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Aquarium's new after school programme puts fun spin on science

An inflated puffer fish. Why do puffer fish inflate their bodies when threatened?  Why do tuatara hold their breath for over an hour?

Up to 10 lucky Year 7 and 8 students have the opportunity to find out the answers to these questions, and more, next week when a new free after school programme begins at the National Aquarium of New Zealand.

From Wednesday, 25 May, up to 10 students will spend an hour a week with the Aquarium educators, learning more about how animals live, behave and survive in their habitats and ecosystems.

“It’s a great way to show children science can be fun, and great preparation for them heading into their high school years,” Education Team Leader, Carol Larson says.

The programme is based on the New Zealand Science Curriculum. The educators will guide the students through gathering and interpreting data, building diagrams of food chains, classifying animals into groups, and learning the difference between observation and inference.

The Aquarium also runs special programmes as well as their suite of education programmes for school age children. This term they include: Biodiversity Day, aimed at Year 1 to 3 students, and the annual two-day Meeting of the Minds for talented and gifted children, from Years 5 through to 8. This year’s theme is Survival Aquarium.

The students have the option of completing an online project as well, to put them in the running for the Jock McKenzie Award. The Award is named after a Massey University science education adviser who had a lot of contact with local schools, and who died in 2007.

On 15 June at a cost of $10 Year 7 to 10 students can attend Careers in Working with Animals, aimed at showing students how science works in everyday life. They will have the opportunity to meet people working in jobs that involve science, such as veterinarians, the Department of Conservation and Ministry of Primary Industries.

For more information about these programmes please contact Carol Larson, Education Team Leader at the National Aquarium of New Zealand on 06 833 5424 or email

12 May 2017

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