Tak­ing a leaf out of sci­en­tists’ work

Central Leader - - NEWS -

An in­ter­me­di­ate school sci­ence teacher has taken two terms out of the class­room to work with sci­en­tists as part of the Royal So­ci­ety of New Zealand teacher fel­low­ship pro­gramme.

The pro­gramme was in­tro­duced in 2009 fol­low­ing a report from the Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Mon­i­tor­ing Project high­light­ing pri­mary school stu­dents’ de­creas­ing in­ter­est in sci­ence.

Teach­ers get to work with sci­en­tists at or­gan­i­sa­tions such as NIWA Sci­ence, Land­care Re­search and Plant & Food Re­search.

They then re­turn to their school and work with other teach­ers to in­tro­duce in­no­va­tive sci­ence pro­grammes for pupils.

New Wind­sor res­i­dent Wyn Mor­ris has fin­ished a five­month fel­low­ship with Plant & Food Re­search in Mt Al­bert.

He has been work­ing along­side sci­en­tists in­ves­ti­gat­ing the cause and spread of the ki­wifruit PSA bac­te­ria.

The Re­muera In­ter­me­di­ate teacher has learnt about plant pathol­ogy and spent time in the lab grow­ing and analysing bac­te­ria on slides to see how long it sur­vives.

He has also been out in the field at the Te Puke Plant & Food Re­search Sta­tion where he as­sisted sci­en­tists in their re­search on ki­wifruit culti- va­tion, the pos­si­ble con­nec­tion be­tween ci­cadas and the PSA disease and dif­fer­ent in­sec­ti­cide strengths.

Mr Mor­ris ap­plied for the fel­low­ship be­cause he felt ‘‘out of touch with sci­ence’’ and wanted to up­date his skills and get the ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing in a lab.

He’s ex­cited about the hands-on work he has done and the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence sci­ence in the real world.

He says the sci­en­tists he worked with ‘‘want to do it be­cause they love sci­ence and that’s what really touched me be­cause there’s pas­sion in it’’.

‘‘I think for me, if I’m teach­ing, I should have the same pas­sion,’’ he says.

Photo: RACHEL STURGES

Test­ing times: Wyn Mor­ris has worked with sci­en­tists look­ing at the pos­si­ble causes of PSA disease in ki­wifruit.

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