extend their thinking within the context of the issue.

Knowledge of learners and their characteristics

Identifying socio-scientific issues and associated narratives that are likely to be suitable for and relevant to the student cohort.

Knowledge of educational contexts

Being aware of the social dynamics within the classroom Being aware of cultural influences and individual family experiences likely to impact on individual students’ views.

Knowledge of educational ends, purposes and values, and their philosophical and historical grounds

Understanding how engagement with socio-scientific issues relates to the general education of the students.

“Now they [Catholics] oppose euthanasia. They certainly would not accept that euthanasia is acceptable. But then they [Catholic theologians] decided in their considerations that having a respirator is an extraordinary, unusual way to keep someone alive. So they said it was OK to turn it off. The Catholic Church said, ‘This is actually not euthanasia, because this extra part, or component, that is helping her to breathe is extra to what you would consider the essentials of life.’ So she’s not getting the essentials of life withheld, but she is having an aspect that promotes breathing turned off. But the doctor said, ‘No,’ he couldn’t, ‘because I legally have an obligation to my patients to do everything possible to keep them alive.’ So here is this big dilemma. The father says I want this turned off. The Catholic Church has given it the tick because it is not a moral sin to do so, so the religious issue has been ticked. But the doctor now says, ‘It’s my duty to myself and to patients, and my Hippocratic Oath which I have taken, says I agree to uphold life at all possible cost.’ So he said, ‘No we can’t do this...’” There were also threats by the State of New Jersey that medical professionals who helped to end Karen’s life would be prosecuted. Eventually, Karen’s father took the decision to the New Jersey Supreme Court, which ultimately ruled in his favour and rejected the argument that removing life support would constitute a homicide, saying that Quinlan’s death would result from natural causes (Long, 2008). After the respirator was turned off in 1976, Karen continued to survive in a vegetative state. She died of pneumonia in 1985 at the age of 31. Karen’s case demonstrates the large number of stakeholders involved in the decision making: Karen’s family, the medical profession, the Catholic Church, and the legal system. Each of these groups had reason to hold views that were not necessarily in agreement with other stakeholders. It is for this reason that Robert had used it in previous years, and did so again with the

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current cohort of students. He commented: “It’s a story that gets them thinking, and that’s the key thing. And it’s not just straightforward.” Conversation throughout the lesson was animated but respectful. For some students there seemed to be a sense that Karen had reaped the consequences of her actions, but even so, it appeared that they were not unaware of the ultimate tragedy of the situation. Perhaps, for some, this became a sobering lesson. There was also an interesting interlude when Robert was asked a question about some aspect of the case that he could not answer, and one of the girls at the back of the class used Google to search for the information on her smartphone. This created a powerful educational episode where the relevant knowledge was held by the students, and Robert deftly incorporated it into the conversation: Student: I Googled it. It says, every now and then she would have violent tremors so there was still brain activity. Robert: That was the whole point, there was still brain activity, and it was sufficient to keep her going. In summary Analysis of the audio transcript of the lesson highlighted Robert’s provision of sufficient background information, his reference to ethical frameworks in scaffolding students’ thinking (consequences, rights and responsiblities, virtues), and the way he encouraged students to consider first the perspectives of Karen’s parents, and then the multiple views of other stakeholders. He used a written task to scaffold the students’ literacy skills, incorporated both small group and whole-class discussion, called on individuals by name in order to foster their participation, and summarised the salient points. He also made links between the class discussion and the biological issue assessment task, highlighting New Zealand Association of Science Educators

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to students the need for them to identify and evaluate multiple perspectives, including social and economic perspectives. In terms of the nature of science, aspects that might have been considered include: while science knowledge is durable, emerging science ideas (e.g. new ways to prolong and enhance life) are subject to change; and science cannot provide answers to all questions (Rutherford & Ahlgren, 1990). While additional aspects might have been included to expand the students’ conceptual understandings about the issues they had explored, the five-lesson sequence orchestrated by Robert did help his students recognise that multiple valid views might exist about an issue. The segments presented above demonstrate how he incorporated narrative within his pedagogical repertoire – introducing external narratives (of the giant snail, and Karen Quinlan) and also encouraging students to articulate their own personal narratives. The examples of classroom dialogue also highlight the expertise that competent teachers continually call on during their interactions with students. Much of this expertise is embedded as intuition based on experience. However, it seems worthwhile trying to unpack the different aspects, in this case in relation to knowledge the teacher draws on when using narrative to support students’ thinking about socio-scientific issues. Discussion: The complexity of teacher knowledge An inspirational quote frequenting many teaching blogs on the Internet describes teaching as “a complex art of performance, intellect, innate instinct, patience, cultural awareness, and courage – perhaps one of the most complex professions around.” It highlights the huge number of variables that need to be juggled in (and out of ) the classroom in order for students’ learning to be enhanced. These variables were identified in a seminal work by Lee Shulman (1987) as seven categories that together make up the knowledge base of a competent teacher. They are presented in Table 1 alongside some examples of the specific knowledge teachers such as Robert draw on when using narrative to facilitate learning about a socio-scientific issue. The case of Karen Ann Quinlan offered Robert and his Year 13 students a suitably complex narrative to demonstrate not only the potential of modern scientific endeavours (e.g. improved ability to prolong life) but also, more importantly, the multiple perspectives that exist regarding actions based on this knowledge. The relocation of the giant snail, Powelliphanta augusta, similarly offers an engaging opportunity to consider the views of multiple stakeholders in response to a conservation issue. The 1992 movie Lorenzo’s Oil is another example of a narrative that I have seen used to enhance students’ thinking about socio-scientific issues: in this case, the trialling of alternative therapies. The story centres on the lives of the parents of Lorenzo Odone and their desperate search for a cure for their son’s disease, adrenoleukodystrophy. Along their journey they studied lipid metabolism, promoted international conferences, and tried to pass their findings on to other parents. Their insights finally led them to experiment with two

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different therapies, the combination becoming known as ‘Lorenzo’s Oil’. The disease, adrenoleukodystrophy, is an example of an X-linked, recessive disorder, and the film offers opportunities for learning about inheritance, organic chemistry (fatty acids), cell metabolism, the role of myelin in the nervous system, and even the use of models to generate scientific knowledge. Several socio-scientific questions arise that could be explored by students, for example: 1. Is it appropriate for medical researchers to take the kind of chances with their patients that the Odones took with Lorenzo? 2. What are some ethical issues that relate to the running of scientific trials to test the true effect of Lorenzo’s Oil? (HINT: think about the control group). 3. Diseases that affect a small percentage of the population do not get as much money for research as big killers like cancer and heart disease. Give examples of arguments for and against. 4. Why did the medical community resist the Odones’ treatment ideas? Give examples of arguments for and against. Of course, narratives do not need to represent true events in order to be used as vehicles for exploring socio-scientific issues. Contemporary fiction and films – My Sister’s Keeper, GATTACA, I Am Legend, Outbreak, The Constant Gardener – offer multiple opportunities for exploring societal responses to current and future issues that have a scientific underpinning. With the help of carefully-constructed teacher scaffolds, students studying any of these issues can learn to make decisions informed by their understandings of the relevant scientific concepts and their understandings of relevant other economic and social (including cultural) dimensions. This, surely, is one of the desirable outcomes of an effective education. Acknowledgements This project was part of a larger University of Waikato investigation exploring teacher use of the ethics thinking tool on the Science Learning Hub. I am grateful to Dr Kathy Saunders for her collegial support and I also sincerely thank ‘Robert’ and his Year 13 students for welcoming me into their biology class. It is with regret that the project’s ethical commitment to anonymity and confidentiality prevents Robert from being named. References De Luca, R. (2011). Using narrative for ethical thinking. In A. Jones, A. McKim, & M. Reiss (Eds.), Ethics in the science and technology classroom. A new approach to teaching and learning (pp.87-101). Rotterdam, The Netherlends: Sense. Hipkins, R. (2004). Developing an ethic of caring through narrative pedagogy. School Science Review, 86(315), 53-58. Human Genome Research Project. (2006). Choosing genes for future children. Regulating preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Dunedin, New Zealand: University of Otago. Retrieved 1 February, 2012, from http://www.otago. ac.nz/law/genome/resources/GenomeTeaser_06.pdf Long, T. (2008). June 11, 1985: Karen Quinlan dies but the issue lives on. Retrieved 1 February, 2012, from Wired: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/ news/2008/06/dayintech_0611 Ministry of Education. (2007). The New Zealand curriculum. Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media. Rutherford, J., & Ahlgren, A. (1990). Science for all Americans. New York: Oxford University. Sadler, T.D. (Ed.). (2011). Socio-scientific issues in the classroom. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. Shulman, L. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Education Review, 57(1), 1-22. Solomon, J. (2002). Science stories and science texts: What can they do for our students? Studies in Science Education, 37, 85-106.


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Research on the human brain: the challenge and excitement In this article Professor Richard Faull outlines the marvels of the human brain and takes you on his personal journey exploring the challenges and rewards of undertaking research on the diseased human brain through the establishment of a human brain bank, in partnership with the community, and the formation of the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland. This is a story of the excitement of pursuing research on the human brain; a voyage of discovery in science. It is a story about how finding things out in an unexpected, serendipitous, way is at the very core of science discovery. And about how discovery in science involves collaboration – people working together. The Human Brain I first saw the Human Brain when I was a 21 year old, third year medical student. That’s when I fell in love with the brain. It is the most marvellous and complex organ in the human body. It is responsible for who we are, and what we are. It determines our potential in life. It is the most vital, the most valuable and the most critical asset we will ever possess. Compared with animal brains, the human brain is so incredibly complex (Figure 1). The rat brain is the basic prototypic mammalian brain; it is small and has a smooth outer forebrain or cortex – I call it the ‘Model T’. By contrast, the human brain is the ‘Rolls Royce’. It has a massively enlarged and highly developed forebrain that is divided into two halves: a right hemisphere controlling the left side of the body and a left hemisphere controlling the right side of the body. Each hemisphere consists of a myriad of folds or gyri on the outside – it is tantalizingly beautiful. Marvellously, each fold has quite different and unique functions (Figure 2). The fold in the middle of the hemisphere controls the movement of muscles on the opposite side – in the most intricate and complex way the muscles of the body are represented as an upside down body map on this fold – legs at the top and face at the bottom. Just behind the motor area is the sensory area: where you consciously feel touch and pressure on the skin, the passionate kiss on the lips, the brick on your foot. You see, you feel with your brain – not your skin. Vision is located in the folds at the back of your brain – that’s where you see the pictures. The right half of the picture on the left side of the brain; and the left half of the picture on the right side of the brain. The brain puts it together in a precise overlapping way to give you 3D vision, in technicolour – that’s magic!

Other complex functions – such as memory, emotion, behaviour, personality, intelligence – are located in other widespread parts of the hemispheres in such complex ways that, scientifically, we are still trying to unravel. All of these areas of the brain work together in the most marvellous way to give us our conscious existence. When we wake up each day we take for granted we are the same person we were when we went to sleep.

Brain Cells Inside the brain all these functions are provided by the most magic cells: neurons. There are over 100 billion neurons in the human brain – more than the number of stars in the Milky Way. The neurons show great diversity in their shape, size, chemicals and functional characteristics; just like the vehicles on the road (trucks, sports cars, graders, tractors, bulldozers) – all modified to do different things. The movement area of the brain has big triangular cells with massive branches – pyramidal cells – these project all the way from the brain to the spinal cord to control movement on the opposite side of the body. The vision area comprises millions of small round, dandelion-like ‘granule’ cells; they look like sunbursts, so delicate and beautiful, they turn light rays hitting the retina into pictures in your brain. The memory area contains specialised large and small, rhomboid and pyramidal shaped cells – they are the storehouse of memory and knowledge. Amazing! Brain cells are beautiful in their diversity and their complexity. Each neuron gets inputs from at least 10,000 brain cells; some neurons receive up to 120,000 inputs! All these brain cells work together in the most complex way to give us a conscious experience that is incredible. The human brain is both scientifically and artistically beautiful. The limitation and frustration is that we try to understand the complexity of the human brain with our own human brain – we actually need a super brain to understand our brain. Brain Diseases The great tragedy is that the human brain is affected by diseases where brain cells dysfunction and die. Diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. This tragic disease affects memory, personality, behaviour and results in a deterioration of the mind: ‘dementia’, which literally means ‘without mind’. There is progressive and extensive brain cell death in those regions which control these critical functions, and then it spreads to involve other widespread regions of the brain. As the brain cells die, the gyri shrink and by death the brain loses about one third of its weight. New Zealand Association of Science Educators

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Just to give you a hint of the challenge of Alzheimer’s disease, today 41,000 New Zealanders are affected by this tragic disease; tomorrow with the ageing population the numbers will increase dramatically, trebling to over 140,000 by 2050. A recent World Alzheimer’s Report calculated that the worldwide cost of dementia exceeds 1% of the global GDP. If dementia care were a country, it would be the world’s 18th largest economy. What a huge challenge for the future! One in five New Zealanders will be affected by brain disease in their lifetime – diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, epilepsy, motor neuron disease, multiple sclerosis – the list goes on. Neurological disorders are among the top five most common causes of death and long-term disability in New Zealand. Research is critical.

Starting a career in Brain Research My passion as a young medical student was to undertake research on the brain. As a third year medical student at Otago University I undertook a year’s research on the rat brain studying the basal ganglia, the region deep in the brain affected in Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases which controls movement and mood. That year was one of the most exciting, life-changing, years of my life – finding a new pathway in the basal ganglia which was totally unexpected, publishing my first research papers, and presenting my findings at an international conference. That year was incredible – I knew that I wanted to specialise on the brain, so I completed medicine and then worked as a young doctor in neurosurgery which was really fascinating and so rewarding, but I suddenly realised how little we knew about how the human brain functions. I returned to university and started a career in brain research studying the cerebellum and basal ganglia in the rat brain for a PhD at The University of Auckland. Discovering more new unexpected pathways and connections – exciting stuff – I was hooked! I then spent three years undertaking postdoctoral research in the USA, studying with world experts on the basal ganglia. First, at the NASA Ames Research Center at San Francisco where they were researching problems involved with the basal ganglia and space travel, and then at MIT in Boston learning the very latest brain research techniques for studying pathways in the rat brain at the hands of the ‘masters’ – absolutely fascinating and absorbing research. What an incredible opportunity and a life-changing experience for a Taranaki boy from the farm! I then returned to Auckland University in 1978 to set up my very own research laboratory studying the basal ganglia in the rat brain. A new exciting research direction In 1982, something happened which further changed my life. Professor Arthur Veale, Professor of Genetics, came and talked to me about Huntington’s disease (HD). He was the NZ expert on HD and looked after all the families in NZ. He told me how HD was caused by a dominant gene that affected the basal ganglia and that those affected by the gene tragically died 15–20 years after the onset of symptoms, usually in midlife. The gene was unknown, there was no definitive gene test available at that time and there was, and still is, no New Zealand Association of Science Educators

effective treatment. The tragedy was that each child of an affected parent had a 50% chance of getting the gene and that it was often difficult to diagnose the disease because the symptoms were variable. Professor Veale asked me if I would help the families by examining the brain of their loved ones after death to determine if they had HD by looking for the characteristic pathology in the basal ganglia. This was critical for the families. So every few months, Prof Veale arrived with the most precious gift to science: the brain from an affected individual, bequeathed from a family, for us to study. In most cases – our studies unfortunately confirmed the diagnosis, but in some cases, we found that they didn’t have HD – that was fantastic news. The families made the most generous gesture you could ever imagine by asking us to retain the brain of their Mum or Dad for research to give hope to their children and ultimately find a cure. Their request was compelling and humbling. Over the following years our research on HD using these brains has been a journey of discovery showing unexpected findings which were so different from the textbooks. They showed there was diversity of degeneration in the basal ganglia in HD – the patterns of the cells dying varied markedly from one brain to another. What did this mean? We involved expert neuropsychologists and clinicians to help in the research. They talked to the families and consulted the clinical records to find out more details on the clinical history of the disease in each case. The families were so enthusiastic about being involved in our research. Our team grew: we had families, psychologists, clinicians and the research team on board. The outcome of this combined research was unexpectedly exciting. We showed that the variation in the pathology in the brain which we saw in the lab correlated with the variation in the pattern of symptoms (motor and mood) which the families saw in their Mum or Dad. These findings were novel and so important – they helped us to begin to unravel the complexities of HD in the human brain and, with our ongoing studies, our research has pushed back the frontiers of knowledge on the human brain. This had only been possible because the families had given the greatest gift to science: the brain of their loved one after death. I realised that we had established a special and unique partnership with families.

Establishment of the Human Brain Bank All of our studies emphasised that in order to understand the human brain, you must look at the human brain as well as animal brains. The human brain is the ‘Rolls Royce’ – it is of course the ultimate ‘model’ of brain disease. Over the years with growing family and community support, we extended our human brain studies to include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and motor neuron disease. In the early 1990s we realised we had unconsciously established something truly special at the University of Auckland: a human brain bank in partnership with the community. In 1993 the Human Brain Bank was formally established with the generous support of the Neurological Foundation and named ‘The Neurological Foundation of New Zealand Human Brain Bank’. Our brain bank is a special ‘boutique’ human brain bank which is quite different from any overseas’ brain banks. It is a partnership between families, doctors and our research groups. The families are so committed.


It was their drive and interest in research which was critical to establishing the brain bank; they provide vital ongoing information on the disease symptoms. The families are experts because they live with the disease 24 hours a day. One of our families said they are so proud to be part of our research “it seems like Dad lives forever”. Our collaboration with the doctors, neurologists and neurosurgeons is essential – they provide the clinical details of the cases we are studying and give us ideas for new research opportunities. Most important are our collaborations with other brain research groups in the University of Auckland, throughout New Zealand and overseas. These research groups extend the boundaries of our studies and include pharmacologists, psychologists, pathologists, geneticists, physiologists, psychiatrists and world leading overseas research groups which transforms and extends the scope of our research horizons.

Pushing back the frontiers of brain research These multidisciplinary studies on the human brain have enabled us to push back the frontiers of brain research. They have enabled us to unravel some of the mysteries of HD by showing that the pattern of brain cell death reflects the pattern of symptoms shown by the patients. These findings give us major clues on how the brain is affected by brain diseases as well as invaluable insights on how the normal brain functions. Also, by working with our team of leading pharmacologists at the University of Auckland, they have further pushed back the boundaries of our research by developing innovative human brain cell culture techniques to test new drugs and therapies for Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, Epilepsy and other brain diseases. These research studies have enabled us to make quite unexpected new findings on stem cells in the human brain. One of the most exciting findings from animal studies over the last 50 years was the discovery that stem cells are still present in the adult rat, cat and monkey brains and that they multiply to make new brain cells throughout their adult life – a process called neurogenesis. Furthermore, in the animal brain these new brain cells travel down a special motorway – the rostral migratory stream (RMS) – extending through the forebrain to provide vital new replacement brain cells for the olfactory bulb in the adult animal brain.

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Neurological Foundation Human Brain Bank Director Professor Richard Faull and Deputy Director Dr Maurice Curtis.

As a medical student I was told that the adult human brain didn’t have stem cells and it was far too complex to make new brain cells. The dogma was that once you are born, you had all the brain cells for life – that was it, and all you could look forward to was losing brain cells as you got older! However, our studies on the human brain over the last 10 years have told us something entirely different. In 2003, studies by my PhD student Maurice Curtis showed that against all dogma the adult human brain did in fact contain stem cells and that these ‘magic’ cells could make new brain cells in an attempt to replace those lost in diseases like Huntington’s disease – that was completely unexpected. Then we asked the critical question: do we have an RMS ‘motorway’ for new brain cells just like the rat brain? The overseas experts all said ‘No’, because they could never find it, and in fact they published papers stating in the title that there is no pathway for neurogenesis in the human brain. We didn’t believe them because we had seen tantalizing hints of this elusive pathway in our human brain studies. After a long challenging search over a number of years in collaborative studies with Dr Maurice Curtis and Professor Peter Eriksson’s laboratory in Goteborg (Sweden), we finally found ‘the motorway’ (the rostral migratory stream) for these new brain cells in the human brain. It is more complex than in the rat brain because of the huge development of the human forebrain. It doesn’t go directly to the olfactory bulb but doubles back on itself around the front of the basal ganglia enroute to the olfactory bulb (Figure 3). When we submitted these exciting provocative findings to the top UK science journal Nature, they were questioned and rejected out-of-hand by the editors. But we persisted, added further data and proof, and then submitted it to the other top rival US journal Science. The referees this time endorsed our finding of the RMS in the human brain and our paper was not only accepted for publication but was also featured on the front cover (Figure 4, and also on the front cover of this issue of the NZST). These overall findings showing that, just like the rat brain, the adult human brain has stem cells which can make new brain cells throughout life and has a ‘motorway’ for these new brain cells were groundbreaking. It gives us a completely new approach to fight brain disease – that’s fantastic! Furthermore, since we have shown that the human brain has a pathway for neurogenesis just like the rat brain, we can now extrapolate the findings from animal studies to the human. In this respect, it is very interesting that if you put rats into a stimulating and enhanced environment and give them lots of things to do and ‘think about’ – such as rat mazes, rat ‘jungle gyms’, running wheels etc. – they make increased numbers of new brain cells. Relating these animal findings to the human, it is tempting to speculate that just like rats, stimulation, intellectual excitement and exercise may produce more new brain cells for us. This is exciting news.

Team research is the pathway to success We could not have achieved any of this research success without the generosity of families, and without the support of our research collaborators in the university and the clinicians in the hospitals – that is team research! New Zealand Association of Science Educators

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Figure 1: Comparison of the rat, baboon and human brains, showing the enormous enlargement of the forebrain in the human.

