Our Far South Roadshow
Tuesday, July 17th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Tuesday, July 17th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Monday, July 16th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Don’t forget that we are offering on-line tutorials to all 2012 OUASSA students for Biology, Chemistry and Physics as well as Scholarship – sit in and listen, bring your questions and make the most of the tutorial support available to YOU!
You have been emailed a Google Form to complete regarding tutorial support – so get it filled out asap and we can make a start scheduling your on-line support!
In the mean time…. check out Studyit. http://www.studyit.org.nz/studyandexam/study.html
Friday, July 13th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
For those of you interested, here is the link to the physics outreach page at the University of Otago. There are useful links aimed at teachers but these links will also be useful to many of our OUASSA students also. http://www.physics.otago.ac.nz/node/89 –
Physics World has published its Physics and Sport issue in the run-up to the Olympics. It can be downloaded for free for a limited (but unspecified) time from http://physicsworld.com/cws/download/jul2012.
Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
<!–Tel: +64 3 479 7931
–><!–Location: Science II, 5n4
What was hopefully obvious from last month’s column was that pH is far from a simple concept. For starters, it is a logarithmic function. In simple terms, this means that a change of 1 pH unit corresponds to a 10-fold change in the hydronium ion concentration – at the risk of upsetting the chemistry purists, one could say that a solution of pH 3 is 10 times as acidic as one of pH 4. To put this in a more understandable context, suppose we had 1 litre of a solution of pH 3 – if we added 9 litres of water to this (i.e. a 10-fold dilution) the final solution would have a pH of 4.
The useful pH scale ranges from 0 (a very acidic solution) to 14 (a very basic solution). Because of its logarithmic nature, this means that it spans a hydronium ion concentration range of 1 × 1014, or 100,000,000,000,000, between these pH values. To give some idea of the pH values of common substances, lemon juice, for example, has a pH around 2.3, orange juice, around 3.5, milk, around 6.7, seawater, around 8, household ammonia, around 11.5, and oven cleaner can be as high as 13, depending on its composition. Although it is supposedly common knowledge that pure water at 25 °C has a pH of 7.00, measurement of the pH of a sample of any water under all but the most stringently controlled conditions will yield a value somewhere between 5 and 6; this is because the water sample will contain dissolved carbon dioxide from the air, which renders the water very slightly acidic through formation of small amounts of ‘carbonic acid’.
So this is where we get to the importance of pH. Nature has evolved so that many of its important chemical reactions, particularly those that occur in living systems, are optimised to occur at particular pH values. If the pH of the system becomes too high or too low, then critical chemical reactions are impeded, and this can be fatal for the organism. For example, normal human blood has a pH between 7.35 and 7.45 – if our blood pH lowered to 7 or increased to 8, we would probably die. Nature has therefore developed a series of chemical species we call buffers, which ensure that the pH of blood does not change significantly.
Sadly, despite all I have written here, a true appreciation of exactly what pH means is contingent on understanding the mole, a chemical concept which is usually first introduced in 6th form (Year 12) Chemistry and is not necessarily understood by all even when University rolls around. My explanation of pH has only scratched the surface and is extremely simplistic – but hopefully it had given you some idea of what pH is all about.
Of course, the fact that pH is conceptually difficult doesn’t stop advertisers telling us that their clients’ products are ‘pH balanced’ ‘pH neutralising’, and other such meaningless terms. Treat all such claims with caution.
Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Friday, June 15th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
The Bachelor of Science (BSc) is a three-year undergraduate degree which enables each student to develop his or her own interests in a science subject (science major) and related subjects. Students have the flexibility to combine their major subject with other science subjects, as well as subjects from other disciplines across the University.
Students may be invited to participate in the four-year Honours degree programme based on their academic performance at the end of their first, second or third year of study in the BSc degree.
Follow the link below to help start planning a degree around what interests you. If you have any questions, bring them to camp with you and we can get all of the answers you need!
Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Monday, June 11th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Wednesday, June 6th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Well OUASSA students, the July camp is rapidly approaching and we are getting very excited to be hosting you at Otago University again.
You will soon recieve (via email) a copy of the Student Handbook with the final details regarding the July Camp. Included in this information will be the final copy of the timetable as well as all of the important things you will need to remember to pack.
Please take the time to read the information regarding your project options eg if you do Geography you will see that you will need to find your handout from the January camp. If you do Zoology, Marine Science or Geography you will see that you will have a field component to your projects and will have to bring extra warm clothes/wet weather gear etc.
