AIM

Our aim is to raise science capital in New Zealand families by empowering adults to talk about science with their children and nurturing future science-literate generations.

MISSION

We will continue to share our unique approach to public science engagement as it complements school education while empowering adults to engage with science debate more confidently.

We began our project in 2014, by trialing the effectiveness of our workshop concept with Year 6 students in targeted Auckland schools. Our pilot project was funded by the Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund and Futureintech (an initiative of IPENZ). Find out more about this initiative at www.curiousminds.nz

Working through teacher 'champions' at a number of primary schools, we invite any interested students to attend our workshops together with one caregiver each. The workshop introduces topic-specific scientific concepts, for example, for DNA and genetics they perform the extraction of kiwifruit DNA with associated interactive games and role plays, followed by an awards ceremony.

We apply an internationally-tested and robust framework (
http://www.ecsite.eu/activities-and-services/projects/feast) for the delivery of science and technology concepts, in an environment which allows participants to have fun, to question, to share and gain knowledge for themselves, all while actively performing a scientific technique.

The benefits include:

  1. High engagement with the specific science concept being delivered
  2. Reinforced recognition of the application of science in daily lives
  3. More confidence to engage with science and technology concepts in everyday life
  4. Increased willingness to discuss science-related topics at home
  5. Increased willingness to pursue a career in science and technology.

The workshop also provides a forum for practitioners from the scientific community to debunk common misconceptions about their science and to link the purpose of their own research to existing social issues that affect the average New Zealander (e.g. health and medicine, environmental protection and biosecurity, quality control of food products, and criminal justice).

With this approach, we expect to gradually raise the level of interest in science-related current affairs across multiple generations, and to make science and technology accessible to communities who want more exposure to science beyond what the student has to learn in the classroom.

Feel free to contact us for more information

Family Science Workshops in the News

Extracting kiwifruit DNA to build family science capital

Futureintech was granted $16,000 from the Unlocking Curious Minds contestable fund to run a series of Family Science Workshops in four Auckland primary and intermediate schools this year. These workshops aim to raise 'science capital' in families by empowering and encouraging parents ...

Kitchen science excites mums and dads

Family participation raising the profile of science at Windy Ridge

Inspiring families to discuss science at home

It's been a lot of fun for everyone involved in the Family Science Workshops, with two more sessions to go before the project winds up. Futureintech ran 18 workshops in 2015, using $16,000 from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Unlocking Curious Minds fund....

Sharing Science with Auckland Families

In her spare time Ashleigh Fox, a Technical Officer in Biological Anthropology, works on an ambitious project: to raise science capital in New Zealand families by empowering adults to talk about science with their children.
 

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