Figure 2: The general functional characteristics of the folds (gyri) in the human brain.

Clearly, if we are going to win the ‘World Cup’ for Brain Research and develop new treatments, we need to form a Brain Research Club to bring all these partners together to promote team research. And that’s exactly what we have done at the University of Auckland. We established The Centre for Brain Research which was launched in November 2009. It consists of 3 pillars: Researchers at the University of Auckland; Clinicians in the Auckland Hospitals; and the Community. The Researchers consist of over 50 different research groups across the University (Medical and Science Faculties) who are studying brain disease: pharmacologists, physiologists, anatomists, geneticists, psychologists, biochemists, audiologists, clinical scientists and many others. The research students are the engine house, they consist of the honours, masters and PhD 14

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students. The postdoctoral research fellows are critical, they are the research leaders of tomorrow. In all, there are over 300 people involved in brain research at the University of Auckland. What a diverse club of experts! Clinicians and doctors in the hospitals are vital. They form the second pillar and comprise over 30 specialist neurologists, neurosurgeons, psychiatrists, geriatricians in the Auckland Hospitals. They not only look after patients on a daily basis, but are also involved in drug trials, are using new treatments for brain disease like deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease and developing new methods for rehabilitation. Collaborations between researchers and clinicians enable us to fast-track new treatments from the lab to the clinic, and to study the science of new treatment strategies in the lab.


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Figure 3: The rostral migratory stream ‘motorway’ for new brain cells in the human brain is shown in red against a schematic representation of the human brain.

Figure 4: A schematic three-dimensional representation of the rostral migratory streams (orange bands) for new brain cells in the human brain extending from the lateral ventricles around the front of the basal ganglia to the olfactory bulb (originally the cover page of the Science Magazine of the AAAS (315 March 2007).

Finally, the Community Partners are central to all our efforts; they form the third pillar. To reiterate from earlier in the article, families and patients with brain disease are experts because they live day in and day out with individuals suffering from neurological diseases. They provide vital clues for understanding brain disease and generously support all our research efforts. The community organisations that support the families need to know all about our research success. Organisations such as Alzheimer’s, Stroke, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Epilepsy, Motor Neuron Disease, Multiple sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy and others – they link with the people and the families affected by brain disease. We exist to give them a brighter future. Our Mission In conclusion, our mission is to work together to improve lives. To identify and develop new treatments for brain disease. Our lofty and ambitious goals are to: unlock the secrets of the brain, develop new therapies for brain disease, improve clinical care and engage with communities and people affected by brain disease. Our teams at the Centre for Brain Research are engaged. We want to make a difference, to give hope to the future for people with brain disease in New Zealand. That’s our passion. That’s the challenge and the excitement of research on the human brain. Science is all about people – He tangata. He tangata. He tangata. For further information please contact: rlm.faull@auckland.ac.nz We would like to acknowledge how privileged the NZST is to bring you this exclusive story from Professor Faull and his team. Thank you Richard – Ed. New Zealand Association of Science Educators

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kiwifruit: the perfect food During the past decade, research has focused on identifying benefits from foods, such as the kiwifruit, that go beyond the provision of traditional nutrients, as Fran Wolber, Massey University, explains: Foods provide nutrients for the body to use. But the relationship between a food’s nutrient content and its health benefits is not completely linear. For example, not all the minerals in food are absorbed or utilised by the body. This is because other food components can increase or decrease the rate of mineral absorption. New Zealand is famous worldwide for the fuzzy brown kiwifruit that is one of our country’s major exports. The traditional kiwifruit has a pleasant flavour and texture, and its brilliant green flesh and glossy black seeds make it an attractive addition to any fruit platter. For many decades, Zespri International Ltd. and the Crown Research Institute for Crop & Food (now Plant & Food) have selectively bred new strains of kiwifruit, with the most successful being the gold kiwifruit with its sweeter, smooth-textured, yellow-coloured flesh (Figure 1). Researchers at Massey University recently conducted a series of studies looking into possible health benefits associated with consuming gold kiwifruit.

Health benefits of eating gold kiwifruit The research began by looking at the effect of kiwifruit on the body’s ability to absorb iron. Iron deficiency, which can result in anaemia, is the most common micronutrient deficiency worldwide, and is particularly prevalent among children and pregnant women. Iron is a key component of haemoglobin in red blood cells, allowing them to carry oxygen around the body and to exchange it for carbon dioxide. Iron is also a structural element of myoglobin, which supplies oxygen to muscle tissue. In addition, iron plays a role in DNA synthesis and enzyme function in many cells. Adult humans need 15 – 27 milligrams of iron every day. This iron comes from our diet. The gut is lined with cells called enterocytes, which are responsible for nutrient uptake. The upper side of the cells, which comes into contact with the digested food in the intestine, is covered with a brush border of tiny microvilli (Figure 2). Inside these microvilli are transport proteins that bind dietary iron, take it inside the cell, and then transport it through the cell and into the underlying blood vessels. But the mere presence of iron in a food isn’t sufficient. The iron must also be bioavailable; that is, it must be present under conditions that allow the digestive system to remove them from the food and absorb them into the bloodstream. Many foods, including tea and coffee, make iron less bioavailable. Conversely, ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, can greatly improve the bioavailability of iron. And a serving of kiwifruit contains about one hundred milligrams of ascorbic acid – level that exceeds even that found in oranges.

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To determine whether kiwifruit could make dietary iron more bioavailable, a cell-based assay was first used. Gut enterocytes grown in culture were treated with water extracts of green or gold kiwifruit while being allowed to absorb radiolabelled iron over a four-hour period. Green kiwifruit increased iron uptake in the cells by 25%. Gold kiwifruit was even more effective, increasing iron uptake by 39%. Interestingly, the gold kiwifruit extract was able to enhance iron absorption even when the level of ascorbic acid present was negligible. The researchers carried out a similar assay using calcium instead of iron. Cultured gut enterocytes were pre-treated with green or gold kiwifruit extract for forty-eight hours, then allowed to absorb radiolabelled calcium for one hour. Interestingly, the gold kiwifruit extract increased calcium uptake in the cells by 58%, but the green kiwifruit extract had no effect. This finding suggested that kiwifruit, particularly the gold variety, may enhance the uptake of not only iron, but also other dietary minerals. However, the cell culture model was not suitable for testing all minerals. Also, changes that occur in an in vitro cell system may not be mimicked in vivo when a live animal or person is used. The researchers therefore designed a study to test whether whole kiwifruit could increase the uptake of several minerals when fed to mammals. Pigs were chosen as their digestive system is similar to that of the human.

Pigs aid study of kiwifruit benefits Young growing pigs were randomised into groups and fed a normal pig food diet that contained either one to two green or gold kiwifruit per day, or sugar that matched the level in kiwifruit, or sugar and ascorbic acid that matched the levels in kiwifruit. The pigs were fed for a period of four weeks. The piglets fed kiwifruit ate slightly more food than the control pigs, probably because the pureed green and gold kiwifruit enhanced the taste and palatability of the pig food diet. However, all pigs ate well and grew normally. The amount of food that the pigs ate was carefully measured, and the mineral content of their diet calculated. The total urine and faecal output of each pig was collected, and the mineral content of these were measured as well. By subtracting the minerals that were excreted from the minerals that were ingested, the amount of mineral absorption and retention could be calculated. In validation of the study’s hypothesis, the pigs fed green or gold kiwifruit absorbed more minerals than the pigs on the control diet containing no kiwifruit. In particular, the kiwifruit-fed pigs absorbed 43% more copper, 36% more calcium, 30% more magnesium, and 20% more phosphorus. Ascorbic acid by itself also enhanced calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus absorption in pigs, so the researchers concluded that at least some of kiwifruit’s mineral-absorption bioactivity was likely due to the kiwifruit’s ascorbic acid content.


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Photograph courtesy of Zespri.

Figure 2: Brush border of microvilli on a gut enterocyte. Image credit: P Deitiker; used with permission.

The in vitro and in vivo animal study data, taken together, suggested that kiwifruit could indeed enhance mineral absorption. This provided the justification for a human study. Kiwifruit is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin as well as ascorbic acid, and all three nutrients can enhance iron absorption. Iron deficiency is the most serious mineral deficiency globally. Therefore, it was decided to focus the human study on iron uptake.

Kiwifruit aids iron uptake in women Young women with mild iron deficiency in the greater Auckland area were given an iron-fortified breakfast cereal each day for sixteen weeks. Half the women had their cereal topped with sliced kiwifruit each day. The other half ate cereal topped with sliced banana; banana was chosen as the control as it is a popular healthy fruit and, while nutritious, it lacks the components that can enhance iron uptake: ascorbic acid, lutein, and zeanthin. Because it was not feasible to either collect the women’s urine and faecal outputs through the study or to give them radiolabelled iron, their iron status was instead measured by assessing serum ferritin, which correlates with iron stores in the body, and haemoglobin, which is known to decrease when iron is low and anaemia occurs. All the women in the study ate an iron-fortified cereal. However, the women who ate cereal with banana did not show improved iron stores in the body, even after 16 weeks. In contrast, the women who ate cereal with gold kiwifruit had a 50% improvement in serum ferritin levels, and also showed significant improvement in haemoglobin levels. The women who ate kiwifruit also had higher blood levels of ascorbic acid than the women who ate banana. Therefore, it was concluded that the increase in iron absorption caused by eating kiwifruit was likely due to the components in kiwifruit that would have made the iron in the cereal more bioavailable: ascorbic acid, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Just as the cell study led to the pig study, and the pig study to the human study, the finding that ascorbic acid was increased in the blood of women who ate kiwifruit prompted more research. Elderly people are particularly prone to getting colds and respiratory infections because the immune system weakens as people age, and suboptimal immune function can contribute to an increased risk of respiratory infection. Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, is a vitamin important for immune cell function. Other nutrients such as vitamin E, beta-carotene, and folate have also been linked to

immunity, and kiwifruit contains significant levels of these nutrients. Researchers hypothesised that eating kiwifruit might reduce the number of colds that elderly people contracted.

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Figure 1: New Zealand green and gold kiwifruit.

Kiwifruit benefits elderly A crossover study was conducted in 32 healthy adults aged 65 or older. Again, banana was chosen as the ‘control’ treatment for gold kiwifruit. Kiwifruit and banana have similar levels of energy, fat, carbohydrate, fibre, and potassium. However, unlike kiwifruit, banana is not rich in vitamin C, selenium, lutein and zeanthin, beta-carotene, vitamin E, or vitamin K. The study participants ate either four gold kiwifruit or two bananas daily for four weeks as part of their normal diet. Then, in a four-week ‘washout’ period, they ate neither fruit. After that, they ate for four weeks the fruit they didn’t have in the first part of the study, followed by another washout period. This crossover design ensured that each person was tested with both kinds of fruit in a completely randomised manner. Each study participant kept a daily record of any symptoms of an upper respiratory infection, using a standardised survey form. Blood samples were collected every four weeks. While gold kiwifruit didn’t prevent elderly people from getting upper respiratory tract infections, the participants did report that during the period they ate kiwifruit their symptoms of head congestion were less severe and didn’t last as long as when they ate banana or neither fruit. Interestingly, gold kiwifruit consumption also caused in female participants an increase in the frequency of the immunoglobulin-producing cells in the blood known as B-lymphocytes. This effect persisted even through the following washout period when the women stopped eating the kiwifruit. Banana consumption, in contrast, actually lowered B-lymphocyte numbers. B-lymphocytes are key to fighting off infection, but are known to decrease in number with aging. Improving B-lymphocyte numbers may be important in maintaining health during old age, so the 16% increase observed with kiwifruit consumption may be part of the reason why kiwifruit reduced head congestion symptoms. Further research needed Of course, this isn’t the end of the kiwifruit story. Each research study answers one question only to raise New Zealand Association of Science Educators

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several more. In the cell culture study, iron absorption was observed to increase even when the kiwifruit extract was so dilute that the ascorbic acid present was too low to be effective. How do ascorbic acid, lutein and zeaxanthin interact as they enhance in iron absorption? The in vitro cell culture and pig studies found that gold kiwifruit can increase calcium absorption. Why? How? Could kiwifruit help prevent or treat osteoporosis? The study in young women showed that iron-fortified cereal combined with kiwifruit improved iron stores, but iron-fortified cereal with banana did not. Is fortifying foods with iron ineffective unless they also contain something like kiwifruit that is proven to increase iron absorption? The elderly human study demonstrated that gold kiwifruit can increase the frequency of disease-fighting B-lymphocytes, but the effect was only significant in women, not men. Why does kiwifruit act differently on women versus men? What other secrets might New Zealand’s kiwifruit hold? How different are green and gold kiwifruit?

Additional reading Beck, K., Conlon, C.A., Kruger, R., Coad J., & Stonehouse, W. (2011). Gold kiwifruit consumed with an iron-fortified breakfast cereal meal improves iron status in women with low iron stores: a 16-week randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Nutrition, 105, 101-109. Hunter, D.C., Skinner, M.A., Wolber, F.M., Booth, C.L., Loh, J.M., Wohlers, M., Stevenson, L.M., & Kruger M.C. (2011). Consumption of gold kiwifruit reduces severity and duration of selected upper respiratory tract infection symptoms and increases plasma vitamin C concentration in healthy older adults. British Journal of Nutrition, 105, 101-109.

book review Discussions in Science: Promoting Conceptual Understanding in the Middle School Years Author: Tim Sprod Publisher: ACER Press 2011 ISBN: 9781742860343 Reviewed by: Ally Bull, NZCER This book is written for middle school teachers and fills an important niche in the market. In the first section it provides a very succinct overview of the challenges of providing relevant and engaging science education in the 21st century. Tim Sprod argues that developing ‘communities of inquiry’ in classrooms is a powerful method for increasing student engagement, thinking and motivation in science. He gives just enough theoretical background for thinking teachers to be able to use their professional judgment and experience to adapt and modify the suggested activities that are outlined in the second (and main) part of the book. This book could be a very useful resource for New Zealand teachers as they try and work out what science programmes that reflect the intent of the New Zealand Curriculum document might look like in their classrooms. It is much more than the usual ‘recipe’ approach that is commonly seen in books aimed at teachers. This book provides a bridge between theory and practice; this is where I think the book excels.

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The research continues…but for now, we do know that kiwifruit is more than just a fruit. It’s also a good source of vitamins and minerals and increases mineral absorption. Gold kiwifruit helps treat mild anaemia in women, and helps elderly people fight off respiratory infections. It’s pretty much the perfect food. For further information contact: F.M.Wolber@massey.ac.nz

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The second section of the book consists of a number of ‘stories’ that are designed to be read aloud by the students to stimulate discussion. The stories are accompanied by discussion guides that aim to help teachers structure these discussions in useful ways. There are also brief outlines of the science involved and also ideas about the nature of science, and suggested activities. I found the teacher support material useful, but the stories themselves – although providing concrete examples – seemed somewhat contrived and did not engage my interest. I could not imagine myself in the story, and found it difficult to engage with the characters. In the notes accompanying one of the stories, Tim Sprod writes that he got his inspiration for the story from Fredric Brown’s, The Weapon (2001). Sprod tells the reader this story is available online and might be a better one to read to the class. When I looked up The Weapon I had to agree that this story did indeed have the power to engage the reader in a way that the stories in Sprod’s book don’t. For me, this highlighted the difficulty in writing stories for a particular purpose (for example, promoting discussions about the Nature of Science) without losing the story’s power to engage at an emotional level. Despite this criticism, the stories do illustrate ideas for teachers and provide a useful starting point. I will certainly draw on ideas from his book when working with teachers.


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There is a huge effort being made by many people to cut down the use of hydrocarbon fuel to transport us around the planet. Part of this is to conserve our dwindling fuel stocks and part to reduce our heating of the planet’s atmosphere. There are many possible ways to reduce our car’s fuel use (or reduce its CO2 emission): we can increase the efficiency of its internal combustion engine (ICE); or replace it with an engine that does not rely on fuel (an electric motor). The trouble with using an electric motor is that the electricity must be generated somehow. Often, it is done using combustion in a power plant that may be even less efficient or more polluting than the original car engine. Also, the electricity must be stored somehow in the car, and the battery to do this is large and either expensive (lithium-ion or nickel metal hydride), or heavy (lead-acid).

Cut that idle! Governments worldwide are pushing carmakers to reduce the fuel use and CO2 emitted by their cars. They are being told to meet reduction targets within a few years or face heavy fines. The carmakers accept that the present small sales of fully electric vehicles (EV) cannot solve the large reductions required, nor can they see a significant impact from them within several decades. Improvement of the internal combustion engine is now within reach. One of the cheapest ways to do this is to stop the engine when no drive is needed. This scheme stops the ignition –rather than idle the engine – and then starts it again when the driver presses the accelerator. This scheme is known as ‘stop-start’. The potential savings on fuel for average city driving is around 15%, requiring a modified generator and a relatively small battery of around the same size as that of the standard car. All major carmakers in Europe now have stop-start in most of their models, and Figure 1 shows a recent industry prediction of an almost complete conversion of new cars to stop-start by 2020. No existing battery does the job An ordinary lead-acid battery is not suitable for stop-start because of the many stops and so the time for recharging the battery is reduced. If the battery charge becomes so low that the engine may not start, the electronic control no longer allows the stops to occur. Thus to keep the stop-start function, the battery must be able to store electricity quickly while the engine is running. This ability is called ‘dynamic charge acceptance’ (DCA). This DCA current for most cars needs to be around 100 A for a continuous stop-start regime. In practice the best ‘advanced’ Pb-acid batteries currently in the market can achieve this charging current when new, but after several months the maximum

charging current decays to about 20 A or less. The red curve in Figure 2 shows this decay of charging ability with use (1000 cycles = 1 month of use). Thus the fuel saving decays from the ideal 15% to about 3%. The carmakers can thus claim fuel saving of only around 3%.

Carbon added to lead The poor performance of the lead-acid battery in stop-start cycling is known to be caused by the negative electrodes. The lead sulphate particles that form during discharge begin to grow in size with extended cycling with fewer of them in the electrodes, to the extent that the electrode loses much of the high surface area that it started with from manufacture. In order to charge the battery, this lead sulphate must dissolve to form ions that can form lead metal, and the ability to do this is reduced because of the lower surface area. Several groups have used carbon in various ways to help with this problem of low electrochemical (‘Faradaic’) charging. Some even avoid the problem by substituting a porous carbon with high pore area that charges up like a capacitor (‘supercapacitor charging’). However, while there is some improvement with the use of carbon, currently available negatives either do not meet the charging rate requirement or cannot store enough charge. A fast transformation of carbon fabric Some readers will have read about our discovery of carbon nanotubes in the 1970s in the electric arc at Canterbury University (1). Also, you may have read of our subsequent development (starting in 2000) of the arc chamber into a continuously producing arc reactor depositing carbon nanotubes onto carbon fabric. We realised later (2009) that this reactor was ideal for rapidly improving the electrical properties of carbon (by heating it to 3500°C for several seconds) and could do it more cheaply than using other options. The arc process could also give sufficient pore surface within the fibres for these to be useful as a supercapacitor. A photograph of our reactor is given in Figure 3. This reactor and its product are the basis for several patents and patent applications. The treated fabric from the reactor appeared to be suitable as a scaffold to build electrodes around, especially for batteries. Much better battery lifetime By loading up the fabric with lead-containing particles (inserting these particles in the gaps between fibres) we could make a robust lightweight electrode. Experiments showed that using it as a negative electrode in a lead-acid battery cell we could obtain over a long cycle lifetime the equivalent of 100 A charge acceptance (see Figure 2). Our negatives showed the customary decay during stop-start testing only after the equivalent of several years of use. While accepting the required charging current, their lifetime was an order of magnitude better than that of batteries currently being used. Of course, New Zealand Association of Science Educators

science&storytelling:leanmeanvehicles

A world first and a great NZ science story: cutting fuel use in cars by using specially treated carbon fabric in batteries. John Abrahamson from ArcActive Ltd, explains: Greener cars

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Figure 1: Projected new vehicle demand for Europe, North America and China combined, with conventional (grey) disappearing in 10 years, being almost replaced by stop-start (yellow) Electric vehicles (blue) and hybrid (green) are still making up ground (Johnson Controls, 2011).

Figure 2: Ability of battery cells to accept charge over their life. Red: Conventional high quality lead-acid cell with lifetime 4000 cycles (4 months). Blue: ArcActive lead-acid cell with lifetime greater than 24 months. this performance was not obtained at the start of our work, and required a lot of effort. We had to up-skill in all kinds of areas that were new to us. The high performance appears to be the result of a combination of Faradaic and supercapacitor behaviour in the same electrode. Other performance tests were also important and also passed. One of these required that the electrode could deliver a high discharge current so that a car engine could be turned over on a cold morning.

Recognition for a startup It appears that we have the critical component for a lead-acid battery to perform well in stop-start. With this comes a large business opportunity for New Zealand. The sensible management of this opportunity requires some seasoned hands, and it is fortunate that these were available even before the battery application was thought of. A recent international award of a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Researchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; prize to our startup company ArcActive at a Green Tech fundersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; meeting in Monaco (2) was a good indication that we are moving along adequately for the task ahead. Also, our talks with our ultimate customers (the carmakers, in Europe especially) have shown us their enthusiasm and also given us early information to make sure we are on the right track towards meeting their needs. 20

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Figure 3: First single-arc version of arc reactor for high temperature treatment of carbon fabric.


Figure 4: Carbon fabric exiting from the arc reactor. The strong light is from the arc.