You will all also need to find and bring with you your clean OUASSA t-shirt.
Remember is you have any questions or concerns, please email me directly at OUASSA@otago.ac.nz.
Kind regards and keep warm!
Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
About the festival
From the strange to the serious, the NZ International Science Festival brings Dunedin alive this winter. With everything from hands on workshops for the kids through to the science behind why we take risks and international guest speakers there will be something for all ages. At times you’ll be shocked, scared or surprised as we bring a side to science that you’ve never seen before
When: 30th June through to 8th July
Check out the website: http://www.scifest.org.nz/
You will also see information about the Science Idol competition on this site – you may even recognise Tom McFadden (one of our most memorable greenshirt helpers!). Tom is touring nationally at the moment so keep an eye out as he may even be coming to a school near you!
Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Late last month, a soccer ball that had washed up on Middleton Island in the Gulf of Alaska, was discovered by a technician at the radar station there. The ball was found to have come from a school in Japan, some 6000 km away, which was struck by the Tsunami of March 11th, 2011. In addition to the enormous amount of debris swept into the Pacific Ocean, the Tsunami also caused extensive damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant, and released significant amounts of radioactive material into the environment.
It is a tragedy that the cities of Fukushima, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Chernobyl will for ever be associated with the word “radioactivity”. It is, in my opinion, fair to say that a significant number of people think of radioactivity as resulting solely from the actions of human beings, by way of nuclear power stations or nuclear weapons, and that it didn’t exist prior to the 20th century. So it may come as some surprise to you that your body, my body, and, indeed, the bodies of everybody on planet Earth, are teeming with radioactive atoms, the majority of which derive from a natural source – the element potassium.
Potassium (elemental symbol K) is an essential element for life. Humans require around two to four grams a day, and this is generally obtained from such foods as potatoes, spinach and bananas. But it turns out that, of all the potassium atoms we ingest, a small percentage are radioactive. Natural potassium consists of three isotopes, 39K, 40K and 41K. All three contain 19 positively-charged protons in their nucleus, but differ in the number of neutrons – 20, 21 and 22, respectively. The 40K isotope is radioactive, and comprises about 0.012% of all the atoms of potassium on Earth. It has a half-life of just over one billion years, meaning that one half of any sample of 40K will disappear over this time, and it decays by emitting beta particles and gamma rays, both of which are potentially harmful to humans.
An ‘average’ 75 kg person contains about 150 g of potassium. Of that 150 g, 0.018 g is due to the radioactive 40K isotope. This might not sound much, but when this mass is converted to an actual number of atoms, we find that it corresponds to about 270,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms of radioactive potassium in the body. That’s a lot. Given the billion year half-life of this isotope, you might perhaps expect that not many of these atoms would decay over our lifetime, but again, you may be surprised to find that around 7000 40K atoms decay per second. Each of these decays can potentially lead to DNA mutation, and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it! Obviously it is impossible for us to gauge the health effects of these radioactive decays, as it’s rather difficult to prepare a potassium-free human.
Like it or not, natural radioactivity, whether it be in the form of 40K, the most abundant radioactive isotope in the body, 14C, which we ingest primarily through breathing in 14CO2 from the air, or literally hundreds of other radioactive isotopes, is ubiquitous, and will always be with us – well, at least for the next few billion years, anyway.
Monday, May 21st, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Hi OUASSA Students,
Just a reminder that your My Synthesis note in Knowledge Forum is due by Friday of this week (the 25th of May). This is a compulsory task for you all to complete.
The Marine Science Group are leading the charge with some really well written notes. Have a read of these and you may find that you could use some of them as a guideline to compose your own Synthesis note i.e. they give you an idea of what is required and provide a good starting point for building your own note. Likewise, the Maths Group have also got the ball rolling and have made some great contributions. Well done guys!
If you are yet to do your My Synthesis note – please make sure you set aside some time to do so before Friday.
If you need help – or are struggling with the KF programme or access then please email me directly.
All details of the task required have been sent to your personal email and are also in KF itself.
Friday, May 18th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Wednesday, May 16th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
US science rapper Tom McFadden is hitting the road from 20th May on his New Zealand tour – visiting schools from Auckland to Dunedin thanks to support from the US Embassy and Klablab. Science Idol is a way of sharing Tom’s contagious passion for biology, rap, and making science fun.
Get involved and enter your own science rap, and you could win a trip to Dunedin for you and a guardian to get your rap professionally recorded – just pick a topic that has something to do with “what makes us tick?” and then get all creative!
