Learning in Science: The Waikato Research

Learning in Science: The Waikato Research

Learning in Science: The Waikato Research

Learning in Science: The Waikato Research

Synopsis

Learning in Science brings together accounts of the five influential and groundbreaking Learning in Science Projects, undertaken by the author over a period of twenty years. Offering comprehensive coverage of the findings and implications of the projects, the book offers insight and inspiration at all levels of science teaching and learning, from primary and secondary school science, to teacher development, and issues of classroom assessment. The book reviews the findings in the light of current science education, and is thematically organised to illuminate continuous and emerging themes and trends, including: * learning * pedagogy * assessment * Maori and science education * curriculum development as teacher development * and research methodology. Learning in Science will be a valuable resource for science teachers, science teacher educators, science education researchers, curriculum developers and policy makers.

Excerpt

The Waikato river is the longest and most developed river in Aotearoa, New Zealand, running through the land of Maori iwi of Tuwharetoa, Te Arawa and Tainui. The journey of 425 km begins on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu and the Tongariro National Park, on the central north island plateau, feeds into Lake Taupo, threads its way through the forestry plantations of Pinus radiata, and then through the Waikato basin and the city of Hamilton, past Taupiri, a sacred mountain for Maori, to the Waikato delta and Port Waikato, where it runs into the Tasman Sea, on the west coast just south of Auckland. The river is joined by numerous tributaries along its course, its main one being the Waipa river. The river sustains nine hydro-power stations and two geothermal stations. It has a gentle gradient but turbulent falls (such as the famous Huka falls) and wide sweeping stretches (such as around the Meremere district) which travellers see on their way from Auckland International Airport to Hamilton city. It is a river that brings life to the people who live along the river in Putararu, Cambridge, Hamilton, to those farming the area in forestry, dairy, cattle, race horses and deer, to the trout hatcheries and fishing, to the numerous bird varieties, and to the gardens and orchards of the region.

Maori have lived along the Waikato and Waipa rivers since around 1500AD. The Tainui waka arrived from East Polynesia to the west coast of the north island at Mokau, then Kawhia, between 1100 and 1300AD (King, 2003). Later Tainui moved inland to the Waikato and Waipa rivers and wetlands which became their main food sources. In the 1840s and 1850s (before the Land Wars and European settlement in the 1860s) Tainui had extensive gardens along the Waikato of kumera, yam, taro, and hue (gourd). By the 1850s, 2000 waka (canoes) were transporting produce to Auckland markets via the Waikato river. The river is sacred to Waikato Maori: Ngati Tuwharetoa and Tainui (the Tainui Federation which has four main divisions - Pare Hauraki, Ngaati Raukawa, Ngaati Maniapoto and Waikato) who see the river and the people as one. There is no separation. The river is enmeshed in their history, stories and world view, and the waters of the river were important for spiritual and physical cleansing. The Waikato river is a kaitiaki (guardian) to Tainui people. It is seen as a living entity; the river is alive. A healthy river means a healthy people - spiritually as well as physically.

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