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1. Abrahamson, J. (2009). Who discovered carbon nanotubes. NZ Science Teacher, no. 120, 4-6. 2. Canterbury researchers win green car prize/Breaking and daily news, sport and weather/TV ONE, TV2. 6 April, 2012.

Editors: Paul Moughan and Paula McCool Publisher: Random House, New Zealand Ltd. 2011 ISBN 978-1-927158-081 Reviewed by Steve Flint, Massey University I cannot think of another book that celebrates New Zealand’s achievements in science as well as this publication. New Zealand has some enviable developments in food and agribusiness that were largely borne out of necessity through the challenges of providing commodity products to the world markets. Many of these are summarised in this book which is co-authored by some famous names in New Zealand science. Innovations covered span agriculture and horticulture through to digestion, animal health and food processing – many representing step changes in science that have boosted New Zealand’s economy and reputation as a leading agrifood nation. This book is a

good record of innovations that have shaped the agrifood industry in New Zealand. It provides examples of novel developments and a peek at the future challenges for our future scientists. I would like to think that teachers and students would find some of the content in this book inspirational – after all, we need to inspire young minds to explore careers in science. Some of the topics such as the development of new apple cultivars, spreadable butter and innovations in wool will have wide appeal. Other topics, such as ion exchange, bacteriophage and novel milk proteins are more obscure, but will stretch the minds of the more capable students. It is unfortunate that most of the authors and scientists referred to in this book are senior scientists. Students may be more inspired from younger role models. However, this shows that highly successful careers have been made in New Zealand science. Students may seek inspiration from the fact that they could well be the successors for these celebrated scientists.

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Now the hard work begins! Our business model is to partner with a large battery maker who currently supplies the carmakers with conventional lead-acid batteries. We will supply our partner(s) with our negative electrodes for insertion into their batteries. What we have done so far is to build and demonstrate in the laboratory a prototype electrode that potential partners can test. This testing has begun with acceptable results. However, there is still a transition to be made to rapid manufacture of electrodes of a size suitable for a car battery, with all the controls on reliability and reproducibility that industry needs. Design and build a production line Here is where the engineer, manager, accountant, scientist and lawyer all pitch in to make a viable recipe, a blueprint method of making the required electrodes cheaply with close tolerances and with good return on the money invested by shareholders. This task is planned in two steps by a talented small team. The first year will result in a demonstration pilot scale plant suitable for providing batteries for testing by carmakers. In the year following we expect to step up to full production scale. Then hopefully financial conditions will be right for the start of a new industry in New Zealand. For further information contact: john.abrahamson@canterbury.ac.nz References

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nematodes: the unseen multitude Nematodes have a lot to teach us about basic ecological processes occurring in the deep sea, and may even help us better manage its resources, as Daniel Leduc, NIWA, explains: Introduction He had taken a dreary road, darkened by all the gloomiest trees of the forest, which barely stood aside to let the narrow path creep through, and closed immediately behind. It was all as lonely as could be; and there is this peculiarity in such a solitude, that the traveller knows not who may be concealed by the innumerable trunks and the thick boughs overhead; so that, with lonely footsteps, he may yet be passing through an unseen multitude. (Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Young Goodman Brown") Few of us are aware of the existence of nematodes (also known as roundworms) because most are only barely visible to the naked eye. Some parasitic species however, can be relatively large (centimetres to even metres long), and records of the diseases they cause in humans go back to ca. 1500 B.C. (Chitwood and Chitwood, 1977). Not surprisingly, nematodes are generally associated with the debilitating (and, frankly, quite unsightly) diseases the parasitic forms cause in humans, livestock, and crops. They cause substantial losses in agricultural productivity throughout the world, and an entire industry is devoted to eradicating them. But there is a lot more to nematodes than just parasites. Thousands of non-parasitic (i.e. free-living) species are found in just about all conceivable habitats – all they need is a moist substrate. Nematodes are found primarily in soils, freshwater sediments (e.g. lakes, rivers, ponds), and marine sediments (e.g. beach, estuaries, the sea floor). Nematodes are also found in more extreme or unusual habitats such as Antarctic sea ice, hydrothermal vents, deep oceanic trenches, hot springs, the deep subsurface biosphere (>1km underground), and even beer mats (Kriger et al. 1977, Borgonie et al. 2011)! a)

Nematodes are not only found just about everywhere – they are also incredibly abundant. So abundant, in fact, that they are thought to be the most abundant animal on the planet (with an estimated 1022 or 10 000 billion billion living individuals) (Hodda, 2007). As the famous nematologist Nathan Cobb once wrote: … if all the matter in the universe except the nematodes were swept away, our world would still be dimly recognizable, and if, as disembodied spirits, we could theninvestigate it, we should find its mountains, hills, vales, rivers, lakes, and oceans represented by a film of nematodes. The location of towns would be decipherable, since for every massing of human beings there would be a corresponding massing of certain nematodes. Trees would still stand in ghostly rows representing our streets and highways. The location of the various plants and animals would still be decipherable, and, had we sufficient knowledge, in many cases even their species could be determined by an examination of their erstwhile nematode parasites.

Why study free-living nematodes? When I tell people about my research on nematodes, the first thing they usually ask me is: “What are they for?” or, “What do they do?” What they are really asking me is, “Why should I care?” This is a fair question. The animals we know usually have an obvious function in their ecosystem; even earthworms, despite their lack of aesthetic appeal, are known to have a beneficial influence on soil health and plant productivity. Insects are not exactly popular either, but most of us are aware that they are an important part of the food web that includes more charismatic animals such as birds. So what about quasi-microscopic worms in the ground beneath our feet or at the bottom of the ocean – what can they possibly do that would make them interesting or useful to us? I usually begin by telling people how incredibly diverse nematodes are. Take a well-defined marine environment, such as a harbour. Faunal surveys in this harbour may reveal the existence of, say, 200 species of macroscopic b)

Figure 1: (a) Greeffiella is a particularly short and hairy nematode genus common in deep-sea sediments. This male specimen is about a quarter of a millimetre long. (b) Another common deep-sea nematode genus, Metadasynemella. The outer skin (or cuticle) of this genus is made up of dozens of small interlocking plates ornamented with ridges. The male reproductive apparatus (spicules) can be seen as dark, curved structures near the middle of the picture, not far from the tail end of the animal. Both specimens were collected from Chatham Rise, a submarine ridge off the east coast of the South Island, at 400m water depth. 22

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source that they are used as food in fish aquaculture (Schlechtriem et al., 2004). Perhaps the most pervasive and ecologically significant role that nematodes play may be related to their ability to secrete vast amounts of mucus. As Riemann and Helmke (2002) noted: “…there appears to be no square centimetre of marine soft bottoms, world-wide, that is not affected by the nematodes’ mucus secretions”. Nematodes in cultures have been observed to leave mucus trails as they travel from one end of a petri dish to the other, and these trails are rapidly colonised by bacteria. Nematodes frequently re-visit these trails and consume the newly grown bacteria. Other nematodes stay in one place and create agglutinations out of detrital particles and mucus. These ‘mucus balls’ provide an ideal substrate for the growth of bacteria, which are in turn consumed by the nematode. Nematodes also promote the growth of bacteria in their surroundings by releasing enzymes that, in concert with the bacteria’s own enzymes, break down refractory organic molecules (Riemann and Helmke 2002). Other nematodes go one step further and allow bacteria to grow all over their bodies, which gives them a ‘furry’ appearance. These nematodes travel up and down the sediments in order to ensure adequate supply of nutrients to the bacteria (Ott et al. 1991). In the most extreme cases, species have even lost their mouth and obtain nourishment from bacteria growing inside their bodies (Giere et al. 1995). It could therefore be said that nematodes actively ‘garden’ bacteria (using various methods) as a way to obtain necessary nutrients from their environment. This incessant gardening occurring in aquatic sediments is likely to have major influence on important ecosystem processes such as decomposition and nutrient cycling. Quantifying the influence of nematodes on such processes, however, remains a major challenge and constitutes an exciting area of research.

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(i.e. easily seen with the naked eye) invertebrate species. This number, however, could double if nematodes are included in the survey. The point is, nematodes are often as diverse, if not more so, than all other invertebrate animals in a given area of aquatic sediments put together. We need to include nematodes if we are to fully appreciate the biodiversity of our marine and terrestrial environments. And isn’t diversity the spice of life? Nematodes come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. Some are very long and thin and simply resemble a hair until viewed at very high magnification (incidentally, the word nematode derives from the Greek ‘nema’, meaning thread). Others are short (the shortest being about a fifth of a millimetre long) and stout and are more or less wedge-shaped (Figure 1). Many marine species have elaborate ornamentation on their outer skin (cuticle) in the form of spines, plates, ridges, hairs, rings, or annulations (Figures 2 and 3). Because nematodes are essentially colourless, it is possible to view all their internal organs without damaging specimens. The result is a mind-boggling variety of morphologies, with seemingly endless variation on the simple worm theme. About 27 000 nematode species have been formally described so far (about 10 000 of which are free-living), but this represents only a small fraction of the estimated total (perhaps half a million to a million species) (Hugot et al. 2001). Describing the remaining species is likely to take a long time because of the sheer number of undescribed species and the small number of experts currently working on this group: hundreds of years at the current average rate of roughly one new species a day! The upside is that finding new species is pretty easy: a handful of sand from your local beach is likely to contain at least one species new to science. There is more to nematodes than their looks. As I alluded to before, nematodes are very abundant. One square metre of coastal sea floor, for example, contains about 1 million nematodes. In some environments (such as in some estuaries), nematodes are so abundant that their combined biomass exceeds that of the larger invertebrates. Nematodes need to be considered, therefore, if we are to understand fundamental aspects of the ecology of such systems, such as the flow of energy from primary producers to the higher trophic levels (food webs). It should also be kept in mind that small animals consume a lot more energy per unit of mass than larger animals (metabolic rates, for example, being 20 times faster in mice than in elephants). This means that nematodes consume disproportionately high amounts of food (often as much as twice their body weight every day) compared to the larger animals (Heip et al., 1985). Nematodes certainly have a large appetite despite their small size. Nematodes are also food for larger animals, although much more research needs to be conducted to better appreciate their importance. Some commercially important species of fish, for example, have specially modified gill rakers that allow them to ‘filter out’ small animals such as nematodes from the sediments (Spieth et al., 2011). Nematodes represent a high-quality food source for larger animals because of their high content in essential fatty acids (i.e. fatty acids that are essential for metabolism but which need to be obtained from the diet). Nematodes are highly unusual among animals in their ability to biosynthesize these essential fatty acids from scratch. Nematodes are such a great food

Marine nematodes in New Zealand Nematodes are probably the most understudied animal taxon in New Zealand. A recent review of New Zealand’s biodiversity shows that a total of 708 parasitic and free-living nematode species have been described/ reported so far (Yeates 2010). Ninety-nine of these species, most of them described in the first half of last century, are marine and free-living (Leduc and Gwyther 2008). This number is very low compared to better-studied regions, such as the British Isles, where over 450 (mainly shallow-water) species have been reported (Warwick et al. 1998), and even not so well-studied regions such as the coast of Brazil where 230 species are known (Venekey et al. 2010). The reason for this discrepancy is obvious: almost no one has bothered to look. New Zealand’s marine nematode diversity, however, is likely to be high, if only because of the huge size of our marine territory (4 300 000km2), and the wide range of habitats and environmental conditions it encompasses. Of New Zealand’s marine habitats, the deep sea (>200m water depth) is by far the largest and least studied; only two nematode species’ records have been made within the New Zealand region, based on material collected during the Galathea expedition in 1951 (Wieser 1956). Nematode diversity in the deep sea, however, is usually incredibly high, with a handful of deep-sea mud often yielding over 100 species (Figure 4). The distribution New Zealand Association of Science Educators

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Figure 2: A specimen of the genus Desmodorella from Chatham Rise, New Zealand (400m water depth). This female has a conspicuously swollen posterior region due to the presence of eggs, one of which can be seen near the middle of the picture. Inset: Closeup view of the head of Desmodorella. The spiral structure is the amphid, a sense organ thought to be involved in chemoreception. The cuticle in this genus is characterised by thick annulations, as seen below the amphid. and ecology of deep-sea nematodes in this region is only beginning to be investigated, but analyses of sample collections from Chatham Rise and Challenger Plateau (250–3000m water depth) suggest that over 1200 species populate these areas (Leduc et al. in press a). A substantial proportion (up to 80%) of these species is likely to be new to science, which means that several hundred species remain to be described. Several deep-sea habitats, such as abyssal plains, hydrothermal vents, seeps, seamounts, and trenches, have not yet been sampled, and are likely to yield yet more species. Who said there is nothing left to explore? The study of deep-sea nematodes may at first seem like a rather esoteric pursuit: what could be more alien from our day-to-day experience? This field of research however, is far from trivial from an ecological standpoint: it is the study of the commonest animals living in the largest ecosystem on Earth. Nematodes have a lot to teach us about basic ecological processes occurring in the deep sea, and may even help us better manage its resources. Recent investigations on deep-sea nematodes, for example, suggest that the sediment grain size (e.g. mud vs. sands), as well as the amount of food reaching the deep sea floor, are important factors influencing the diversity and structure of animal communities (Leduc et al. in press a, b). This may explain the relatively high levels of heterogeneity in animal community structure we have observed within New Zealand’s seemingly homogeneous expanses of deep-sea sediments. Such heterogeneity will need to be better understood as spatial management plans are made to ensure the protection of representative areas of the deep seabed. This is a particularly important matter as interest in New Zealand’s deep-sea hydrocarbon and

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Figure 3: (a) A specimen of the genus Desmoscolex from Chatham Rise, New Zealand (400m water depth). Species of this genus are characterised by conspicuous rings (or desmen) surrounding the body. These rings are made up of sediment particles glued together by the nematodes’ secretions, and may provide protection against predation. Protists (single-celled organisms) in the shape of water drops are seen attached near the tail end of the animal (upper left corner). These sedentary protists may benefit from the nematodes’ movements through the sediments bringing new food particles. (b) Close-up view of the head of Desmoscolex, showing detail of the head and body rings. mineral resources increases, and as greater pressure is put on ecosystems that were considered out of reach, that is until recently. How can we protect ecosystems we know little about? For further information contact: Daniel.Leduc@niwa.co.nz

Acknowledgments Funding was provided by FRST through a postdoctoral fellowship to D. Leduc (UOOX0909), by the University of Otago (Department of Marine Science), and the programmes "Consequences of Earth-Ocean Change" (C01X0702), "Coasts & Oceans OBI" (C01X0501), and "Impact of resource use on vulnerable deep-sea communities” (CO1X0906). Suggestions by Dennis Gordon helped improve on an early draft of the manuscript. References Borgonie, G., Garcia-Moyano, A., Litthauer, D., Bert, W., Bester, A., van Heerden, E., Moller, C., Erasmus, M., & Onstott, T.C. (2011). Nematoda from the terrestrial deep subsurface of South Africa. Nature, 474, 79-82. Chitwood, B.G., & Chitwood, M.B. (1977). Introduction to Nematology (2nd edn). University Park Press, Baltimore. Cobb, N.A. (1914). Nematodes and their relationships. Yearbook United States Department Agriculture, 457-490.


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Riemann, F., & Helmke, E. (2002). Symbiotic relations of sediment-aggutinating nematodes and bacteria in detrital habitats: the enzyme-sharing concept. P.S. Z. N.: Marine Ecology, 23, 93-113. Schlechtriem, C., Ricci, M., Focke, U., & Becker K. (2004). The suitability of the freeliving nematode Panagrellus redivivus as live food for first-feeding fish larvae. Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 20, 161-168. Spieth, H.R., Moller, T., Ptatscheck, C., Kazemi-Dinan, A., & Transpurger, W. (2011). Meiobenthos provides a food resource for young cyprinids. Journal of Fish Biology, 78, 138-149. Venekey, V., Fonseca-Genevois, V.G., & Santos P.J.P. (2010). Biodiversity of free-living marine nematodes on the coast of Brazil: a review. Zootaxa, 2568, 39-66. Warwick, R.M., Platt, H.M., & Somerfield, P.J. (1998). Free-living marine nematodes Part III: Monhysterids. Synopses of the British Fauna No. 53. Barnes, R.S.K., and Crothers, J.H. (eds). Field Studies Council, Shrewsbury. Wieser, W. (1956). Some free-living marine nematodes. Galathea II Report, 2, 243–253. Yeates, G. (2010). Phylum Nematoda: roundworms, eelworms. In D. P. Gordon (Ed), New Zealand Inventory of Biodiversity Volume 2, Kingdom Animalia, Chaetognatha, Ecdysozoa, Ichnofossils (pp. 480-493). Canterbury University Press, Christchurch.

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Team selected for 2012 IBO Written by Heather Meikle

The NZ team for the 2012 International Biology Olympiad to be held in Singapore in July is: Richard Chou (Maclean’s College), Eddie McTaggart (Nelson College), Evelyn Qian (Diocesan School for Girls) and SuMin Yoon (Sacred Heart Girls’ College). The selection process took 8 months of hard work, with 21 students attending the practical training camps held at the

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Giere, O., Windoffer, R., & Southward, E. C. (1995). The bacterial endosymbiosis of the gutless nematode, Astomonema sothwardorum: ultrastructural aspect. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 75, 153-164. Heip, C., Vincx, M., & Vranken, G. (1985). The ecology of marine nematodes. Oceanography and Marine Biology: an Annual Review, 23, 399-489. Hodda, M. (2007) Phylum Nematoda. Zootaxa, 1668, 265-293. Hugot, J.P., Baujard, P., & Morand, S. (2001). Biodiversity in helminths and nematodes as a field of study: an overview. Nematology, 3, 199-208. Kriger, F., Burke, D., &Samoiloff, M.R. (1977). Induction of the alcohol-metabolizing pathway in the nematode Panagrellus redivivus: phenotypic effects. Biochemical Genetics, 15, 1181-1191. Leduc, D., & Gwyther, J. (2008). Description of new species of Setosabatieria and Desmolaimus (Nematoda: Monhysterida) and a checklist of New Zealand free-living marine nematode species. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 42, 339-362. Leduc, D., Rowden, A.A., Bowden, D.A., Nodder, S.D., Probert, P.K., Pilditch, C.A., Duineveld, G.C.A., & Witbaard, R. (in press, a). Nematode beta diversity on the continental slope of New Zealand: spatial patterns and environmental drivers. Marine Ecology Progress Series. Leduc, D., Rowden, A.A., Bowden, D.A., Probert, P.K., Pilditch, C.A., & Nodder, S.D. (in press, b). A unimodal relationship between biomass and species richness of deep-sea nematodes: implications for the link between productivity and diversity. Marine Ecology Progress Series. Ott, J.A., Novak, R., Schiemer, F., Hentschel, U., Nebelsick, M., & Potz, M. (1991). Tackling the sulphide gradient: a novel strategy involving marine nematodes and chemoautotrophic ectosymbionts. P. S. N. Z.: Marine Ecology, 12, 261-279.

Figure 4: Studying animals that live in the deep sea floor requires obtaining undisturbed cores of sediments. Sediment from several kilometres below the surface can be obtained using a multicorer (upper panel) deployed from a research vessel. A single core (bottom panel) with seemingly bare and lifeless sediments can often yield thousands of nematodes belonging to over 100 species. Most of these species will likely be new to science!

University of Waikato and Massey University (Albany) where they honed their practical skills in lab sessions normally undertaken by first- and second-year university students. “I would have no hesitation in offering the students who’ve attended the training camp direct entry to our second-year biology papers,” says Waikato’s Dr Alison Campbell. However, these students are not the only ones to benefit from the programme: all those who enter the online tutorial programme (hosted by the University of Waikato and featuring Pearson Education’s Mastering Biology tutorials) gain not only substantial knowledge in biology, but also enhanced skills in critical thinking and data analysis which will stand them in good stead for their future careers. In 2014 New Zealand will be hosting the 25th International Biology Olympiad: the world’s top biology educators and secondary school biology students will converge on the University of Waikato for a week of intense academic effort. New Zealand Association of Science Educators

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a model for making NoS more explicit Carrying out school science investigations ‘like a scientist’: a model for making NoS more explicit, written by Rosemary Hipkins, NZCER. “Learn about science as a knowledge system: the features of scientific knowledge and the processes by which it is developed; and learn about the ways in which the work of scientists interacts with society”. (Achievement aim for the Understanding about science sub-strand of the Nature of Science in NZC). This paper presents one possibility for thinking about the ‘something more’ that key competencies could add to the “Understanding about Science” sub-strand of the curriculum, in particular as it intersects with the “Investigating in Science” sub-strand. It explains one simple but powerful way to help students learn something about the nature of science (NoS) that they can then “take away” as an outcome that has demonstrably strengthened their key competencies, and that teachers can manageably document as evidence of learning. The basic idea is that students gain some powerful insights into science as “a way of explaining the world” (the words of this sub-strand at Levels 3 and 4) when they take an active part in investigations that are structured to model – so far as this is realistically possiblei – the types of activities that working scientists actually do. David Perkins would call this learning to play a junior version of the whole game of science (Perkins, 2009). The idea described in this paper comes from an important synthesis made by two American science educators (Ford & Forman, 2006). These researchers put together existing insights from science education and another research field called science studies. Science studies’ researchers are social scientists (mainly sociologists and anthropologists) who study what scientists actually do, not what they say they do (which is more likely to be studied by philosophers). From their synthesis, Ford and Forman identified two main roles that every scientist plays as they work to build new knowledge, which is science’s main purpose in the world. These roles are: Role 1: Constructor of claims [about the natural and physical world]; Role 2: Critiquer of claims [made by other scientists]. They then described how teachers could reshape simple investigations so that students also experience these roles and the dynamic relationship that exists between them.