We’ll update you on how to enter soon, so keep updated by signing up for the newsletter or facebook site
Your song can be rap, pop, or punk. It can be an original or a cover. Perform it by yourself or with a group. Not feeling musical? It can even be spoken word.
Get scientific, get creative and have fun! As long as your performance is accurate, entertaining and conveys a scientific concept, you are good to go.
If you still have more questions – contact us at email@example.com
Friday, May 11th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
A huge thank you to those of you who attended the 2011 OUASSA Lunch held on campus on Wednesday. It was so lovely to see you all again, to hear how well you are doing and how the Academy impacted on your tertiary pathways/career options.
Please be sure to keep in touch!
Kind regards The OUASSA Team
Tuesday, May 8th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
An excellent website with the latest news and research developments. http://www.sciencealert.com.au/ There are many great articles to read and links to follow…. here is an example of a good article about human endogenous rhythms and the potential role of the liver. All of you Y13 Biology students will be studying biological timing mechanisims in preparation for the external AS ‘Describe animal behaviour and plant responses in relation to environmental factors’.
Liver helps ‘set’ body clock
|The University of Sydney|
|Friday, 04 May 2012|
A disrupted body clock can cause a higher risk of obesity and diabetes, but this breakthrough suggets a new target for treatments to ‘reset’ the clock.
International travellers, shift workers and even people suffering from obesity-related conditions stand to benefit from a key discovery about the functioning of the body’s internal clock.
Monday, May 7th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
June 13 2O12, ENTRIES CLOSE MAY 16 2O12
Friday, May 4th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
It will be 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than any other full moon this year, the US space agency NASA says.
Known as a “perigee moon”, it occurs when the moon reaches its closest point to Earth.
The full moon will occur at 3.35pm on Sunday, New Zealand time, but will not be visible here until moonrise over New Zealand at 5.23pm.
With a clear sky, it guarantees Sunday night will be a bright one.
NASA says the super moon has a reputation for trouble, causing high tides, making dogs howl and keeping people awake.
The space agency says the best time to look at it is when the moon is near the horizon.
“For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, low-hanging moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects.
“This moon illusion will amplify a full moon that’s extra-big to begin with. The swollen orb rising in the east at sunset should seem super indeed.”
Super perigee moons are fairly common, with the moon becoming full within a few hours of its closest approach to Earth about once a year on average.
The last such event occurred on March 19 last year, producing a full moon that was almost 400km closer than this one.
The “super moon” will produce spring tides around New Zealand, with a 3.6 metre high tide at 7.51am on Monday in Auckland.
By Michael Field
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Hey OUASSA Students,
Just a bit of house keeping from me…. this is a friendly reminder that you need to be going into KF once a week throughout the reaminder of this term in the lead up to the July camp. The expectation is a half an hour of your time per week. If you know that you are perhaps not contributing the way that you could be, now would be an ideal time to start. Remember that if you have any problems logging in etc just email me directly and I will do my best to get any issues sorted.
Those of you who are regular KF contributors – keep up the good work!
Monday, April 30th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
What is believed to be a Maui’s dolphin was found dead by a member of the public in Taranaki last week. The dolphin was found on a beach near Pungarehu, south of New Plymouth.
It was collected by the Conservation Department and taken to Massey University for an autopsy.
It is not yet known if the dead dolphin is a Maui, of which only 54 are believed to be left, or a closely related Hector’s dolphin. The latest population survey found a couple of Hector’s mingling further north than usual with Maui’s dolphins.
If confirmed, it would be the second Maui’s dolphin found dead in Taranaki this year. Another, a female, was accidentally killed by a fisherman in January.
Otago University zoology professor Liz Slooten said the species was at a level where any loss would have a huge impact.
“Basically all bets are off already, natural processes could take them away. If we stopped catching them in fishing nets tomorrow we would still hold our breath … so we really need to pull out all the stops or soon we’ll go past the point of no return.”
Set net bans are imposed on the coastline between Dargaville to north Taranaki.
“As a biologist it’s really frustrating. I’ve done surveys there and wrote an article in 2005 to say the Maui is going much further south than the protected area,” Prof Slooten said.
The Fisheries Act included allowances for emergency protection measures to be put in place “literally overnight” in cases of sudden stock declines or unprecedented events, she said.
Submissions on laws to further protect the Maui’s dolphins closed on Friday. The laws want to extend the current ban on set nets along the west coast of the North Island and also extend a marine mammal sanctuary.
