Geology is not always about rocks – it can be exciting. It can also be extremely hazardous. New Zealanders know only too well the impact of the recent earthquakes in Christchurch.
Let’s look at something exciting – that is if you enjoy learning science. New Zealand’s science curriculum has recently introduced a new subject called Earth and Space Science. As a previous science teacher, I find this a beautiful subject. It allows students to increase their knowledge and curiosity in geological processes, extreme environments, natural hazards and planetary systems. Of course field trips and experiments are all part of the fun. Naturally, I would enjoy teaching volcanism and blowing a few things up in the lab.
Earth and Space Science was introduced to years 7 and 8 in 2008 and by 2015 for the senior students in years 12 and 13. Students are assessed both internally and externally through a number of different units covering the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. And let’s not forget space exploration – students like that one. Practical skills such as experimental design and report writing have also been included as teaching units.
Science teacher Jenny Pollock, was innovative in building the subject Earth and Space Science into the curriculum. Previously, it was taught indirectly through science as a general subject. Currently, only a few schools have introduced this new curriculum, but already it has been proving populating with students. There is already a website devoted to Earth and Space Science Education in New Zealand. I intend to find out more.