Two roles for being a scientist Science aims to create new knowledge about the natural and physical worlds, and to do so in ways that are convincing and carry authority. That is the very essence of its nature as a discipline. Scientists need to convince their peers in the first instance, and then others, that their new ideas should be adopted to either improve or replace what has gone before. They cannot do this just by the force of their personality or by cheating in some way. Some might try, but they ultimately get found out i

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There is a very large literature that critiques the notion that students can be scientists, when clearly they cannot bring deep knowledge and skills to an investigation in the same way that scientists do (see for example Chinn & Malhotra, 2002).

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because there are ‘rules of the game’ that they need to follow if they hope to have their work elevated to the status of new knowledge. These rules will obviously be different in their specifics depending on the field of science involved (methods are different for a start) but Ford and Forman suggest that they can be reduced to the two main areas of activity named above: constructor of claims, and critiquer of claims. You cannot claim to be a scientist unless you can do both successfully and in combination.

The dynamic relationship Scientists work to make nature ‘speak’ in ways that they can then document. Simplifying situations to get rid of distracting complexities, manipulating the aspect of interest and then measuringii and describing what happens are at the heart of the constructor role. Students are typically introduced to this part of investigating through experiences such as fair testing, perhaps later expanding this to learn about sampling techniques and so on. But this is only part of the real game of science as a knowledge-creating endeavour. New science claims won’t survive long unless they are convincing to a scientist’s peers. Other scientists who work in the same discipline area are in a position to be the most critical of audiences because they have the strongest inside knowledge. Critically probing the accounts of others for any flaws is at the heart of the critiquer role. To ensure their claims will stand up to critique from their peers, scientists have to do several very important things. In the constructor role they must show how their ideas relate to what is already known in their field. Whether they accept or reject existing science theories of relevance to their work, they will not be taken seriously if they do not relate these theories to their argument. They also need to show how current theories relate to the ways they have manipulated the world to build their claim. This may sound obvious but it can be very challenging, especially when the aim is to get a theory replaced with a new oneiii. If we want students to be able to claim that they are investigating like a scientist, then we need to find ways to help them play a junior version of this aspect of the whole game. Unless they do, they might come away from their investigation experiences with the mistaken belief that a seemingly convincing demonstration is, in and of itself, sufficient to confer scientific authority.iv ii

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The measuring tools and techniques used by its scientists are one of the distinguishing features of a disciplinary field. To convince their peers, scientists need to skillfully use communally validated methods, or to successfully explain why they have not done so. Thomas Kuhn called this a paradigm shift. A new science theory can change the way scientists, and then others, see and think about the world. For example the theory of plate tectonics, which was developed in the middle of the 20th century, completely changed the way seismic events are understood. In turn, this opened up new ways of investigating questions in geology as scientists began to pay attention to different sorts of evidence and to develop new methods and technologies for their field. Now we take plate tectonics for granted. It has authority and status as theoretical knowledge, but that wasn’t the case when it was being hotly debated as “science in the making”. Paradoxically, the need to convince peers, who are likely to continue thinking with already familiar theories and ideas, is the aspect of doing science that makes paradigm shifts so hard to achieve. Scientism is the term used to describe deliberate instances of this. It is rife in advertising, for example when a claim is given superficial trappings of scientific sampling and testing (one in ten found that; clinically proven to; etc.)


Evidence of strengthening competencies Ford and Forman note that assessment poses big challenges for more participatory views of learning. You can do the sort of participation described above, but you cannot take it away with you. By contrast assessment typically looks for evidence of what has been acquired, i.e. what you can take away. The model of dual-role investigations introduced in this paper addresses the assessment challenge by suggesting practical and specific possibilities for what might be documented as evidence of competency development. As they participate in mindfully carrying out and presenting their own investigations and/or explanations, and contribute thoughtfully and carefully to the critique of others’ investigations and/or explanations, students can show evidence that they are taking away dispositions and skills that matter for being a scientist. For example, v

Teachers do need to keep in mind the differences between “junior versions” and the complexity of the real work that scientists do: their deep knowledge of their field (relevant theory, most important questions, who else has expertise, where best to publish etc.); their inquiry skills (not to be under-estimated when these involve complex techniques and equipment); their vested interests in the success of their work (their values and what matters to them, their career status, rewards etc.); and so on. Although students are unlikely to ever approach the full contextual and conceptual complexity of scientists’ work, we should nevertheless expect that student inquiries will also become more complex as they develop their knowledge and skills. The nature of such changes could be a fruitful focus of reflection, especially for older students who might be considering a career in science. This is one specific way in which science teachers could contribute to the development of the careers’ competencies that have recently been published for use in secondary schools.

a resource that the NZCER science team recently produced to help “unpack” the NoS strand of the curriculum provides some explicit suggestions of things that teachers could look for when students critique the ideas that others put forward (Bull, Joyce, Spiller, & Hipkins, 2010).

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Critiquing others’ explanations Do students ask questions for clarification? Are these directed at the person who proposed the idea? Are these questions about specific statements? Do students build on each other’s ideas? Do they make alternative suggestions? Do they ask why a student thinks something? Do they ask for evidence? Do they look for gaps in the explanations of others? For other suggestions, see the NoS Kick Start, in particular page 4. (Bull et al., 2010) The next section of the paper draws on a recently posted Assessment Resource Bank (ARB) item (LW0652) developed at the intersection of Year 7–8 statistics and science to illustrate what tasks in this inter-disciplinary space could look. The investigation ideas have been taken from the responses of actual students who completed the task trials, but the classroom “action” is my reinvention. It is always our hope that teachers will take ARB items and creatively adapt them to their own classroom needs, as I have done here. An example: Who grew the healthiest tomato plants? Room 9 were moving into the final stages of a science/ statistical investigation that had begun late last year when, in small teams, the students planted and began to care for potted tomato plants. Over the summer break each plant had to be taken home by one volunteer from the team, and when they came back to school everyone could see that some plants appeared to be healthier than others, but also that there was variation in the overall combinations of ‘healthy’ features.The teacher challenged the groups to look at all the plants and then develop a set of measurement ‘rules’ for determining which group had the healthiest plant. She suggested they should try to think of at least four different measuring or counting rules, and then rank the plants by acting on their set of rules (the constructor of claims role). Groups came up with a range of ideas for measuring and counting: number of leaves; size of leaves; colour of leaves; number of leaf buds; number of flowers; number of tomatoes; size of tomatoes; colour of tomatoes; height of plants; length of inter-nodes; bushiness of plants and so on. There was a lot of discussion about the relationships between some of these measures, and what to do when a specific measure showed considerable variability, for example, allowing for different leaf sizes on one plant. Next day, each group got busy measuring and counting according to their set of rules and recording the results on a table they had designed for this purpose. They then presented the results of their investigation to the class, explaining and justifying their measurement priorities and protocols as they did so. Other groups listened for indications that the rules and explanations had been similar to what a group of scientists might do when working together. They already knew about the critiquer role from an earlier science unit, and some of them had brought copies of the rubric they had developed earlier to get hints about what they might look for this time. New Zealand Association of Science Educators

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Second, in the constructor role the scientist must be clear and transparent in accounting for how and why they have manipulated their target aspect of the natural world. Their research questions, and investigation techniques, including measurement and data gathering strategies, must be able to withstand peer scrutiny. The argument they build around their findings must also be sufficiently clear to withstand scrutiny of its internal logic. The theory and the evidence must come together in a clear comprehensive report that follows expected conventions, including anticipating and discussing possible objections or alternative interpretations. As a report is being written or prepared for oral presentation, the constructor scientist keeps the critiquer in mind! When the shoe is on the other foot, and they are in the critiquer role, scientists will use their own deep knowledge to look for flaws or possible alternative explanations for the work of others. Students are likely to learn some aspects of documenting and reporting as they take part in school science. For example, a paper in Issue 129 of the NZST (p.36) explains how students can be taught to clearly express relationships between sets of ideas by making deliberate and careful use of causal connectives in their written accounts of a phenomenon (Whitehead & Murray, 2012). However, students will not gain useful insights into the nature of science unless they are supported to see how new knowledge emerges from the interplay of both the constructor and critique roles. As individual or small group investigators they must carry out and build convincing accounts of their work. As part of the community of peers, they must learn how to take part in the more social and collective activities of critique. And they must be able to put these two types of experiences together in ways that help them to see how they are dynamically interrelated. You cannot get a sense of what it means to be a scientist unless you can play both roles.v

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They listened for clear explanations of what would be measured or counted and exactly how this would be done so that the plant/plant comparisons were “fair”. (No one wanted their plant to be unfairly disadvantaged so this exercise engendered some very lively debate.) They also listened for explanations about why certain features might be regarded as stronger indications of health, and thought carefully about how groups had accounted for combinations of features. One team put the height of the plants at the top of their list, arguing that healthy plants are tall plants. Other groups questioned this assumption, pointing out that the tallest plants were rather spindly and pale. Someone then noticed that this group’s height measurements did not match their own group’s record. However, when this was investigated further the critiquers were found to have made a measurement error, beginning measuring from the 1cm mark instead of zero. This aspect of their critique was not upheld (the teacher arbitrated when disputes needed to be settled). Yet another group observed that the plant with the most tomatoes was actually somewhat shorter than most of the others. They argued that this would have to be the healthiest plant because it could not have made so much fruit otherwise. The debate lasted for some time and in the end the class agreed that no single indicator was a sufficient basis for a claim. However, despite a few ‘equal’ placings, they did come to agreement about which were the overall healthiest and least healthy plants. In the process they had debated many aspects of cause and effect in plant growth, and also come to a realisation that some qualitative indicators (green vs. yellow leaves) could not discriminate sufficiently well for the task at hand. At this point the teacher showed them how to construct a simple colour scale, using chips from paint colour charts. With three numbered shades of green and two of yellow the whole class then shared out the task of making an

overall judgement about, and charting, every individual leaf, ready for their next mathematical challenge of calculating proportions of each colour per plant. Because this was a new measurement technique the teacher also displayed several examples of actual colour charts and the contexts in which they are used on the Smart Board. One example was the pH scale used for universal indicator, another was a colour scale used to help classify soil types (see for example: http://tinyurl.com/82q2sae). Some months later some students recalled this technique when confronted with the challenge of measuring different ways to slow down the browning of cut apples (see for example: http://tinyurl.com/7a97jfn).

Conclusion If students learn to play both constructor and critiquer roles, even in the context of very simple investigations, they will have experienced what it means to do rigorous investigative work for which they will, and can, be accountable. As their ability to draw on science theories grows, so will the sophistication of the questions they can ask, the investigations they design, the justifications they can shape for the many choices they must make as they take part, and the explanations they shape. However, it would be very rare for school students to investigate a question for which science does not yet know the answer, unless of course they take a supporting part in an investigation shaped and led by working scientists. References Bull, A., Joyce, C., Spiller, L., & Hipkins, R. (2010). Kick starting the nature of science. Wellington: NZCER Press. Chinn, C., & Malhotra, B. (2002). Epistemologically authentic inquiry in schools: A theoretical framework for evaluating inquiry tasks. Science Education, 86(2), 175-218. Ford, M., & Forman, E. (2006). Redefining disciplinary learning in classroom contexts. In J. Green & A. Luke (Eds.), Rethinking learning: What counts as learning and what learning counts (30 ed., pp.1-32). Washington: American Educational Research Association. Perkins, D. (2009). Making learning whole: How seven principles of teaching can transform education. San Fancisco: Jossey-Bass. Whitehead, D., & Murray, F. (2012). Teaching causal text connectives in chemistry. New Zealand Science Teacher, Issue 129.

book review Microscopic Worlds (3 volumes): Bugs of the Ocean (pp.112); Bugs of the Land (pp.120); and Bacteria, Fungi, Lichens and Plants (pp.128). Author: Written by Kerry Swanson Publisher: CSIRO Publishing Price: AU $39.95 ISBN: Vol 1: 9780643103221; Vol 2: 9780643103894; Vol 3: 9780643103924 Email: publishing.sales@CSIRO.au or visit: www.publish.csiro.au Reviewer: Dr Heather Meikle, Palmerston North Girls’ High School. Scary photos grace the cover of each book and even more lurk inside. These alone will capture the interest of students, but the 3D glasses really give the images produced by the JEL 7000 FE Scanning Electron Microscope a magical quality. Paleontologist, Dr Kerry Swanson, from the University of Canterbury, Geological Sciences Department, has collected and photographed a range of specimens including fossils during the passed 20 years. And the author comments that on first glance the photos are the primary focus. They range from the terminal joint and claws of a sandfly leg, to frustules of diatoms, to the top surface of a Hebe stigma. Each photo has a caption that enlightens the reader but often challenges them to think about the role of the structure e.g. “How do you think the ant mandibles might function?” On the third and fourth reading, the detailed, carefully crafted text, with fascinating thoroughly researched information, captures the reader. The facts are interspersed with relevant quotes, diagrams and anecdotes that make these volumes readily accessible to scientists of all ages. Dr Swanson links details about specific organisms to their integration into wider ecosystems. He also provides practical applications for this knowledge – a better understanding of energy capture during photosynthesis could lead to more efficient solar panels. In a classroom, these books will enthral students and encourage them to learn more about “the beauty, organisation and diversity” of life. The only challenge for the students will be prying the book from their teacher's grasp – they are superb.

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What do an eccentric South African ichthyologist, a Kenyan who inspired the planting of two billion trees and a Kenyan who was a member of ‘the hominid gang’ have in common? They challenge our understanding of the label ‘scientist’ as Miles Barker, University of Waikato, explains: Introduction Who is a scientist? ‘Doc’ J.L.B. Smith, the intense, somewhat eccentric, South African ichthyologist in the first of my three stories in this article, undoubtedly was. In fact, his reputation as a scientist was persuasive enough to get his sleepy prime minister out of bed and to agree to providing Smith with an Air Force Dakota for an apparently harebrained 5000km dash up the African coast to identify a single enigmatic fish. But, as for the central figures in my other two stories – supreme multi-taskers though they were – the label ‘scientist’ sits a little uneasily. Kenyan Wangari Maathai’s tumultuous life, which earned her worldwide recognition and a state funeral, has more often prompted the label ‘humanitarian’ or ‘Nobelist’ than ‘scientist’, even though her science training informed everything she achieved in later life. And Kenyan Kamoya Kimeu, despite discovering more hominid evidence than anyone else, occupies an ambiguous and shadowy place in the company of the ‘scientists’. Their three stories, offered here to illuminate aspects of the Nature of Science, add to my seventeen earlier ‘Ripping Yarns’.1 Table 1 aligns all twenty stories with fourteen underpinning ideas about the Nature of Science2 which flow from the Science Essence Statement in The New Zealand Curriculum.3

Old Fourlegs – a fish caught in time4 Professor J.L.B. Smith was utterly exhausted as he staggered away from the microphone in Durban on the night of Monday, 29th December 1952. It was not just that he had not slept properly for nearly a week; as well, the emotional strain had been enormous. Smith had staked his professional reputation as an ichthyologist – justifiably, as it had turned out – on the claims of an unknown local trader in the distant Comoros Islands5 who, in response to Smith’s publicity campaign, had telegraphed to say that he had caught a coelacanth, a fish that was generally accepted to have been extinct for seventy million years. To get to the Comoros Islands from Durban before the fish began to putrefy, Smith had in desperation, raised the South African premier D.F. Malan from his bed and persuaded him to provide an Air Force Dakota for a mission that would potentially bring great honour to South Africa – provided, of course, that the fish actually was a coelacanth! As Smith, ever the dramatist, said: “I had staked virtually my whole life on a fish I had not seen.”6 There had been the hurried assembling of the expedition in Durban, the cramped flight up the coast, the frightening landing on tiny Pamanzi Island, the seemingly interminable official reception with the French governor, the rushed trip to the wharves, and finally the exultant moment when “…as I caressed that fish I found tears splashing on my hands.”7 Finally there was the trip home, with the precious coelacanth encased in salt in a coffin-like box in the hold of the Dakota, the thunderstorms, the nausea, and then at Durban the battery of flash bulbs and the delivery of

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a hurriedly prepared speech to a worldwide audience. That night had been the culmination of a relentless, obsessive fourteen-year search for a miracle of biology, the ultimate ‘needle in a haystack’. But why did Smith even suspect that the coelacanth may still be lurking in the vastness of the world’s oceans? The initial evidence had surfaced back in December 1938, in a town on South Africa’s east coast. Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer, sole curator of the tiny East London Museum, had happened to spy amidst the dumped catch of a dockside trawler a fish that: …was five feet long, a pale, mauvy blue with faint flecks of whitish spots; it had an iridescent silver-blue-green sheen all over. It was covered in hard scales, and it had four limb-like fins and a strange little puppy-dog tail. It was such a beautiful fish - more like a big china ornament – but I didn’t know what it was.8 Although still learning her trade, Courtenay-Latimer knew enough paleontology for a bizarre thought soon to occur to her: was this some kind of rare but basically unremarkable species of rock cod? Or could it be a living relic of the coelacanth – a form whose fossil remains had been known since 1839, and had been found in Germany, the United States, China, Brazil, Madagascar and Greenland but which, having first appeared in the fossil record about 350 million years ago, was universally accepted as having died out seventy million years ago? Over the next few hectic days, Courtenay-Latimer was unable to conceal her find and her sensational theory from the world’s press, but she frantically tried to contact Smith at Rhodes University College in Grahamstown, 150km away, to obtain his authoritative confirmation. By the time Smith could view the fish in early February, its putrefying soft parts had been discarded at sea and a taxidermist had salvaged what remained. Nevertheless, the key features were unmistakable to Smith when he set eyes on it: the strange fleshy lobed fins (perhaps precursors to potential amphibian descendants), the curious rostral gland, the odd fluid-filled notochord in lieu of a spine, and the curious extension to the caudal fin. The effect on Smith – a slightly-built man whose health was always fragile, but who radiated energy – was “…like a white-hot blast and made me feel shaky and queer, my body tingled. I stood as if stricken to stone. Yes, there was not a shadow of a doubt …”9 Smith was known at times to be single-minded to the point of intolerance and eccentricity, but his generosity towards Courtenay-Latimer was unqualified: “She merits the admiration of every true scientist and gets it. It was only Miss Latimer’s instinct for what is valuable and her force of character and determination that saved the specimen.”10 No, it was not a desire to upstage her that cultivated Smith’s now-growing obsession with finding a second coelacanth; rather, it was the imperative that science demands evidence. Two questions, in particular, drove Smith on. Firstly, where does the coelacanth live? He had considerable reservations about the emerging theories that it inhabited the great ocean depths. Secondly, what was the nature of its soft body parts? Smith was soon to write a detailed treatise on Courtenay-Latimer’s specimen, but the absence of the soft parts tormented him day and night. It was only with the New Zealand Association of Science Educators

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Table 1: Fourteen contemporary ideas about the nature of science5 and twenty stories from science that illuminate the ideas. The stories are either in the present article, or in four earlier editions of New Zealand Science Teacher. Three of these earlier stories (see footnotes 45 and 46 and 47) were originally assigned to different, but related, ideas about the nature of science; they have been re-aligned here. Ideas about the Nature of Science

Stories from science (and sources in NZST)

Science knowledge 1. The world is understandable.

All knowledge is my province – Frances Bacon’s big claim (#113).

2. Science ideas are evolving.

The spirals of life (#106) A plant is an animal standing on its head (#113)45 Joseph Needham’s great labour of love (#124)

3. Science cannot provide complete answers to all questions.

Harold Wellman – honest to a fault (#113)

4. Many science explanations require specialist language and symbols and are in the form of ‘models’. Scientific inquiry 5. Science demands evidence.

The case of the midwife toad (#113) Old Fourlegs – a fish caught in time (#130)

6. Science is a blend of curiosity, imagination, creativity, logic and serendipity.

Why the Kaingaroa forest isn’t grassland (#101) What transpires in ‘heartless vegetables’? (#106) Radio waves and brain waves (#124)

7. Science aims to explain and predict.

The shameful case of sex in plants (#106)

8. Scientists try to identify and avoid bias.

Knowing ourselves – bias in anthropology (#113)

9. Scientists work together.

Joan Wiffen, dinosaur woman (#101)46 ‘Facial eczema’ day at Ruakura (#106) Maize, mysticism and jumping genes (#113)47 Kamoya Kimeu and “the hominid gang” (#130)

10. Scientists’ observations are influenced by their existing ideas. 11. Scientists often study complex inter-related systems. Science and society 12. Issues of ethics, values, economics and politics operate between science and the rest of society.