The fishing industry will argue against the ban, saying the dolphins have not been seen in the Taranaki area for years.
Keith Mawson, of Egmont Seafoods in Taranaki, earlier told the Seafood Industry Council that a proposal to extend the set net ban was a knee-jerk reaction. A ban would be disappointing for the fishing community, which was being used as a “scapegoat”, he said. By Michelle Robinson and Shane Cowlishaw.
– © Fairfax NZ News
Friday, April 20th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Dear OUASSA students
Knowledge Forum: We have just completed another round of statistics analysis based on the work you are doing in Knowledge Forum. The good news is that some of you are making a genuine effort to involve yourselves in the on-line discussions either by providing interesting notes, building-on and/or annotating the notes of others. However, there are quite a few of you who are not meeting the commitment of just 1 post per week. If you are having technical difficulties getting into Knowledge Forum you need to let us know right away so we can try fix it from this end.
There are a number of different views that you can be contributing. Primarily the focus for you should be on building up project related discussions based in your Project A groups (Marine Science, Zoology, Physics and Maths).
Towards the end of May we will be asking each of you to synthesise your Project A discussions in a Synthesis Post. In this post you will identify the knowledge built for you from the discussion. So you have approximately 4 weeks to get yourselves involved! We will provide the instructions for this task soon.
Don’t forget, there are also views on the main curriculum areas (biology, Chemistry and Physics) where you can find Achievement Objectives, ask questions, request help etc and we will gladly support you. The introductory exercise views on three world problems are still up and running and actively being contributed to be some of you. And there are two more recent views on Knowledge Building and Knowledge Forum Support. You are free to contribute to any or all of these views.
Please remember that the expectation we have of you is one contribution per week! That equates to about 20-30mins input.
OUASSA Resource Site: This is a dynamic site that offers useful resources and links to all things Science related. We recently had some pleasing feedback stating how great the site has been for a Year 13 student and how it will be his go-to site for Year 13 curriculum support. It is hoped that you are utilising this resource also. Your feedback would be appreciated. https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/ouassa/
Medical Information: As requested via email: please be sure to send Kate details of any medical conditions you have. If none, you still need to reply with your Doctor`s name and contact telephone number. This information is important for our Health and Safety responsibilities while you are in our care in July. It is treated as confidential.
Travel Bookings: There are just 5 students left yet to confirm their travel bookings through Kylie at Orbit House of Travel. If you have not had a FINAL itinerary that you have accepted from Kylie you will need to check your emails and reply to her or email Kate directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any other requests or questions, we are here to help so please don’t hesitate to email us.
The OUASSA Team
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
This website has a huge quantity of resources and links to some really fasinating sites. This site would be a good go-to site for background science reading, information gathering and for studying just some of what you will be covering in your classes.
The site covers Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Electronics and even Photography.
Monday, April 16th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
This is a very iinteresting clip from the TED talks. Interesting for keen biologists and students with an interest in garphics, animations, etc.
Medical animator David Bolinsky presents 3 minutes of stunning animation that show the bustling life inside a cell.
David Bolinsky and his team illustrate scientific and medical concepts with high-drama animation. You’ve never seen the life of a cell quite like this.
Each of us has about 100,000 [kinesins] running around, right now, inside each one of your 100 trillion cells. So no matter how lazy you feel, you’re not really intrinsically doing nothing.” (David Bolinsky)
Friday, March 30th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
This website is aimed at promoting accurate, bias free reporting on science and technology by helping the media work more closely with the scientific community.
This website could be really good for your general wider reading as well as for research for possible internals in Level 3 Biology and the likes.
Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
ScienceDaily (Mar. 23, 2012) — Nodding off in class may not be such a bad idea after all. New research from the University of Notre Dame shows that going to sleep shortly after learning new material is most beneficial for recall.
Notre Dame psychologist Jessica Payne and colleagues studied 207 students who habitually slept for at least six hours per night. Participants were randomly assigned to study declarative, semantically related or unrelated word pairs at 9 a.m. or 9 p.m., and returned for testing 30 minutes, 12 hours or 24 hours later. Declarative memory refers to the ability to consciously remember facts and events, and can be broken down into episodic memory (memory for events) and semantic memory (memory for facts about the world). People routinely use both types of memory every day — recalling where we parked today or learning how a colleague prefers to be addressed.