Andreas Reischek – the collector (#101) Romanov DNA – from Siberia to sainthood (#106) Rhododendrons, yak butter and brigands (#124) Wangari Maathai – the Tree Lady of Africa (#130)

13. Informed citizenship entails applying rational argument and scepticism to science text. 14. Participating in informed decision-making about socio-scientific issues is a civic responsibility.

frantic events of December 1952 that Smith’s inner peace partially returned. His powerful account of the story of the coelacanth, a book evocatively titled ‘Old Fourlegs’ in acknowledgment of the fish’s curious fleshy, limb-like fins and their evolutionary potential, was first published in 1956; it is a classic in the literature of science. Smith died in 1968 aged seventy by taking cyanide. His final note read, “I live in perpetual fear of becoming bedridden and helpless.”11 Today, when more than 200 coelacanths have been discovered, the quest for evidence has shifted to different grounds, especially towards a focus on coelacanth behaviour, life-style and reproduction. The range of Latimeria chalumnae is now known to extend across the Indian Ocean, and a second species, L. menadoensis has been discovered in Indonesian waters. However, human fascination for this fierce creature, which often lurks in undersea crevices at depths of about 80 metres, swims with a unique, slow graceful stroke12 and attacks other fish with its viciously snapping jaws, remains unabated. The quest for evidence is at the heart of science. What Smith sought in the vast oceans was at least clearly defined, and his unequivocal evidence was immediately accepted.13 Sometimes, though, the scenario is much more complex: there may be plenty of evidence, but disputes break out about what (if any) is the underlying pattern and, indeed, 30

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what even counts as evidence. Human paleontology is famously a case in point. As Alan Walker, an authority on early African hominids, says, “When sensible people disagree, there’s not enough evidence.”14 The demand for evidence is always central in the science enterprise. Sometimes, like the mysterious ‘formed stones’ of Medieval Europe (what we now know as fossils), unimagined things are discovered, but it is not clear what they are evidence for; on other occasions, things imagined remain undiscovered because the evidence never surfaces – the ‘lost’ continent of Atlantis is an example.

Wangari Maathai – the Tree Lady of Africa If you received a phone call from Oslo to say that you were to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, what would be your immediate response? When Kenyan Wangari Maathai heard the news, she planted a tree – a Nandi Flame tree, in sight of her beloved Mount Kenya. For those people around the world who knew her as the Tree Lady of Africa, that response was hardly unexpected; in her tumultuous and influential life, Maathai had inspired the planting of at least two billion trees.15 Maathai is not primarily thought of as a scientist – ‘humanitarian’, ‘environmentalist’, ‘political activist’ and ‘advocate for women’s rights’ are terms more frequently used – but the wisdom of scientific understandings, especially in ecology, anchored and guided much of her life.


and Movement members angered the government by successfully protesting its plan to build a sixty-two-storey building in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park; in 1999 they protested the government’s plan to sell off parts of Karura Forest. On these and innumerable other occasions, Maathai was abused, beaten and imprisoned; she often had to be moved secretly from house to house for her protection. All of this was initially unforeseen: “We in the Green Belt Movement have never decided to become political, to fight for a more open and democratic civil society, or to become human rights activists. We just found ourselves confronting injustices against ourselves, our members and the environment.”22 These confrontations penetrated even to within central government: Maathai was elected as a member of parliament in 2002, and was subsequently assistant minister for the environment. Wangari Maathai died of cancer in Nairobi Hospital on 25th September 2011 and was accorded a state funeral in Uhuru National Park. By then, the Green Belt Movement had assisted 900,000 women to establish nurseries and plant 45 million trees in more than thirty African countries.23 However, for Maathai, the issues of ethics, values, economics and politics never displaced science knowledge and science education as being central in her thinking about African issues: “Scientists are only just beginning to understand the depth and range of services provided by Earth’s ecosystems” and therefore, “the environment must be the centre of all solutions.” And yet, “…it continues to baffle me that African leaders do not educate their people so that they understand the enormous threat likely to face them.”24 As she often explained so simply and graphically in her seminars, it is as if we are travellers who have boarded the wrong bus.25

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And at one crucial point, it was a science-inspired epiphany that set her on her life’s course. This course was summed up in the 2004 Nobel Committee’s announcement: “Maathai combines science, social commitment and active politics. More than simply protecting the existing environment, her strategy is to secure and strengthen the very basis for ecological sustainable development.”16 Her life exemplifies the notion that issues of ethics, values, economics and politics operate between science and the rest of society. Maathai, born in 1940, in Kenya’s Central Highlands, looked back on her very early life as a generally idyllic time: benign Kikuyu village life near Mount Kenya, down from which clear streams flowed through rich indigenous forests and productive vegetable gardens. A life informed by traditional storytelling became supplemented by formal schooling. A combination of persistence, great personal capability and some good fortune saw her advance further than anyone expected: secondary school and then, in a great leap of courage, she managed to enroll at Mount St. Scholastica College in Kansas, where she emerged with a BSc in Biology, which was followed by an MSc in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Back at the University College of Nairobi, and supplemented with time in Germany, she successfully completed a doctorate (the first by a woman in East Africa) in anatomy and accepted a university post in the Department of Veterinary Anatomy. It was early on in this job that the turning point, the epiphany, came. Journeys into rural areas outside Nairobi to collect ticks from cattle opened her eyes to the rapid degradation that had occurred while she had been away: “I noticed that the rivers would rush down the hillsides and along paths and roads when it rained, and they were muddy with silt.”17 Soon she was to observe that whole forests were disappearing, traditionally nutritious crops were being superseded by cash crops, and women were trekking great distances for firewood. Through the lens of her science training, and with the memories of the idyllic environment of her girlhood, she began to realise that: the connection between the symptoms of environmental degradation and their causes – deforestation, devegetation, unsustainable agriculture, and soil loss – were self-evident.” Then, exhibiting the extraordinary breadth of vision and the formidable capacity for action that has been the hallmark of her whole life, “It just came to me: ‘Why not plant trees?’18 So, in 1977, from small beginnings, Maathai’s mobilisation of poor women to plant trees resulted in the formation of the Kenya Green Belt Movement. Thirty years later there were one hundred thousand members throughout Kenya who, as well as tending thousands of seedling nurseries and planting thirty million trees19 have been inspired to start many other local projects. But there was much more to this than silviculture: Gradually, the Green Belt Movement grew from a tree-planting program into one that planted ideas as well … I became convinced that we needed to identify the roots of the disempowerment that plagued the Kenyan people20 … In this way, communities where the Green Belt Movement worked began to develop personal responsibility for improving their quality of life, rather than waiting for the government, which wasn’t very interested in the welfare of either Kenya’s people or its environment, to do it.21 This put the Movement increasingly and inevitably on a collision course with entrenched attitudes right to the highest levels of government in Kenya. In 1989 she

Kamoya Kimeu and ‘the hominid gang’ Who do most paleontologists nominate as the greatest of all observers and discoverers of early human remains in East Africa? The answer26 appears to be almost unanimous: it is a chunky, strong, quietly spoken native Kenyan, with a receding hairline and a presence that is both modest and monumental. His name is Kamoya Kimeu.27 Kimeu’s feats are legendary. It was Kimeu who took it upon himself to cut a road through to a site at Laetoli; the fragments he emerged with persuaded Mary Leakey to pursue the site where, later, she found the famous pair of human footprints in the solidified volcanic ash. It was Kimeu who, having seen the Lucy bones, could say to Donald Johanson, with absolute modesty, “If you found that, think what I could find.”28 Kimeu has been the anchor, the ‘go to’ man, the ‘Mr Fixit’, of many of the classic fossil-finding expeditions in East Africa in the second half of the twentieth century. Kimeu’s story, quietly heroic yet also ultimately enigmatic, yields fascinating colour and desirable complexity to the proposition that scientists work together. Kimeu, born in 1940, is of the Kamba tribe, which is centred in the dusty, southern part of Kenya’s sprawling Eastern Province. His brief schooling began at age 14 at a mission school at Nunguni, about eighty kilometres southeast of Nairobi. Not long after, however, when he was employed to herd cows home in the evening, his life changed: an uncle, who had been working as a gardener in Nairobi, came to recruit Kimeu for a job, “digging bones” in Tanzania. Kimeu’s mother first had to be placated – she assumed this was a gravedigging job, and therefore associated with witchcraft – but soon Kimeu was to find himself talking (in Kikuyu) to eminent paleontologist Louis Leakey. Leakey’s job description was simply, “I want you to work hard doing many things.” Kimeu recalls that, “he gave us food, blankets, New Zealand Association of Science Educators

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everything. And we went to Olduvai. That is how I started working for the Leakeys.”29 Louis Leakey and his wife Mary Leakey had been excavating in Kenya and Tanganyika (now Tanzania) since the 1930s without finding anything especially significant, but with the arrival of Kimeu and the others – who were soon to call themselves “the hominid gang” – everyone’s luck changed, especially when the Leakey’s son Richard, and then Kimeu himself, took over the gang’s training in 1964. Mainly of the Kamba tribe, Kimeu’s professional family included Nzube Mutiwa, “a Kamba, with immense presence and piercing eyes”30, Wambua Mangao, Joseph Mutaba, Bernard Ngeneo, and a small number of others. Their field work varied from heavy labour with picks and shovels across to what they called (using an analogy with gold mining) ‘prospecting’. A visitor to a camp described the work: … spread(ing soil) on to a sieving screen, which they lift by wooden handles. They shift soil back and forth, and from this gentle music a cumulus rises. Another member of the Gang works alongside Kimeu, brushing up sediment with his left hand, and with his right squeez(ing) large bits down to - well - the size of an incisor, rubbing round and round, like coaxing dice in his palm until there’s nothing to throw.31 Soon, technical tasks in the field laboratories became integral: microscopy, cleaning skulls with a sensitive airscribe and cataloguing. But the gang’s supreme achievement was their unparalleled ability to locate ‘finds’ – to spot a single significant fragment the size of a matchbox in a landscape strewn with the debris of aeons. According to Richard Leakey, Kimeu not only has sharp eyes but also “a keen search image, a mental template that subconsciously evaluates everything he sees in his search for telltale clues. Not only do fossils … blend in with the background; they are usually broken into odd-shaped fragments. The search image has to accommodate this complication.”32 Kimeu lives nonchalantly with this extraordinary gift. Here is his own account – titled laconically ‘What I found on my day off’ – of the most supremely significant of all his finds: So while they were resting, I just walked across to see how the country looked. I crossed the sand river and walked up a little hill and I saw - you know, I am always looking down - I found this piece of bone. I looked at it because it was hominid … Then I went back to camp … I said ‘Wake up’ and I took them across to where the bones were.”33 The camp was near the Nariokotome River on the western shore of Lake Turkana in northern Kenya, it was August 1984, and the bones were the first to be found of ‘Turkana Boy’ – a wondrous, near-complete skeleton of a (perhaps nine-year-old) male Homo erectus. Alan Walker, Richard Leakey’s colleague, records, “The slope is covered with black lava pebbles. How he found it, I’ll never know.34 Among the hominid gang’s tasks (everything from creating airstrips to making tea) Kimeu’s special contribution has been leadership. As Stephen Jay Gould describes it, fieldwork in these remote, rugged places “has to be intensely organized and systematic; how else do you avoid tsetse flies, keep the trucks running and maintain adequate supplies of water in deserts?”35 In such circumstances, Kimeu was the perfect choice to be left in charge in the field; his influence was marked by a Buddha-like calm and wise diplomacy combined with “… always being on the move, restless, rarely idle”36 and being “immovable on matters of right and wrong.”37 Kimeu presided over not only the material organisation of the expedition but also the direction of the research. It was his secure judgment about the first Turkana Boy

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bones – a joking, understated “You might want to see them” – bellowed into the radio phone attached to the car battery which had Richard Leakey and Alan Walker in Nairobi scrambling for their Cessna. Added to all the field work, Kimeu has had, since 1977, a huge administrative responsibility: he was appointed the National Museums of Kenya’s curator for all prehistoric sites in Kenya.38 How does all this illuminate what we know about how scientists work together? The most eminent of paleontologists all hold Kimeu’s abilities as a field worker in the very highest regard. Alan Walker refers to Kimeu as ‘one of my closest friends’.39 Two fossil primates have been named after Kimeu: Kamoyapithecus hamiltoni and Cercopithecoides kimeui. International public recognition has been considerable: on his visit to the United States in 1985, Kimeu was presented with the prestigious John Oliver LaGorce Medal by President Ronald Reagan on behalf of National Geographic magazine. And yet, in two ways, Kimeu stands apart from the other paleontologists. One is publications. Unlike all the others in this story, who are voluminous writers of technical and popular material, Kimeu to my knowledge has only ever published one work: ‘Adventures in the Bone Trade’, a brief collection of rich personal anecdotes from his own life in the field. The other way he stands apart – and this could be contested – is recognition in his own country; it is sometimes claimed that “he is celebrated much more abroad than at home.”40 American researcher Monique Scott interviewed and surveyed visitors to the human evolution section of four museums, including the Prehistoric Gallery at the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi. She found that Kenyan visitors “did see Kenyan scientists as playing an important though under-valued role in the museum,”41 a view summed up by a quotation from an interviewee at the head of her chapter: “It’s always Leakey, Leakey, Leakey.” Scott points out that the label ‘fossil-finder’ does not do justice to Kimeu’s “wide-ranging prowess in paleontology … includ(ing) the identification of anatomical minutiae and the taxonomic diagnosis of a wide range of organisms.” Scott would, without hesitation, describe Kimeu as a ‘scientist’ – a view apparently contrary to that of Alan Walker who sees a clear separation of roles: “(Kamoya) can’t help listening for early hominids; they call him to come and find them … Analysing (a skull or jaw or long bone), making sense of it, squeezing it for information about our past is my job; finding it is his.”42 And Scott notes with poignancy, that Kimeu, apparently now reclusive, “retired relatively poor and unacknowledged despite his long career working alongside the Leakeys.”43

The nature of science and storytelling I have a fondness for thinking of these fourteen underpinning ideas (as Rutherford and Ahlgen did) as ‘propositions’. Propositions take the form of a verb (‘think’, ‘deny’, doubt’) followed by a ‘that’ clause; people are therefore related to propositions by their beliefs, desires or other psychological attitudes.44 Thought about this way, statements about the Nature of Science are not ‘truths’ in themselves, and they are certainly not objects to be learned and assessed in schools. In themselves, these propositions can be seen as rather insipid and simplistic. However, they can also be seen as generalised pointers towards a rich, complex science-informed way of living in the world, a life-style in which most humans, professionally or privately, choose to invest their being, in large or small measure. Put simply, the Nature of Science is not about what you know, but about how you live your life. To set up school situations where a science-nourished view of the world can flourish is, therefore, the perpetual


37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44

Acknowledgments I am grateful to the many colleagues and friends in science education who have shared their stories about Africa with me over the years. These especially include Claire Donald, Martie Sanders, Tom Okaya, John Odhiambo, Sammy Mutisya and Abdia Baraka. Special thanks also go to Joe Griffiths, Durango, Colorado, for helping me locate an indispensable resource about Kimeu.

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Footnotes 1

2

3

4

5

6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36

Barker, M. (2002). Ripping yarns – science stories with a point, 101, 31-36; Barker, M. (2004). Spirals, shame and sainthood – more ripping yarns from science, 106, 6-14; Barker, M. (2006). Ripping yarns – a pedagogy for learning about the nature of science, 113, 27-37; Barker, M. (2010). Ripping yarns – science in Asia, 124, 32-38. Barker, M. (2011). Nature of science and The New Zealand Curriculum: fourteen underpinning ideas. New Zealand Science Teacher, 126, 33-37. Ministry of Education (2007). The New Zealand Curriculum. Wellington: Learning Media, p.28. I have gratefully co-opted Smith’s (1956) title as my own for this Ripping Yarn, together with Weinberg’s (2000) play on words as my subtitle. They are about midway between the northern tip of Madagascar and the African mainland. Smith (1956), p.141. Ibid, p.146. Weinberg (2000), p.2-3. Smith (1956), p.41. Ibid, p.26. Weinberg (2000), p.133. Butler (2011), p.93. Of course, Smith’s story resonates for New Zealanders with the case of the takahe, rediscovered in 1948 after its supposed demise fifty years earlier. Willis (see under Kimoya Kimeu), p.214 Miller & Spoolman (2009), p.230. Maathai (2004), p.ix. Maathai (2007), p.121. Ibid p.125. Maathai (2004), p.x. Maathai (2007), p.173. Ibid, p.174. Maathai (1995), p. 245. Miller & Spoolman (2009), p.230. Maathai (2009), p.253-4. Ibid, p.168. Willis (1991), p.xi. Johanson & Edey (1981), p.141. Leakey & Lewin (1992), p.26. Pronounced Kah-moy-yah Kah-meo. Johanson & Edey (1981), p.379. Kimeu, Kamoya (1986), pp.39-41. Willis (1991), p.216. Ibid pp.227-8. Leakey & Lewin (1992), pp.26-7. Kimeu (1986), p.41. Leakey & Lewin (1992), p.26. Gould’s Introduction to Willis (1991), p.x. Leakey & Lewin (1992), p.27.

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Walker & Shipman (1996), p.9 Wikipedia, retrieved 30.11.2011. Walker & Shipman (1996), p.7. http://habarizanyumbani.jambonewspot.com/tag/kamoya-kimeu/ Scott (2007), p.136. Walker & Shipman (1996), p.127. Scott (2007), p.136. Audi, R. (1999). The Cambridge dictionary of philosophy (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p.753. This story, about the nearly 2000-year life-span of the earth-and-roots mental model of plant feeding, illuminated the Rutherford and Ahlgren (1990) proposition that ‘science knowledge is durable’. Alternatively, we could say that, like certain famous species (tuataras, king crabs, ammonites), ‘science ideas are evolving’, but sometimes they evolve at very slow rates! This story was written to exemplify the Rutherford and Ahlgren (1990) proposition that ‘science is not authoritarian’ – one which does not feature in Barker (2011). As noted (Barker, 2001, p.35) this proposition “sits awkwardly” because it “describes an idealized scientific community rather than addressing what actually exists.” An alternative take on Joan Wiffen’s story that recognition of her discoveries by established scientists was slow - was an interesting insight into the subtle ways by which ‘scientists’ work together’. Barbara McClintock’s story, with its context of shifting allegiances and insider/outsider relationships existing within the community of geneticists and biochemists in the 1940s to 1970s, was co-opted to exemplify the Rutherford and Ahlgren (1990) notion that ‘science is a complex social activity’. Similarly, her story can be seen as exploring the manner in which the adoption of different purposes, theoretical models and technologies all colour how, in practice, ‘scientists work together’.

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Main sources about old Forelegs Butler, C. (2011). Ancient swimmers. National Geographic, 219(3), 86-93. Smith, J. L. B. (1956). Old fourlegs: The story of the coelacanth. London: Longman Green. Weinberg, S. (2000). A fish caught in time: The search for the coelacanth. London: Fourth Estate.

Main sources about Wangari Maathai Maathai, W. (2007). Unbowed: A memoir. London: Heinemann. Maathai, W. (2009). The challenge for Africa: A new vision. London: Heinemann. Maathai, W. (1995). Women, information, and the future. In A. Brill (ed) A rising voice: Women in politics worldwide (pp.241-248). New York: The Feminist Press. Maathai, W. (2004). The green belt movement: Sharing the approach and the experience (expanded edition). New York: Lantern Books. Miller, G.T., & Spoolman, S.E. (2009). Living in the environment: Concepts, connection, solutions. Belmont, CA: Cengage.

Main sources about Kamoya Kimeu Johanson, D.C. & Edey, M.A. (1981). Lucy: The beginnings of humankind. London: Penguin. Johanson, D., & Shreeve, J. (1989). Lucy’s child – the discovery of a human ancestor. New York: William Morrow. Kimeu, Kamoya (1986). ‘Adventures in the bone trade. Science, 86(7), 39-41. Leakey, R., & Lewin, R. (1992). Origins reconsidered: In search of what makes us human. London: Abacus. Scott, M. (2007). Rethinking evolution in the museum: Envisioning African origins. London: Routledge. Walker, A., & Shipman P. (1996). The wisdom of bones: In search of human origins. London: Orion. Willis, D. (1991). The hominid gang: Behind the scenes in the search for human origins. London: Penguin.

Sources for younger readers Old Forelegs. Walker, S.M. (2002). Fossil fish found alive: Discovery of the coelacanth. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books. Wangari Maathi. Nivola, C.A. (2008). Planting the trees of Kenya: The story of Wangari Maathai. New York: Farrer, Strauss and Giroux. Winter, J. (2008). Wangari’s trees of peace: a true story from Africa. Orlando, FA: Harcourt. Kamoya Kimeu. Rubalcaba, J. (2010). Every bone tells a story: Hominid discoveries, deductions, and debates. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.

other physiological mechanisms including heart rate and urinary output. For whatever reason there is an "override"as far as some of the protective upper airway functions are concerned, and they are no longer primed, perhaps because the individual will not be speaking or swallowing while asleep. Sneezing is in this category, but why this is advantageous is difficult to judge. I am sorry I can't be more helpful. For further information: questions@ask-a-scientist.net

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ask-a-scientist createdbyDr.JohnCampbell Why don't we sneeze when asleep? Edna Graham, Christchurch Respiratory medical specialist, Robin Taylor, at the University of Otago, responded: In truth I do not know! The purpose of sneezing is to clear the upper airway, and it is a reflex which is present at birth. When asleep, many sensory inputs to the brain are modified or even shut down, and this is exemplified in the fact that despite some pain somewhere, a person may still fall asleep. Breathing is modified significantly during sleep, and it becomes more regular. This coincides with a variety of

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challenge for science teachers. And I believe that storytelling, an enduring aspect of being human, with all its deep personal investment and its necessary empathies between teller and listener, is one grand highway towards creating this science-informed life-style in classrooms. For further information contact: mbarker@waikato.ac.nz

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abutterflystory:beingacitizenscientist Like kiwi and tuatara, New Zealand native butterflies are seldom seen in the wild. This story tells how and what a primary classroom learnt about butterflies and native butterflies, and the actions they took as citizen scientists to protect them. Junjun Chen, Bronwen Cowie, and Angela Schipper, from the University of Waikato, explain: Introduction The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) has a strong focus on ensuring that all students have the skills and knowledge to participate in public debates and decision-making processes as “critical, active, informed, and responsible citizens”, (Ministry of Education (MOE), 2007, p.30). Others have asserted that it is important that students are able to use what they learn through their lives. Speaking about science education, Roth and Désautels (2004) argue that, “learning in schools and as a life-long[sic] endeavour, is of little use if it does not allow students to care for and, in particular, engage in action” (p.2). The premise underpinning the story in this article is that nurturing student curiosity about, and ability to take action in, their immediate environment is an important goal of primary science education (Bull et al., 2010; Fensham, 2009). The article illustrates how two teachers, Angela and Holly, encouraged Year 4 students to think of themselves, and to act as, ‘butterfly scientists’ as part of a unit on New Zealand butterflies. The unit included a focus on the key competencies of thinking, using language, symbols, and texts, and participating and contributing (MOE, 2007, p.12).

The story behind the unit The butterfly unit was based on materials Angela had designed for the Science Learning Hub (SLH)1. Angela decided to focus on butterflies within her role as a Hub content developer because she had a personal interest in native butterflies. New Zealand has a number of native butterflies but most are ‘small and secretive’, and like kiwi and tuatara, they are

seldom seen. As a primary teacher, Angela had found that there was very little information on New Zealand native butterflies, and what there was tended to be outdated. She knew that students often studied the Monarch butterfly but wondered if many teachers knew about the tagging programme. She developed Hub materials to profile New Zealand native butterflies and to highlight the potential for students to ‘work as citizen scientists to tag and track Monarch butterfly movements’. Angela anticipated that students would find both of these aspects engaging, and considered that both had the potential to promote student engagement with science as something involving taking action to make a difference. Angela was interested in how children would respond to the materials she had designed. She co-operated with Holly2, a Year 4 classroom teacher, to teach the butterfly unit to Holly’s class of 26 students aged 8 or 9 years. They invited the Hub research team to observe the lessons. Junjun (the first author) and another member of the team observed all five lessons of the unit and interviewed nine students after the final lesson, and eight of the same students six months later. The students also completed a unit evaluation. Samples of their work were collected throughout the unit.

Learning to become butterfly citizen scientists Here we report the story of the unit from three perspectives: the butterfly knowledge students learnt, the butterfly skills they developed, and the actions they took as ‘butterfly citizen scientists’. 1. Learning about butterflies and NZ butterflies Angela was aware that to be butterfly citizen scientists, the students would need to know something about butterflies, their habits, and habitat. Throughout the unit, Angela dressed with butterfly items that she had made herself such as earrings, dresses, hair clips, and shoes. For the second and third lessons, Angela dressed as Ms Frizzle, a character in The Magic School Bus series of science stories. The students were familiar with the series and Angela’s dressing in this way positioned her as someone who was interested in and knowledgeable about science. Given their knowledge of the books, her dressing this way signalled to the students they would be engaging in some exciting and interesting butterfly science. Angela explained,

Figure 1: PowerPoint presentation including scientific, common and Ma¯ori name for each butterfly. 1

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The Science Learning Hub is an online portal funded by New Zealand’s Ministry of Science and Innovation and managed by Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, the University of Waikato since 2007. URL: http://www. sciencelearn.org.nz/ Holly is a pseudonym.

New Zealand Association of Science Educators

Figure 2: Students practising their own tagging skills using a paper butterfly and placing a small round sticker on the underside of a wing.


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When I come to school dressed as Mrs Frizzle, the children know that science will be our major focus and that it will be activity based. Children enjoy it when the teacher steps out of their usual role and into another. But I’m not the only one changing roles. When students see the Frizz walk in, they move into thinking they are real scientists, doing real science. Angela and Holly surveyed the students’ prior knowledge about butterflies through discussion in pairs followed by whole class brainstorming. They encouraged the students to share what they knew about butterflies from their personal experiences and from the pre-unit research task, which had been to identify five facts relating to butterflies. Students contributed the following ideas during the brainstorm: The butterfly starts as a chrysalis, and the chrysalis becomes fatter and fatter, and then decides oh, too big, just go for the family. Somehow, they have something in their bodies, and they try, they cut their way out, finally they move, and they have to wait for Christmas until their wings dry. They can’t go anywhere. They’re too wet to fly all over the places. (Video Data, L1, February) I heard that some butterfly species live more than two weeks. (Video Data, L1, February) Next, Angela explained to the students that “If we’re going to be scientists we need to talk about some scientific words.” She introduced butterfly specific vocabulary using an interactive Monarch butterfly life cycle activity from the SLH. The interactive combined the functions of vocabulary cards and a concept web. Angela presented the activity on an interactive white board. Students could click on a word/icon for explanation of each aspect of the life cycle. The explanations included images and text. Throughout this sequence, and over the course of the unit, Angela encouraged the students to use the science terms and to explain them in their own language, thereby providing opportunities for students to ‘talk science’ (Lemke, 1990). She also introduced the students to the idea that they could become scientists, specifically that they might be ‘butterfly scientists, butterfly warriors, or butterfly protectors’. To conclude the lesson, Angela asked the students to draw a butterfly life cycle of their own to survey how much they understood about the butterfly life cycle. Over the next two lessons the students learnt about NZ butterflies and butterfly migration. In Lesson 2, Angela used a PowerPoint presentation to introduce the students to the three native butterfly families in New Zealand. The presentation included images of a butterfly from each family. Angela used a second PowerPoint presentation to help the students learn more about native butterfly habits and behaviours. This presentation included the scientific, common and Ma¯ori name for each butterfly (see Figure 1). Migration and winter behaviour: In Lesson 3, Angela introduced the word ‘migration’ and asked students to sound it out. Then she used the map on the Monarch Watch website, which shows butterfly migration worldwide, to illustrate Monarch butterfly migration patterns. Next, she introduced the Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust (MBNZT) website. This website included an explanation of the Monarch tagging programme and a map that showed where tagged butterflies had been released and recovered from. The students were particularly interested that butterflies had been both released and recovered from their city. S1: (pointing to the website) Look! That’s somebody [marked] in Hamilton!

Figure 3 (a) and (b): Student butterfly dancing and paintings. Teacher: That’s right, some cases are in Hamilton. This map shows butterflies that were released and recovered last year. (Video Data, L3, March) Angela then asked the students if they would like to see more places where butterflies had been released and recovered. Teacher: Do you want to look at some other, different places? Let’s go down to the South Island. [The map of the South Island showed very few taggings] Yes, why do you think there are only a few butterflies that were tagged in the South Island? S1: Because it’s cold down there? Teacher: So Monarch butterflies [in NZ] like hanging around the northern part, and around the coast, and even down to Invercargill. They don’t like mountains and don’t like the western coast. (Video Data, L3, March) On this occasion, Angela encouraged the students to use their prior knowledge to explain the distribution of Monarch butterflies. Connecting scientific concepts and explanations to familiar contexts or scenarios supports students’ learning (Mercera, Dawesb, & Staarman, 2009). 2. Developing and practising butterfly observation, tag and release skills To be citizen scientists students need a range of skills including those required to access and evaluate data and information, how to conduct practical investigations, and how to identify and engage with people who are able to influence the outcomes they are seeking. Within the butterfly story frame Angela and Holly encouraged the students to develop the skills of observation, hunting, tagging, releasing and publishing. Observing: After learning about the butterfly life cycle, the students used magnifying glasses to observe Monarch New Zealand Association of Science Educators

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eggs and pupae on the cruciferous and milkweed leaves Angela had brought to class from her home garden. She guided the students on how to use a magnifying glass, explaining this was a tool that scientists use. The students examined the colour and shape differences of the eggs. The following excerpt is from a student conversation that took place while students were examining some eggs and caterpillars: S1: See, black things! S2: I found brown eggs, this one, look! S3: Over there, pupa on the back! Yes, up…up! S2: No, it’s a caterpillar, a baby! S1: Oh wow! We’ve got thousands of eggs! Researcher: [pointing] Do you know why these eggs are darker than those brown eggs? S1: I know, they are younger. S3: No, they are older. Mrs Schipper said. S1: Let me go to ask Mrs Schipper. S2: I’ll look on the web. (The student went to the Hub website to check). Look, it says the darker eggs are older! I am right! (Video Data, L2, March) This excerpt illustrates the ease with which students were able to use the science terms they had learnt, such as pupa. When asked why the eggs might be different colours, the students turned to both the teacher and the Hub for evidence in support of their ideas. The action of looking for evidence is important in scientific reasoning and thinking (Eagan et al., 2011; Williams et al, 2004). A class butterfly hunt provided students with a different experience of observation, one that focused the students’ attention on likely butterfly habitats. This was very much the sort of activity that Ms Frizzle and her students engaged in and the students took it very seriously. They found and observed two butterflies, and used what they had learnt to identify that both were females. Tagging and publishing: In Lesson 2, while the students were viewing the map of Monarch butterfly release and recovery, Angela told the class that, ‘research shows that for every 100 butterflies that were tagged, only two were recovered. That’s why it is important to tag hundreds and hundreds of butterflies.’ She explained that the class could help with this and during Lesson 3 she demonstrated how to tag a real butterfly and to publish its data. When introducing the tag and publish activity Angela explained that, ‘Because you’re scientists you should follow scientific processes.’ She emphasised the need to be gentle when handling a butterfly because butterfly wings are very thin and fragile. She demonstrated how to hold a butterfly to minimise harm. The students then practised their own tagging skills using a paper butterfly and placing a small round sticker on the underside of a wing (see Figure 2). Angela showed the students how to use the MBNZT website to register and publish information on the real butterfly she had tagged. She explained that MBNZT monitored butterfly numbers in order to understand the influence of humans on Monarch butterfly location and overwintering habits. Angela and the students released the tagged butterfly onto a tree outside the classroom. The students practised their tagging, observing, and publishing skills and seemed to enjoy the processes although they did not always find it easy. 3. Taking butterfly actions Much to Angela’s surprise, after Lesson 3, the students continued to observe and tag butterflies over their lunchtime. They reported the tag information to the MBNZT by themselves. They emailed their teachers to say they had done this, signing themselves as ‘your butterfly warriors’,

New Zealand Association of Science Educators

just as Angela had suggested they might become early in the unit: Dear Mrs Schipper, S1, S2, S3 and S4 caught 4 butterflies and tagged them at lunchtime! They say it was hard catching them and holding them on the wings especially the first one! There were two males and two females. Cheers, From your butterfly warriors!  (Room 14) (Field Notes, L3, March) During the end of the unit interview, Holly described the lunchtime butterfly tagging activity thus: They did it all by themselves and knew how to do it. They very often tagged butterflies at lunchtime. I left some tags on the whiteboard ledge. They went out to catch the butterflies and then they got on the Internet to publish the information. (Teacher Interview Data, March) Being a citizen scientist for the longer term: In the student interviews after the final lesson, all nine of the interviewed students stated that they would like to be a citizen scientist from now on. A representative description of the things that they wanted to do as a citizen scientist in the future was: I would like to protect, research, and tag them. Maybe if you find the rare species and help them grow up. If they’re broken or something, you can take them into where you go and look after them. (Student Interview Data after the Final Lesson, March) In the student interview after six months, one group reported a sustained interest in NZ butterflies. The reasons they gave for their continued interest in butterflies were, “it’s fun to learn about how and where butterflies go” . (Student Interview Data after Six Months, March) The students in the other interview group indicated that as a consequence of their participation in the tagging programme they had learnt to ‘respect’ butterflies. The students reported that the whole class had tagged and published information on 13 butterflies at school after the butterfly unit. The students expressed a commitment to looking after the environment and indicated they understood how butterflies fitted into the ecosystem. S1: We just want to keep our environment clean and happy, not harm stuff. S2: People don’t harm the animals, and hope in the future the world is still sustainable. And we should be careful, don’t kill too much, and we’ll still have much nature left. In the future, people could know we have such beautiful things. S3: If we don’t help them, things like the food chain may break. (Student Interview Data after Six Months, September) They thought other people could learn from their involvement in the tagging programme, and positioned this involvement as evidence of respect. S1: Other people could learn what we have done from the site. We could know whether they respect butterflies. (Student Interview Data after Six Months, September) Overall, practical activities such hunting, tagging, observing, and publishing were seen as valuable because they required the students to use or apply what they had learnt and to think ahead and beyond their classroom-based learning to consider what they could do in the future for butterflies or even the environment. 4. Linking the butterfly story with other curriculum subjects Connecting to other subjects: The butterfly science story


The impact of the unit The students appeared engaged throughout the unit. The difference between their initial and final drawings of a butterfly life cycle indicated that they had learnt a lot about this. Holly considered that the students’ interest had been stimulated and sustained by their being able to ‘make a difference in their world’. She explained: I think the reason they loved this unit is because there is an opportunity for them to make a difference in their world about something they already know about and care about. It was real and meaningful…So I think that’s why they love it and want to learn more. They were all inspired. They surprised me how they acted and just wanted to keep going. (Teacher Interview Data, March). Evidence of student interest in the butterfly unit came from their evaluation notes and the focus group interviews, for example: I had a lot of fun with everything that happened. (Student Interview Data after the Final Lesson, March). I thought the butterfly unit was the best ever, because I did not know much about butterflies and now I know heaps. (Student Evaluation Notes, March). Six months later, one student commented: Learning about butterflies makes me want to learn about more different kinds of stuff or other things, and maybe become a scientist. (Student Interview Data after Six Months, September). These comments indicated the unit activities nurtured more than student understanding. They contributed to the

students’ sense of personal worth through their being able to take action that was authentic and meaningful beyond the confines of the classroom, in this case by contributing to a national butterfly monitoring web-based database. This experience stimulated some students to think about further actions and to consider that they might want to become scientists (Elster, 2009).

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Conclusion Science education not only needs to introduce students to the knowledge they need to enter tertiary education, but also to help them achieve ‘citizen-focused’ understandings, so that they can take on informed participatory roles in the science-related decision making in society (Bull, et al., 2010; Gluckman, 2011). This butterfly story illustrates the integration of science learning with action as a citizen – the students contributed to the Monarch butterfly database. One outcome of Angela’s focus on the students ‘being citizen scientists’ was that they experienced that they could make a difference, and the story provides evidence that for some students this experience of taking action opened them up to the idea that they could become scientists. In this case, the unit experience touched students’ self-identity in relation to their affiliation with science into the future. Also important, emphasising citizenship goals within science learning took place without weakening the students’ science content knowledge learning. This is important when the focus is on student use and action on scientific thinking in their daily lives (Aikenhead, Orpwood & Fensham, 2011). However, this dual focus needs careful thinking about curriculum (e.g. the social aspects of science, possible integration with other subject areas) and teaching approaches (e.g. the extent of student prior knowledge and interests, an explicit focus on being and becoming a citizen scientist) from both curriculum developers and teachers. For further information contact: j.chen@waikato.ac.nz Acknowledgement: We would like to thank the school, the teacher, and the students for warmly welcoming us into the classroom. We also thank Mira Peter and Ariana Donaghy, who were part of the classroom research team. This research was undertaken as part of a study on teacher use of the SLH.

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intersected and was integrated with reading, writing and art. Angela’s dressing up as Ms Frizzle linked the science unit with earlier class reading activities. The strength of this link was evident in the way some students referred to Angela as Mrs Frizzle throughout the unit. While they were on a camp the students did some ‘butterfly dancing and paintings’, as illustrated in the photographs below (see Figures 3 and 4). The students wrote poems to accompany their paintings. A number of the poems demonstrated students’ scientific knowledge and fluency with the science terms they had learnt. The poems included mention of wing patterns, body parts, and migration. One poem included the line, ‘Their antennae twitch as they glide through the wind.’ Another had, ‘Its wings are delicate and are colourful with lots of patterns’. (Student Poem Data, March). In Lesson 5, the students learnt to make ‘butterfly sandwiches’. They made these using triangles of bread with vegetables and dried fruit for the antennae, wing patterns, eyes, legs and so on. This activity proved an enjoyable activity that prompted considerable discussion and use of butterfly science terms. Holly described the integration in the end of unit interview thus: It was definitely an integrated unit we have done for butterflies. Everything was linked in except maths. We did butterfly reading, vocabulary, art, and different kinds of writing. Like we did facts writing, they wrote how they tag the butterfly and then we did poems as well, even dancing and the sandwich. You can probably see in everything, they’re so inspired and excited about the topic. (Teacher Interview Data, March). Holly’s comment suggests that the students’ enthusiasm for the butterfly unit translated across into other curriculum areas of science and these other areas benefited from this integration.

References Aikenhead, G., Orpwood, G., & Fensham, P. (2011). Scientific literacy for a knowledge society. In C. Linder, L. Ostman, D. Roberts, P-O. Wickman, G. Erickson & A. MacKinnon (Eds.), Exploring the landscape of scientific literacy (pp. 28-44). New York, NY: Routledge. Bull, A., Gilbert, J., Barwick, H., Hipkins, R., & Baker, R. (2010). Inspired by science. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research. Eagan, K., Herrera, H., Sharkness, J., Hurtado, S., & Chang, M. (2011). Crashing the gate: Identifying alternative measures of student learning in introductory science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses. Paper presented to the American Research in Education Association (AERA), New Orleans, Louisiana, USA (8-12 April). Elster, D. (2009). Biology in context: Teachers' professional development in learning communities. Journal of Biological Education, 43(2), 53-61. Fensham, P.J. (2009). Teaching science to achieve scientific literacy. In R.W. Bybee & B.J. McCrae (Eds.), OISA science 2006. Implications for science teachers and teaching (pp. 187-202). National Science Teachers Association. Gluckman, P. (2011). Looking ahead: Science education for the 21st century. A report from the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor. Lemke, J.L. (1990). Talking science: Language, learning, and values. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Mercera, N., Dawesb, L., & Staarman, J.K. (2009). Dialogic teaching in the primary science classroom. Language and Education, 23(4), 353-369. Ministry of Education. (2007). The New Zealand Curriculum. Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media. Roth, W.M., & Désautels, J. (2004). Educating for citizenship: Reappraising the role of science education. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 4, 149-168. Williams, W.M., Papierno, P.B., Makel, M.C., & Ceci, S.J. (2004). Thinking like a scientist about real-world problems: The Cornell Institute for Research on Children science education program. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 25(1), 107-126.

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book review The Invention of Science:Why History of Science Matters for the Classroom Author: Catherine Milne Publisher: Sense Publishers, 2011 ISBN: 978-94-6091-523-9 (paperback), 978-94-6091-525-3 (e-book) Reviewer: Anne Hume, University of Waikato I first came across this book last year at the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) conference in Lyon, France, when I was browsing at the book displays. It caught my eye because it is a book about the history of science and is intended for the classroom, and also because of the inference in the title that science is something that has not always been around in our history. By her use of the word ‘invention’ in the title, there is a strong sense that the author Cathy Milne is seeking to portray science as a means for meeting some need/ purpose and that it has come into being through some creative process rather than one of simple discovery. In reading the book, science clearly comes across as an evolving human endeavour whose form and practices have been reinvented over time and place as needs and purposes changed. The author goes to some length to present and define the knowledge and practice that is today globally accepted as science without ignoring the other forms of science that exist or have existed. This stance is very helpful in giving the reader deep insights into what most consider science to be today, the basis on which it is practised and how these developments came about.

Eurocentric science What I found especially useful in my understanding of the origins of modern science was the author’s introduction of the term ‘Eurocentric science’. She used it to describe the science that was the outcome of a cultural-historical phenomenon that had its roots in many diverse cultures but crystallised in the 16th and 17th Century Europe. This period in history saw the merging of ancient practices and theorising about the seen and unseen world (from sources such as China, India, Africa, the Middle East and Europe) with the field of natural philosophy that was gaining popularity in Europe at that time. The blending of ancient understandings with new approaches focused on evidence-based inquiry and validation processes; development of models as explanations and peer review was largely played out in the European arena by groups of like-minded people. These people (mostly men) came together to pursue similar lines of thinking, forming schools of thought in places such as Italy, France, Germany and Britain and ‘inventing’ a new form of systematic science knowledge. The term ‘Eurocentric science’ for this systematised science, with its accepted strategies for developing, validating and evaluating new scientific knowledge, is a very useful one in my view, because it captures something of the nature and origins of current global scientific practices. Reading this book has raised my awareness of boundaries, which I think distinguish Eurocentric science from, say, indigenous forms of science and from religious worldviews. Clearly these boundaries are by no means set in concrete, but I think they are important to explore and discuss when we come to teach about the nature of science considering the diversity of our students and society – in my case my students are pre-service teachers. 38

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The historical account of science from its beginnings in antiquity through to modern times is written in largely narrative form against the backdrop of human societies through those times. There are many interesting stories of how key characters in science, such as Democritus and Newton, lived their lives and came to contribute to scientific knowledge, and of many scientists we know relatively little about but whose contributions are significant in the whole picture of science development. I found the author’s description of the philosopher Descartes and his thinking very enlightening. He had argued that true knowledge came from human reason, not from sense experiences, and his philosophy of determinism where all aspects of nature could be explained by the application of scientific laws, based on God’s plan, had many followers. His view of the cosmology as a machine able to be understood by mathematical laws and principles is at the heart of terms like mechanism and reductionism, which I’ve often come across in the science education literature before – it was interesting to learn the source of these terms. What the author does very successfully in this book is her portrayal of the growth of science and scientific knowledge as a non-linear process, and also as a process involving real flesh and blood people. She demonstrates very clearly how the interaction of complex factors such as historical events, increasing mobility of people, religious views and social mores of the time, technological inventions, new freedoms and great thinkers at critical times culminated in the emergence of Eurocentric science.