At the 12-hour retest, memory overall was superior following a night of sleep compared to a day of wakefulness. However, this performance difference was a result of a pronounced deterioration in memory for unrelated word pairs; there was no sleep-wake difference for related word pairs. At the 24-hour retest, with all subjects having received both a full night of sleep and a full day of wakefulness, subjects’ memories were superior when sleep occurred shortly after learning, rather than following a full day of wakefulness.
“Our study confirms that sleeping directly after learning something new is beneficial for memory. What’s novel about this study is that we tried to shine light on sleep’s influence on both types of declarative memory by studying semantically unrelated and related word pairs,” Payne says.
“Since we found that sleeping soon after learning benefited both types of memory, this means that it would be a good thing to rehearse any information you need to remember just prior to going to bed. In some sense, you may be ‘telling’ the sleeping brain what to consolidate.”
Monday, March 26th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
There is nothing like being super-prepared for external examinations! Here is the link to the NCEA external examination timetable for 2012.
Monday, March 26th, 2012 | hamvi58p | 1 Comment
I found this in a Google search for Y13 Biology Resources. This may be a useful revision accessory for you… I would recommend that you use this in conjunction with your own class notes.
Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
My students do little chemistry. By this, I don’t mean to impugn their reputation by suggesting their work habits aren’t all that they could be. Rather, I’m saying that they do chemistry on a small scale. They measure masses in milligrams or grams, and volumes in millilitres whenever they carry out chemical reactions. There is generally no need to work on larger scales, as no new information will be obtained. Financial considerations also often play a part in determining how much material is used in any reaction – chemicals can be surprisingly expensive!
On the other hand, some researchers do big chemistry, whose scale is limited only by their imaginations (and money again, of course). Big chemistry usually requires the collaboration of lots of research groups around the world and is often aimed at addressing big questions. One such example of big chemistry recently resulted in a group based in the Chemistry Department at the University of Otago, along with workers at NIWA in Wellington, winning the Prime Minister’s Science Prize for 2011. The big question these workers addressed was ‘what can we do to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere?’
It is a fact that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are increasing. This could potentially lead to both an increase in the Earth’s temperature, and the oceans becoming more acidic, neither of which would be beneficial to life on this planet. It therefore makes sense to plan for such eventualities, and investigate ways in which carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere could be controlled if necessary. And this is where the work of the groups at Otago and NIWA becomes relevant. It had been proposed that phytoplankton in the oceans could potentially absorb significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis, the process by which green plants convert carbon dioxide to organic materials and oxygen. While this hypothesis could potentially be tested in the laboratory, it would really take a large scale experiment to demonstrate its viability.
And a large scale experiment it was. Truly big chemistry. It involved seeding a small area of the Southern Ocean with iron (about 1.7 tonnes!), to encourage the growth of phytoplankton, and then monitoring the changes in carbon dioxide levels, using a variety of methods including satellite surveys. You can imagine the wealth of coordination and cooperation required to carry out such a study. The results were interesting; while it was found that enhanced absorption of carbon dioxide into the ocean did occur in the seeded areas, it was also found that the phytoplankton themselves released other potent greenhouse gases, such as nitrous oxide, into the atmosphere. This demonstrated that such an approach would not be effective at mitigating greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.
This might appear at first sight to be a negative result, but thanks to the big chemistry carried out, we now know that we must look for other ways to avert the deleterious effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The Prime Minister’s Science Prize is worth $500,000. Given that a Nobel Prize is worth $1.8 million, I think that’s pretty generous. Time to get my students working harder…
Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Hi to all of the OUASSA 2011 students,
We are keen to hear what your plans are for 2012, whether you are studying (what and where), taking a break/gap year, travelling, volunteering abroad and on so. Please send Kate an email at OUASSA@otago.ac.nz and spread the word among your 2011 OUASSA friends that we are really interested in catching up.
Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
This website is a great place to spend some time looking into what you are interested in and what tertiary study options are out there for you.
The smart way to learn about NZ university majors! Create your own ranking of major subject areas? based on your skills and interests.
No Major Drama helps you learn about majors for Bachelor degrees from across all eight New Zealand universities* and rank them based on your skills and interests.
(*Auckland University of Technology, Lincoln University, Massey University, University of Auckland, University of Canterbury, University of Otago, University of Waikato, Victoria University of Wellington)
No Major Drama is designed to help you answer what’s likely to be one of the most important questions you’ll face in your life: What should I ‘major’ (specialise) in at university?
This question is important because of the lifetime benefits – and costs! – associated with university education. It’s also of national significance given education’s social and economic value and the scarcity of education resources.