A storehouse of science stories I cannot do justice in this short review to the detail of the author’s narrative; suffice to say, that the text is peppered with references to scholarly works on the history of science, which gives real credibility to her perspective as science as an invention. The book is a storehouse of science stories that will enrich your lessons on the nature of science. Her description of how factions within science came and went as new interpretations of the cosmology appeared, and why certain explanations prevailed over others fascinated me. Scientists like Copernicus and Galileo displayed great personal courage in the promotion of their ideas at a time when such views were considered heretical. We learn how changes in social practices – such as the movement from writing scholarly texts in Latin and Greek to the vernacular, and inventions like the printing press – helped to open up opportunities for the sharing and dispersion of new ideas. In my pre-service teacher education programme I intend making great use of excerpts from the book to clarify aspects of the nature of science. Specifically the timeline chart of worldwide science-related people and developments between 200 B.C. and 1000 A.D. on pp2-25; the differentiation of dialectical, analogical, deductive, inductive and abductive reasoning in Chapter 2; and

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Resources to guide knowing what to teach and how to teach can be found at TKI, as written by Dayle Anderson, Victoria University of Wellington explains: Teaching science, as with any learning area, involves drawing together a range of knowledge1 gained through our professional development and experience as primary teachers. We have knowledge of many aspects of learning that underpin effective teaching and are valuable for science. For example, we often have a deep understanding of our students, their cultural and academic strengths, their needs and interests; we are used to managing learning in a variety of ways and may bring valuable teaching knowledge from our work in other disciplines2. In science however, the vast array of possible topics and the need to guide students through the practical problems that may arise in science investigations, in ways that reflect authentic scientific inquiry, can sometimes be a little daunting. Science Online at Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI), the Ministry of Education’s teacher support website (http:// scienceonline.tki.org.nz), provides some helpful information and links for getting started in science. It supports primary teachers to understand more about what to teach in science and how.

Knowing what to teach The What do my students need to learn? tag on Science Online links to important aspects of the Science Learning Area in the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC)3. For example, it might be useful to check out the aims for the science learning area as these are not published in the printed version of the NZC. Understanding the direction of the curriculum should help shape the focus and nature of the science learning opportunities we provide. Links to the Building Science Concept (BSC) series concept overviews can also help identify the important science ideas relevant to achievement objectives from the NZC within a topic. These books were sent to all primary schools and contain detailed content knowledge for teachers about each topic as well as activities for students. You can buy extra copies via the link to the Ministry of Education Resource Catalogue on the BSC link page. The Assessment Resource Banks link is also useful in identifying what to teach. Resources are searchable by level, strand and keywords. The teachers’ guides for each resource describe concepts or skills students may find difficult within a topic. The NEMP data provide a similar function. The Science Exemplars, in particular the Matrices of progress indicators, could provide support for both students and teachers in knowing what to look for with regard to progress in the Nature of Science strand.

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The Nature of Science-What is the Nature of Science? tag provides key ideas for teachers about the Nature of Science (NoS). There is information supporting each of the sub-strands of this overarching strand which must underpin all science learning. Teacher reflection questions suggested in this section could guide teacher professional learning discussions on the NoS strand of the NZC. Content Resources and Rich Stories includes the teachers’ notes for the Connected journal and links to the Science Learning Hub, another online source of great teaching resources and ideas focussing on New Zealand science.

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Knowing how to teach All of the links above provide valuable ideas for inquiry learning in science, and in particular, the Nature of Science Teaching Activities found in Science Online provide a welcome starting point. The activities are topic related but have an added NoS learning dimension. The list of activities can be sorted by topic, level, contextual strand, or NoS sub-strand. Each activity includes downloadable materials such as recording sheets, a rationale that clearly explains the links to the NoS strand, and focus questions useful in guiding class or group discussion and activity. Primary level activities include: Which ones are spiders? which could be used together with BSC Book 62: Spiders Everywhere! Different stories about the moon: Rona me te marama which could be used in conjunction with activities from BSC Book 8: The Moon; and Constructing diagrams of food chains which could be used in conjunction with BSC Book 22: Tidal Communities. The Teaching Science-Teaching Strategies section can help you support students’ investigations. The Ethics section includes information about keeping small animals in the classroom, and ethics procedures for carrying out investigations involving humans or other animals. Science at work in the World links to many science related organisations such as GNS where students can find out what scientists are discovering about the Canterbury earthquakes. So, Science Online on TKI is really a bit of a one stop shop; you’re bound to find something to help with your science programme. Take a look! For further information contact: Dayle.Anderson@vuw.ac.nz

References 1

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Shulman, L. S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57, 1-22. Appleton, K. (2006). Science pedagogical content knowledge and elementary school teachers. In K. Appleton (Ed.), Elementary science teacher education: International perspectives on contemporary issues and practice (pp.31-54). Mahwah, NJ: Association for Science Teachers and Laurence Erlbaum. Ministry of Education (2007). The New Zealand curriculum. Wellington: Learning Media.

continued from page 38 the roles of models, principles and laws in Eurocentric science in Chapter 4. Throughout the book the author has posed reflective questions, and I must say I found them quite distracting at times as a solo reader – I needed the opportunity to discuss them with others, especially those

questions that I couldn’t answer! This is a book that I’m sure I’ll return to frequently! For further information contact: annehume@waikato.ac.nz New Zealand Association of Science Educators

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from mud whelks to realising a dream This is a story of my journey from the Otago Science Fair to Realise the Dream and the skies over Antarctica, writes Anne-Sophie Page, Year 11, St Hilda’s Collegiate, Dunedin.

so I carried out some lab-based experiments to see if temperature affected their movement. The results confirmed that my observations were right and proved that mud whelks restrict their movement when the water is a colder temperature and they burrow beneath the mud.

Realise the Dream 2011

Winners of the Genesis Energy Realise the Dream 2011 enjoying the views from the Desert Road. Anne-Sophie Page receiving the Royal Society of New Zealand Travel Award from the Governor-General, Lt Gen Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae. No one could have prepared me when I was counting hundreds of whelks on the mud flats of Otago Harbour that my experiments would result in a North Island summer holiday, an opportunity to make lifelong friends and a chance to see science beyond the school curriculum. Furthermore, I never imagined that I would be one of the major prize winners at the Realise the Dream awards’ ceremony at Government House in Wellington. The summer of 2011 had quite an impact on my life and really did give me a chance to realise my dream!

Otago Science Fair project For the last three years I have entered the local science fair and I simply love it. Nothing is greater than presenting months of hard work and winning respect from the judges. It is so rewarding and makes up for all those frustrations along the way. I have based all my projects around mud whelks, which are small scavenging snails that live on the mud flats of the Otago Harbour, a short walking distance from my house. There are thousands of them, and all you have to do is place a smelly piece of dead fish and within minutes hundreds emerge from the mud. It is fascinating to watch! Over the years my experiments looked at different aspects of their ecology. Snail Trails, my first project, looked at how far these snails travel to reach their food. Then, Fast Food or Tasteful Dining investigated the eating habits of mud whelks and tested for a food preference. And most recently, my project entitled Back Packers or Home Dwellers investigated if mud whelks had a home territory or if they are always on the move around their habitat. By using mark and recapture techniques I tested a variety of methods to mark the whelks and then monitored their movements over a two-week period. My observations supported my hypothesis, that they were free roaming and didn’t have a home territory. But after a cold patch of weather I observed that there was hardly any movement, 40

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I have won a premier award at the Aurora Otago Science and Technology Fair for each of these projects, and this year I was also nominated to apply for Genesis Energy Realise the Dream 2011! This not only involved an extensive written application, but I also had to put together a video about my research. And to my surprise, I was accepted! Genesis Energy Realise the Dream is the national science and technology awards event organised by the Royal Society of New Zealand and gathers New Zealand’s top science and technology students, where they participate in a week-long road trip around the North Island. It is an action-packed week with a perfect balance between visiting well-known science institutions and pleasure activities. For winners, the trip is free, including the airfares! So, one sunny morning I flew from Dunedin to Auckland where the trip started. For the next 7 days we visited Hamilton, Taupo and Palmerston North and finally Wellington. We did everything from climbing the Auckland Harbour Bridge to watching the morning milking at Dairy NZ, to completing the high ropes course at the Outdoor Pursuits Centre. The definite highlight would have to be the last night, where the awards’ ceremony was held at Government House, followed by a delicious feast and a dance with a DJ that lasted for hours!

Completing the high ropes course at the Outdoor Pursuits Centre, Tongariro.


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Winners of the Genesis Energy Realise the Dream 2011 enjoying a visit to Huka Falls, Taupo. The science and technology aspect of Realise the Dream was very strong. We went somewhere new everyday and over the week we visited Leigh Marine Research Centre (University of Auckland), Liggins Institute (University of Auckland), Dairy NZ, Genesis Energy, the Trout Farm, Massey University and NIWA. Each facility had many hands-on activities for us and gave us a great opportunity to interact with the scientists and leaders in their field and hopefully to make important connections for our future. I was very apprehensive about attending Realise the Dream. I was convinced that I wouldn’t fit in socially or academically. I expected the other participants would all be nerds with IQs much higher than mine, but I couldn’t have been more wrong! Our group was full of some of the nicest people I have ever met. Even though the ages ranged through from Year 9 to 13 everyone got along and by the end we had all made lifelong friends! I still keep in contact with them and we are already organising a reunion! I do think they were probably smarter than me, but that was ok as it pushed me to extend myself outside my comfort zone. I was surprised that my questions were as relevant as the rest and that I had the confidence to ask them. For me one of the strengths of this trip was the balance between science and pleasure activities. Although every day was “full on” I never wanted it to end. Everything from the activities to the accommodation to the mentors to the food was PERFECT and I wouldn’t have wanted to change a thing! On the last night an awards’ ceremony and cocktail function was held at Government House, where some very important people came such as the CEOs of each sponsoring organisation and the Governor General. A communication session at the beginning of the week prepared us for how to interact with these people, but also with all the invited parents and I was amazed at how much I enjoyed the event. Everyone got a framed participation certificate, a medal, and a $500 participation award. In addition there were a few premium awards. I was lucky enough to win the Royal Society of New Zealand Travel Award, which included 5 days in Melbourne, a day trip to Hobart, Tasmania, visits to Australian science institutions and a scenic flight over Antarctica! I was absolutely speechless – here I was, the kid who counted whelks on the mud flat…I hadn’t invented anything new! It was pretty emotional to watch Nina Huang, who won the top award give her acceptance speech. She was speechless too! Her prize was $7,000, plus an all expenses paid trip to the European Young Scientist Competition in Bratislava, thanks to Genesis Energy! Nina was also lucky to go on and win the Prime Minister’s Emerging Scientist Science Award consisting of $50,000!!

Winners of the Genesis Energy Realise the Dream 2011 gather at Government House for a reception and awards evening.

Royal Society of New Zealand Travel Award I have recently returned from my Royal Society of New Zealand Travel Award trip, and Antarctica was another incredible experience! A guided tour through the Hobart Museum helped us understand the last hundred years of Antarctic exploration. A trip to the Antarctic Weather Station and the Botanic Gardens illustrated the extreme weather conditions and the Southern environment that we would experience. Nothing could have prepared me for the flight over Antarctica – it was impossible to not be taken aback by its sheer beauty. However, the aspect that amazed me the most was its vast emptiness. I wonder what we can do to ensure humankind leave this place alone? We have destroyed so much, and I think we owe it to Planet Earth to conserve this isolated place. Realise the Dream and the Royal Society of New Zealand Travel Award trip opened my eyes. I have met people that have interests beyond Facebook and their own backyard. I have seen how science can be applied beyond the classroom. It has created memories that I will never forget and given me ideas for what my future could look like. Before the trip I was convinced that veterinary medicine was the only path for me. But now I have so many more ideas of what I could do. The summer has convinced me of one thing though...my future does involve science and that the dream for me has only just begun! On behalf of the NZST team, well done Anne-Sophie! - Ed All photographs are courtesy of Anne-Sophie Page.

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By Pru Casey, Otago Boys’ High School, and Steven Sexton, University of Otago ‘identifiers’, or indicators, they can be found in the world all around us! Raisins, plum skins, tea, pumpkin and red cabbage are used as a means to help sort ‘things’ into groups. For example, we can use indicators to sort substances into acids, bases or neutrals. Acids are typically sour, such as: lemons, vinegar, and Coca-Cola. Bases generally taste horrid and are often slimy, like: soaps, baking soda, and urea. Neutral items are neither an acid nor base, for example egg whites. The following Nature of Science (NoS) activities use colour chemistry and have a focus on ‘Participating and Contributing in Science’.1

Background In 2010, the NZCER was commissioned to write a paper, Inspired by Science2 that in part encouraged debate on student engagement with science. The report stated that an understanding of science is becoming increasingly important. This was further developed in another report entitled, Primary science education for the 21st century: How, what, why?3 In the second report it was argued that primary science is one way to nurture children’s interest in the world around them and as a result help develop their positive attitudes towards science. The following activities have been developed for primary teachers to pick up and use them as a means to engage children’s interest in their world through the NoS strand of Participating and Contributing in Science.

Colour Chemistry4 Colour Chemistry, based around literacy texts, enables teachers to incorporate real world science activities within a literacy programme. While these texts are often used in junior primary classrooms, they are also springboards for upper primary students to explore these activities. The activities have a Material World focus through the Participating and Contributing strand of the NoS. By understanding that scientists can use colour as

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At Levels 1 and 2: Explore and act on issues and questions that link their science learning to their daily lives. At Levels 3 and 4: Use their growing science knowledge when considering issues of concern to them. Explore various aspects of an issue and make decisions about possible actions. Achievement aims and objectives can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/2utnn6t. Paper can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/3pdpfhn. Paper can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/426k4wl. Developed by Pru Casey.

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Activity 1: Lunch (primary students) This activity is built around Dr. Seuss’s book entitled: Green Eggs and Ham. This primary age student activity enables younger students to link words such as acid/ acidic, base/basic and neutral to their world through their lunches, while older students should be given the opportunity to build on their discoveries and discuss changes that could be made to their food choices. Begin by investigating the items in your lunch box and finding out more about the foods you like, e.g. are they acid or base? We tend to put acids on any food that is too basic. Ever wondered why you like tomato sauce on sausages, or why your parents like mint on lamb, or why lemon goes well on fish? What is on your lunch to make it taste better? Here is how we can show what in your lunch is acidic, basic or neutral. First, we have to make Cabbage Water Indicator. Take a handful of red cabbage and put in a food processor, add 1-2 cups of boiling water (be careful!). Let this sit for a minute and then process for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Using a strainer, pour the cabbage/water mixture into a bowl. The water in the bowl is what you will use as your ‘indicator.’ It is easier to use if you pour the cabbage water indicator into a plastic squeeze bottle for the rest of these activities. The leftover chopped up cabbage is compost material. Now using an icetray, take small pieces of your lunch and place them in the icetray cavities. Remember to leave three spots empty for later. You might want to label the pieces of food to remember what you put in. Now squeeze the cabbage water indicator onto the pieces of your food. What happens? What colour does the cabbage water indicator turn? Which do you think are acidic, basic or neutral? Now, into the three empty cavities add lemon juice or vinegar to one, baking soda to another, and egg whites to the third. Add cabbage water. What colour does the cabbage water become when mixed with the acidic, basic or neutral food item? What does this tell you about the food in your own lunch box? Note: At this point some students might need to repeat this activity to show which foods were acidic, basic or neutral. So now we know egg whites are neutral and turn green when cabbage water indictor is used; do you think you would like green eggs and ham? What might they taste like? To make green eggs, just add the yolk to the egg whites and cabbage water and they can be fried as in the book. If you scramble them, the colour will change,


as now you are mixing green with a yellow/orange colour which makes pale/lime green. Surprisingly, the taste does not alter that much.

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Final thoughts Participating and Contributing in Science allows students to link what they are doing in the classroom to their world. For younger students, activities such as these allow students to relate the science to their world. For upper primary students, these activities can be springboards for further discussions around food choices, or how we are able to use everyday items to explore forensic science. And in line with the NZCER report, as discussed above, primary science needs to build on the experiences children bring to school. What better way than through the food they eat? Students using these simple activities are then able to not only relate the literacy texts to the classroom science, but also to their world. Thus, teachers are able to provide students with a range of engaging activities centred on purposeful classroom talk. For further information contact: steven.sexton@otago.ac.nz

With a range of resources, practical activities and some useful tips including how to preserve a lung, it could be a valuable tool for teachers. The reading level ranges from very simple to quite complex. Although considerable research has been undertaken with this text, the style of referencing at the end of the book, while enhancing the flow of information, does not allow the reader to easily source material when wanting to know more. With a wide range of sheep breeds in New Zealand, the inclusion of photos of breeds that have never been imported e.g. Swaledale was disappointing. As with any publication, there are some errors, but this is a useful resource to enhance students’ understanding of the significance of an animal of particular relevance to New Zealand. New Zealand Association of Science Educators

bookreview

book review The Complete Sheep: A Resource for Secondary Biology and Agriculture Author: Jane Young Publisher: Triple Helix Resources Ltd ISBN 978-0-9582742-3-4, RRP: $44.95 Reviewers: Dr H. Meikle and Dr G.A. Wickham, retired Associate Professor, Massey University. The complete sheep is a book that uses the sheep as a context for teaching biology and science to secondary school students. It covers genetics, wool science, methane production, anatomy and physiology. Wool science, especially follicle and fleece biology, is rarely covered in science textbooks.

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Activity 2: Sherbet (upper primary students) This activity is built around Dr Seuss’s character The Yink in, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. This activity is a taste test and might not be suitable for younger students due to the very strong reactions they may have to the ingredients. You will need four of these five ingredients: icing sugar, raspberry drink concentrate, baking soda and either citric or tartaric acid. Three of these look very similar. Have the four ingredients in four separate containers labelled A, B, C and D. Clean Petri dishes work well but so do plates or bowls. Students then use a clean Popsicle stick to transfer a small amount of each ingredient to their own ice cube trays. Note: Students could test each one by taste, but not everyone will like all four of these so be careful and have paper towels ready. Now using the cabbage water indicator students individually test to find out which are acids and bases. (For younger students you may need to review the colours cabbage water turns in acids, bases and neutral items. A further link to real world activities is to discuss what the baking soda does in cooking, or why it is used in cooking.) What did The Yink like to do? And what colour was this? What do you think will happen when we mix all four ingredients in a plastic cup and add water? Students can do this individually but it is better in groups of four as the ratio of ingredients should be ½ cup of icing sugar, ¼ cup of drink concentrate, 1 teaspoon of acid and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. The dry ingredients can be tasted before water is added. Remember to think pink like The Yink. Here are some discussions that can build upon our Pink Sherbet. Just like our lunches where we tend to add acids to basic foods to make them taste better, why do we add sugar to drinks? Why do we add baking soda to our cooking? What happens when we mix all the ingredients together? What other drinks behave like our Pink Sherbet? What happens to the ingredients if we leave them sitting around? So what do you think would happen to the Pink Sherbet? Activity 3: Chromatography (upper primary) This activity is built around the Movie, Who Framed Roger

Rabbit, or Scene of the Crime5 in the Choices series. Scientists use colour to track small particles, and the size of particles can be investigated using chromatography. Small particles ‘run’ quickly in water and larger particles ‘run’ more slowly. This is a physical property. You can use the food colouring from M&Ms (avoid peanut centred ones due to possible nut allergies and Smarties don’t work as they have natural colourings that do not easily separate in water). This process, called chromatography, is the same principle that CSI use to separate out sizes of DNA fragments when we want to know, Who Framed Roger Rabbit with evidence or ‘DNA’ from the Scene of the Crime. You will need the following materials for this: M&Ms, paint brushes, filter paper cut into 5cm strips about 2-3cm wide and rolled up to form a circle, plates with a small amount of water to stand the filter strips in; it is important that not too much water be used; the filter paper rings only need to sit in the water. Take a set of M&Ms so that pairs of students have one of each colour. Using the brush, dip into water and wipe off some of the colouring of the M&M and then paint this onto a rolled up strip of filter paper. You should paint just below the centre line of the paper strip as the colours will run up the paper as the filter paper absorbs water. It is critical that the painted on M&M colour is not submerged into or in contact with the water as the colour will then diffuse into the water. Set onto a plate of water and watch what happens. What happens to the different colours of the M&Ms? What is green or brown?

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BEANZ 2012–2013 The BEANZ team for 2012–13 includes: Kate Rice, Jacquie Bay, Jo Fissenden, Victoria Rosin, Gill Ayliffe, Helen Mason, Terry Burrell, Phil Bishop, Kathy Saunders, Bill MacIntyre, Bill van den Ende, and Mikhal Stone.

BEANZ core functions 1. Maintain a database of New Zealand Biology Educators for sharing information. 2. The assessment writing team produces mock assessment tasks for use in New Zealand secondary schools. 3. Production of support material for Biology addressing the requirements of New Zealand Curriculum and NCEA standards, including learning materials, exemplars and professional development throughout New Zealand. www.tki.org.nz/e/community/ncea/support.php. 4. Bring issues relevant to biology education to the attention of both biology teachers and the wider biology education community. 5. Provide regional support groups for biology teachers throughout New Zealand. 6. Support national biology events e.g. Biology Olympiad. 7. Support schools to teach Human Biology through opportunities provided by New Zealand Curriculum, and using aligned Levels 2–3 Achievement Standards. The Curriculum team have contributed ideas on Human Biology teaching and learning programmes to the Teaching and Learning Guide for Secondary Sciences. 8. Contribute a regular Biology feature in New Zealand Science Teacher. 9. Provide a forum for interaction between primary, secondary and tertiary Biology educators.

Introducing the BEANZ team BEANZ President: Kate Rice Kate has over 30 years Science Education involvement, firstly teaching Biology and Science in several Otago schools before setting up Science Education Programmes at Otago Museum Discovery World science centre. After seven years creating exhibitions and education programmes in science and other curriculum themes, Kate returned to teaching at Waitaki Girls’ High, Oamaru. She joined Education Support Services, University of Otago College of Education in 2005 as an Assessment for Learning Facilitator. Kate continued Science involvement as an Adviser, and currently is a National Co-ordinator for Science (which she shares with Mike) and BEANZ President. Kate is completing her doctorate on “How professional development developing Nature of Science understanding can lead to changes in science teaching practice”. Most of Kate’s reading lately has been fairly heavy, however, a great light read for senior students and teachers is The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a satirical book that promotes the parody religion of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Pastafarianism. Bobby Henderson wrote this open letter to the Kansas State Board of Education in which he parodied the concept of intelligent design, (2006, Villard Books).

BEANZ Senior Vice President: Jacquie Bay Jacquie first joined the BEANZ exec in 2005 to assist with curriculum support. A science/biology teacher, Jacquie had HoD roles in secondary schools, particularly enjoyed 6 years leading science in an integrated Year 1–13 environment where favourite times included Year 3 and primary science club (as well as Year 13)! She is now Director of LENScience 44

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working with schools to develop science/science education collaborations supporting science education, and facilitating the translation of science into community understanding. Jacquie has had various BEANZ roles and is excited by the quality and commitment of the 2012–13 BEANZ team. The advent of e-books and the Darwin centenary encouraged Jacquie to re-engage with Darwin and delve back into the Origin of Species. If you have not done so, read it again to find many interesting anecdotes and stories to add to your teaching.

BEANZ Curriculum Team Leader: Terry Burrell Terry first joined BEANZ in 2005 when she was engaged in a NZSTM teacher fellowship. Since then she has been involved with a variety of BEANZ projects and initiatives, including the standard realignment project and development of Teaching and Learning Guide. BioLive conferences have been a regular part of Terry’s annual calendar, providing a great way to network and stay abreast of current Biology ideas. In 2007, Terry had an enjoyable year as a Senior Subject Advisor. She’s currently Learning Area Leader of Science at Onslow College, Wellington, BEANZ Wellington regional rep, and a member of BEANZ Curriculum group. Terry belongs to a Science Group (aka Geek Club) and the best read to date has been A General Theory of Love by Amini, Lannon, & Lewis – not a romance, but a fascinating study of how the human brain has evolved and the importance of attachment during infancy for our adult wellbeing.

BEANZ Treasurer/Primary Science Advisor: Victoria Rosin Victoria has been a primary classroom teacher for over 10 years and a primary science specialist for 4 years. She has taught in a number of countries and has a passion for teaching primary science, and enjoys getting children to interact with the local environment and articulating their ideas on the subject. Currently, she is working on her Ed.D in Primary Science at the University of Otago College of Education. She works as an LEOTC Educator at the Portobello Aquarium, Dunedin, and is a casual lecturer at the College of Education in primary science. She is the Chief Judge of the Otago Science and Technology Fair and also on the executive for the NZ Association of Primary Science Educators (NZAPSE). Victoria is currently reading Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks which tells the story of a black woman who died, but doctors kept her cancer cells and created a multimillion dollar industry as they used her cells in research. Her cells are alive and grown today – known as HeLa cells. Great for bio ethics as her family was never asked and have to live with the legacy today.

BEANZ Executive members Mike Stone: Mike has worked as a Biology teacher for 25 years including various science TiC and HoD roles before joining Team Solutions as science facilitator in 2006. Currently Mike is a National Co-ordinator for Science (a role shared with Kate) and also on BEANZ exec representing Science Facilitators and Auckland region (jointly with Penny). Mike has been involved in designing BEANZ workshops presented around the country in 2011 and 2010. As well as being a fisho and a muso, Mike is the proud

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Sheila Woodgate at the University of Auckland, through an analysis of the responses of 400 Year 12 and Year 13 students to a BestChoice module about ionic, covalent and metallic bonding, has exposed student misconceptions that could inform the teaching of bonding. The module The first part of the module focuses on the electrostatic nature of bonding and the nature of the positive-negative attractions for the three bond types. An introductory information page points out that bond formation is exothermic, and as a consequence, the energy of a system in which atoms are joined by chemical bonds is lower than the energy of the corresponding non-bonded atoms. It also describes that bonding models attribute the lowering of energy for all types of bonds to a larger number of attractive electrostatic (positive-negative) interactions in the bonded system, and the nature of the positive and negative particles for each bonding type. Despite this information being available, student responses indicate that that they believe the term ‘electrostatic’ applies only to ionic bonding. When asked “Which type of bonding involves attractions between positive and negative particles?” 20% of students chose “covalent, ionic and metallic”. Most students chose “only ionic”. 80% of students could identify the type of positive and negative particles involved in ionic bonding, but only 50% could identify the positive and negative particles attracted to one another in metallic or in covalent bonding.

Issues raised 1. For covalent and metallic bonding, is it enough to tell students that electrons are shared? In a description of covalent and metallic bonding, it is important also to mention the positive particles that are sharing the electrons because it is the sharing of electrons by positive particles that lowers the energy of the bonded system. In a covalently bonded system the bonding electrons are between two nuclei and are attracted to (shared by) both of them. In a metal lattice, each metal atom can be thought of as bonding electrons and a cation (Na+ + e-). In the accepted model of metallic bonding the bonding electrons are attracted to (shared by) the cations in the lattice. This may be described as cations in a sea of electrons. It is not correct to describe metallic bonding as electrons shared between atoms. Students could conclude that the shared electrons are additional to those present in atoms. Furthermore, why should there be a strong attractive force between electrons and uncharged atoms? 2. Do we focus too much on ion formation and not enough on the attractive forces in an ionic compound? It is common and misleading to associate ionic bonding with ‘transfer of electrons’. Transfer of electrons gives rise to the particles that are attracted to one another. However, it is the bringing of the ions together in the lattice (not the ion formation) that is responsible for release of energy in formation of an ionic compound. Electron transfer is at best slightly exothermic and may be endothermic, even if the ions formed have filled shells.

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Do not take for granted that students associate the bringing together of particles of opposite charge with release of energy. 485 Year 13 students were asked in BestChoice to identify the lowest energy system from four choices with positive and negative spheres at various degrees of separation, 67% choose the pair with the largest degree of separation! 3. Is indiscriminate use of the word ‘bond’ potentially misleading? The word “bond” implies two atoms as in a covalent bond. Ions in ionic solids and metal atoms in metals are bonded to all atoms (ions) that surround them. This is better described as metallic bonding or ionic bonding. 4. Is our symbolic representation of metals misleading students? Symbolic representations of elements and compounds are introduced early in studies of chemistry. Teaching of these should be associated with discussion of the form taken by elements to emphasize, for example, that while Ne(g) represents neon atoms, Na(s) does NOT represent a single atom but a collection of atoms in a lattice. BestChoice data also show how students can misinterpret symbols. A question in the bonding module asks them to identify the form (atom/ lattice/molecule) of various substances (including Na solid, NaCl solid). 92% of 395 answered that NaCl exists as a lattice, but only 41% recognised that Na exists as a lattice. 33% thought that “Na solid” was an atom, and as a consequence was not involved in bonds. Describing states of aggregation in the elemental form using the terms atom, molecule (a small collection of atoms), and lattice (a large collection of atoms in an ordered arrangement) is as important as distinguishing between an element and compound. 5. Are the types of bonding really so different? The bonding types can be placed at the corners of a triangle, a representation that highlights both connections and transitions between them (http:// tinyurl.com/7repxmr). One way of further developing understanding of bonding is to point out connections between bonding models. Lessons that describe the transition from covalent to ionic bonding as sharing of electrons becomes unequal could also include comparisons between metallic bonding and covalent or ionic bonding. Both metallic and ionic bonding involve attractive forces between an atom (ion) and all surrounding atoms (ions) in a lattice. Metallic and covalent bonding have, in common, the sharing of electrons by positive particles, but differ in the extent of sharing. In metallic bonding the bonding electrons are shared by all metal cations in the lattice, and in covalent bonding electrons are shared by two atoms. Furthermore, the bonds between atoms in molecules and the attractive forces between molecules are all electrostatic in nature. It makes no sense to ignore or gloss over the electrostatic nature of a covalent bond and to put such an emphasis on the electrostatic nature of weaker attractions between molecules due to permanent and temporary dipoles. For further information contact: Suzanne.Boniface@vuw.ac.nz New Zealand Association of Science Educators

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Ernest Rutherford and the gold foil experiment WrittenbyretiredPhysicsteacher, JamesColvine The Gold Foil Experiment and the resulting development of the Nuclear Model of the Atom are cornerstones of Atomic and Nuclear Physics at Level 2. Acceptable responses to external examination questions have always disturbed me, as some were plainly incorrect. Now that this unit is being assessed internally, these same errors are appearing in the resource material distributed by NZQA. Here, I write about some common fallacies with regards to Rutherford and the gold foil experiment.

The Thickness of the Gold Foil The NZQA guidelines mention that Rutherford’s foil was “a few atoms thick”. This appears to be a common misconception. Rutherford knew that the radius of an atom was 10-8cm, to an order of magnitude. His foil was 0.00004cm thick, making it a few thousand atoms thick. This is important because it would take an incredibly small nucleus for alphas to pass, undeviated, through thousands of atoms.

The experiment Using that foil and alpha particles travelling at a calculated velocity of 2.09 x 109cm s-1, Hans Geiger had shown that the most probable angle of deflection was about 0.87°. If q was the average deflection due to an encounter with a single “Thomson” atom, then the most probable deflection would be m . q, where m was the number of atoms encountered. (Notice that this also requires a large number of atoms to be traversed.) This was a “random walk” analysis and it would give a vanishingly small probability for a 90° deflection (or 10° for that matter). The experiment was performed in 1908 by Geiger and Marsden. It involved weeks in the dark counting pinpoints of green light on a small zinc sulphide screen – a task best left to research fellows and students. Their results were published in 1909. Most alphas experienced no deviation or small-angle deviation. But large-angle scattering was also observed, with about one in twenty thousand alphas turned through an average angle of 90°.

The charge of the nucleus Rutherford’s seminal paper analysing these results was published in 1911. (Phil. Mag., 21 p.669). He focused on the large-angle scattering which he attributed to single scattering – caused by an encounter with a single atom – as opposed to compound scattering, where each alpha is deflected a small amount by multiple encounters. (While compound scattering could give the small-angle deviations that were observed, Rutherford suggested that this was simply the small-angle component of the single scattering distribution.). To achieve single scattering, he postulated the nucleus thus: “…that the diameter of the sphere of positive electricity is minute compared with the diameter of the sphere of influence of the atom.” (p670). However, he qualifies this almost immediately: “Consider an atom which contains a charge of plus or minus Ne at its centre surrounded by a sphere of electrification containing a charge of minus or plus Ne supposed uniformly distributed throughout a sphere of radius R.” (p.671).

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He did not claim that the nucleus had a positive charge. He laboured this point: “…the main deductions from the theory are independent of whether the central charge is supposed to be positive or negative.” (p.671). “A simple consideration shows that the deflexion is unaltered if the forces are attractive instead of repulsive.” (p.673). He reiterates it when summing up: “The deductions from the theory so far considered are independent of the sign of the central charge, and it has not so far been found possible to obtain definite evidence to determine whether it be positive or negative.” (p.688).

The presumption of orbits In the paper, there is no mention of orbits or of electrons, for that matter. At the end, he did make reference to Nagaoka’s ‘Saturnian’ model of the atom. Though this model gave a disc shaped atom, Rutherford felt that it was not inconsistent with his analysis. It was later that orbiting electrons became an integral part of the developed Rutherford-Bohr model of the atom.

Rutherford’s integrity as a scientist The positive nucleus with charge equal to the atomic number was established within two years by Harry Moseley. But why had Rutherford taken this very perverse approach when he knew for certain that the nucleus carried a positive charge? The answer was given by my Professor of Physics, Norman Feather†, in his Nuclear Physics lecture course. Rutherford did not claim a positive charge because the gold foil experiment did not prove it conclusively. But he went further by drawing attention to this in his paper. That, according to Feather, was typical of the absolute academic integrity of the man. Thirty years after Rutherford’s death, he felt strongly enough to pass this on to his students. As a second generation ‘Rutherford boy’, I have passed this on to my students – possibly to their detriment in external examinations. Rutherford was a supremely skilled experimenter and his Midas touch, both for his own research and in directing his fellows, derived from insight and intuition. But their work would have been achieved by others within a matter of years. His ‘boys’ revolutionised the teaching of Nuclear Physics in universities around Britain and the Commonwealth. Their influence lasted for decades, but has faded. However, this example of his integrity shines as brightly today as it did 100 years ago. Should it not be taught in the land of his birth? For further information contact colvinej@gmail.com † Norman Feather trained at the Cavendish under Rutherford and Chadwick. He continued working there until 1945. In 1932, he was investigating the penetrating radiation emitted when beryllium and boron were bombarded with alpha particles. His experiment was elegant and his work painstaking, but there are no silver medals in Physics.


Written by Jenny Pollock

Once upon a time oceanographers had to use relatively uninteresting means, such as plastic drift cards, to track the great ocean currents, the engine of the planet's entire climate. People out walking on beaches would pick them up and post them to the address on the card. Now, GPS satellites, and special floats can do a similar job, but nothing has captured the public’s imagination about ocean currents as much as finding yellow rubber ducks. They are much more likely to be reported to the authorities when they are spotted bobbing on the waves. On 10 January 1992, a shipping container carrying 28,000 plastic bath toys, including yellow rubber ducks, was lost at sea due to a storm causing it to fall overboard soon after leaving Hong Kong. The container broke open releasing the toys which, because of the way they were made, stayed floating. Now, 20 years later, these toys are still washing up on beaches over much of the planet, and in the most unexpected places. For oceanographers this is a dream come true and the toys have revolutionised our understanding of ocean currents. (See Figure 1).

Tracking yellow ducks A retired oceanographer, Curtis Ebbesmeyer, tracks the yellow ducks. People post pictures of ducks they have found on beaches on his website and he quickly determines if they have come from that particular batch of toys by examining the manufacturer’s markings. He and another oceanographer, James Ingraham, also tracking

NZ

other flotsam, including 61,000 Nike running shoes that had been lost overboard in 1990. Since 1992, the ducks have travelled 27,400 kilometres, some landing in Hawaii, Alaska, South America and Australia. Others have been frozen in Arctic ice, floated over the site where the Titanic sank and made their way as far as Scotland and south England. Each time a landing is verified, the data is logged into Ingraham's computer model (OSCUR or Ocean Surface Currents Simulation). This model was built to help fisheries, predict flotsam movements and the likely locations of people lost at sea. (See Figure 2).

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Rubber ducks in the North Pacific Gyre The most famous ducks are the more than 2,000 ducks that are caught in the currents of the North Pacific Gyre – a vortex of currents stretching between Japan, southeast Alaska, Kodiak and the Aleutian Islands. By tracking them it has been found that it takes about three years to complete a circuit of the gyre. Because the toys are made of durable plastic and are sealed watertight, they can survive many years adrift. The North Pacific Gyre also contains the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch, a massive island of floating plastic, caught in the vortex. Some of the rubbish comes from one of the many thousands of shipping containers lost every year, but most comes from land. From research, such as tracking rubber ducks, it is now known that there are at least 11 major gyres across the world's oceans, all of them accumulating plastic rubbish. The ducks are helping highlight one of the great pollution problems of our planet.

The ducks journey to date

Figure 1: Map of the world showing some of the places where the ducks have been found (http://tinyurl. com/2ub9369).

10 January 1992: 28,000 bath toys, including bright yellow rubber ducks, are spilled from a cargo ship in the Pacific Ocean. 16 November 1992: Because they were spilled in the North Pacific, many become caught in the Subpolar Gyre (a counterclockwise ocean current in the Bering Sea, between Alaska and Siberia). 10 months later the ducks begin landing on the shores of Alaska. Early 1995: The ducks land on the North American and Hawaiian coasts. 1995 – 2000: Some ducks move through the Bering Strait, become frozen in the Arctic and travel slowly eastward across the Pole. 2000: Ducks start to reach the North Atlantic and move southward down the eastern North American coast. July to December 2003: A $100 savings bond reward for the recovery of ducks from the 1992 spill is offered. To be valid, ducks must be sent to The First Years Inc. company that made them. 2003: A lawyer in northwest Scotland found a faded green frog on the beach marked with the magic words ‘The First Years’. The toys had reached the United Kingdom.

Websites about tracking flotsam http://tinyurl.com/6xr2bgm http://tinyurl.com/6q7m43 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendly_Floatees http://tinyurl.com/7w7oxb9 http://tinyurl.com/2ub9369

Figure 2: Map showing the movement of the ducks (ref: http://tinyurl.com/84ruj8q).

For further information contact: jenny.pollock@xtra.co.nz

New Zealand Association of Science Educators

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tips for science teachers Frustrated by lack of useful information for better utilising science technicians? Arwen Heyworth, Onehunga High School offers some useful tips: Recently a colleague gave me a copy of an article about using support staff effectively; unfortunately science technicians were only mentioned briefly. Initially I was excited about reading the article, hopeful there would be some useful hints I could pass onto my department about working with science technicians. To my disappointment, there was only a brief mention of our role. I found that quite disturbing as I couldn’t think of any other support staff role in the school (besides RTLBs and teacher aides) that work so closely with their department and students. As science technicians, our role impacts on every student taking any Science subject and effects their achievement, especially in practical assessments. Our role is often devalued and under utilised by schools, as seen by the low number of technician’s hours per student in a large portion of New Zealand schools. I prefer to think that this is out of ignorance rather than any other more negative reason. To that effect, I have compiled a list of tips for science teachers, all of them based on my own experience. Be organised: The more organised you are, the more prepared your science technician will be. It is particularly helpful to receive your Year Planners, schemes and assessment plans at the start of the year. Share information: The better informed your technician is, the more helpful they can be. If they know exactly what it is that you are assessing the students on, they can research and contact other technicians for advice or new practicals that will help you deliver your content more effectively. Meet regularly: Even if it is only 15 minutes, this is still time enough to update them on any news, changes to topics or assessments. The more often you update your technician, the more time they have to prepare. Include them: If you are thinking of changing a practical assessment or topic and you are having a meeting about it, try and include the technician. You will be pleasantly surprised. They will be able to provide practical input that could save you time and money. Invite them to Department social events. Many technicians feel isolated from their colleagues in the Science Department, particularly if they are on part-time hours. Technicians are a valuable resource that is not used effectively in many schools. Order in advance: The more notice you give your

technician, the better the practical. With advance notice, they will be able to run a practice first to make sure that everything works so you don’t have to discover that it doesn’t in front of 30-odd students. They will also be more relaxed as they will be able to plan their day better. Provide feedback: If something doesn’t work, or doesn’t work as well as it should, let your technician know! There may be a fault with the chemicals/equipment involved, or perhaps you are not doing the practical properly. If it doesn’t work, the technician needs to know before they make the practical available to other teachers, and if no one informs them that there is a problem, they will not know. Be pleasant: If you spend some time getting to know your technician, you may discover things about them that could be useful to you. Things such as useful hobbies (e.g. electronics, woodworking and botany), qualifications or areas of specialisation, or even just a healthy dose of common sense. Hint: Chocolate works wonders! It just pays to be polite and to abide by any guidelines that your technician sets (e.g. orders for the next day close at noon each day). These timeframes are normally set for a good reason. Be flexible: Remember that technicians deal with every teacher in the department, not just you. They are wonderful, creative, clever people but they are not miracle workers and cannot produce wonders at the drop of a hat (mostly, there is the odd exception!). The more flexible you can be, the less stress you heap on your technician. Be considerate: All technicians need some quiet time during the day so they can catch up on paperwork, ordering, inventory, prepping, maintenance and cleaning. This is very hard to do if you constantly have people coming in and out. You have non-contact hours for catching up on your workload and this helps you to be a more effective teacher. The same is true for your science technician. See if you, as a Department, can schedule that time for them. I am very lucky to have the support of a wonderful, inclusive department. We are a tight-knit bunch, who work effectively together as a cohesive team, but I know that there are schools out there that are not making the most of this amazing, mostly untapped resource: their science technician. Hopefully, these tips will help you address this issue. For further information contact: Robyn.Eden@qmc.school.nz

continued from page 44 aunty of eight nieces and nephews. Currently reading two books on the developmental origins of health and disease (Mismatch by Gluckman & Hanson & Nutrition in the Womb by Barker). “It was a revelation to realise the egg that made me was created in my grandmother’s womb and so my current health has been affected by her health at the time she was pregnant with my mum!!!” Stephanie Green: Head of Science at St Peter’s College, Gore. New to the BEANZ exec, voted on as curriculum support and regional Southland rep. Stephanie will 48

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facilitate curriculum development at national level and also support all both primary and secondary Biology teachers of in her region to develop their teaching skills and resources. Recent reading: Using SOLO as a Framework for Teaching: A Case Study in Maximising Achievement in Science by Steve Martin. Having read about Steve in the Gazette last year she was interested in the work he was doing. St Peter’s is using SOLO learning logs in the junior school to investigate their effect on student achievement. For further information contact: kate.rice@otago.ac.nz


SciCon 2012 | 1 - 4 July 2012

2012 1-4 July 2012 The University of Auckland, New Zealand

The theme of SciCon 2012 is â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Making Connectionsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, which has far-reaching implications. It is an opportunity to make connections with educators and organisations, or to foster the uptake of new technologies and ideas for teaching. Planet Earth and Beyond

Chemistry

Nature of Science

Biology

For more information and to register your interest visit

www.scicon2012.org.nz 2

Physics


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