Based on your skills and interests, No Major Drama lets you create your own personalised ranking of 181 major subject areas – eg. Accounting, Music, Zoology, etc – representing 730 specific majors for Bachelor degrees from across all eight NZ universities.
(If you are unsure of what ‘majors’ and ‘subject areas’ are, visit our terminology page.)
As well as personalised rankings, No Major Drama provides summaries of each subject area and links to carefully chosen Wikipedia articles, career opportunities, and links to the eight universities’ web pages for all 730 specific majors available in NZ.
No Major Drama is quick and easy to use (5-10 minutes), and you can share your results with your parents and family, school counsellors and friends by email or on Facebook.
Created by Graduate Factory Ltd, No Major Drama is completely free – for individual users and schools. Schools can easily create customised versions of the software for their students.
Monday, March 19th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Friday, March 16th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
For all of you mad keen scientists (that should be all of you!!!!) here is a link to Googles Science Fair site. It runs you through all that you need to do to create and complete a science fair project. Some of you may already have something underway and so keep up the good work. Good luck and let us know if you are submitting an entry or if you need support with any aspect of your project.
Monday, March 12th, 2012 | hamvi58p | 1 Comment
Many of you may already be using this site, but it you are not, then I thoroughlly recommend taking the time to have a look around and print off some of the useful resources within.
There are flash cards, revision activities/notes, test yourself activities and powerpoint presentations etc. The site has been created and is maintained by a group of NZ high school teachers with knowledge and expertise in the NZ curriculum as well as NCEA.
You could even recommend this site to your subject teachers as they too would find it useful.
Friday, March 9th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
This website is designed to be a one stop shop for chemistry teachers. It contains internal and external assessment resources, teaching resources, news, interesting articles about chemistry in the community or cutting edge research, information about chemistry education initiatives, competitions, links to other useful web pages and you will get rapid responses to chemistry queries via our questions page.
The site is supported by the University of Canterbury Outreach Programme, the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry (NZIC) and Victoria University of Wellington.
There is an extensive question and answer archive on the site, courtesy of Ian Torrie. It covers a wide and extensive variety of questions that have been asked by chemistry teachers since the introduction of NCEA. They range from the trivial to the bizarre and while they are not “official” responses in all cases a variety of “expert” and experienced sources have been used to give the best answer available at the time.
Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 | hamvi58p | Comments Off on Struggling with Genetics?
This link is to a website from the University of Utah. It covers the basics of Y12-Y13 Genetics and covers such topics as ‘What is DNA? What is a chromosome? What is a protein? What is Heredity? What are traits?’ etc
The pace is slow enough that you can make your own notes during the animation or you can simply click through frame by frame and work at your own pace.
There is also a link to ‘What is Meiosis and Mitosis?’ that many of you will find useful to cement these concepts.
Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Please let us know if you need any academic support with any of your Y13 Science Subjects and we will gladly organise tutorial suppport, additional readings, contacts with relevant University staff, help with resourcing materials, references etc.
If there are common themes emerging we can also post views in Knowledge Forum to source relevant information that can be shared among the 2012 cohort.
Email any requests you have to email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you.
Monday, March 5th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
To tie in with the latest Nature Outlook, Lenses on Biology, the Nature Communities team asked five biological scientists at different stages of their education or careers to tell their personal stories in a guest blog post. Each scientist studies, works or has an interest in one of the five research fields featured in Lenses on Biology ― cancer, stem cells, synthetic biology, ocean health and climate change ― and they share what motivates them in their chosen subject. You can read their stories below, and discuss your own motivations here or on the posts in question.
Monday, March 5th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Below is a link to a really useful and interesting website for teachers (and senior managers) in schools. The e-teaching newsletter is a weekly publication with great strategies for effective classroom engagement and subsequent teaching and learning. A sample of a recent publication can be seen at the link as well as details outlining subscription costs.
Suggest to your Senior Manager Team or Principal that this publication may be a good one for all classroom teachers in your school to have access to.
Friday, March 2nd, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Passion for learning Pru Casey. This is the link to the Power Point presentation by Pru Casey, as presented at our January 2012 Teacher PD workshop.
Her contact details can be found on the last slide.
Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
“Chemistry Matters” is an ongoing monthly column by Dr Allan Blackman of the University of Otago’s Chemistry Department, on
topical chemistry subjects of interest to the general public, published in the
Otago Daily Times newspaper, and reproduced on the Chemistry Outreach website. His articles are interesting and are all about chemistry and the world around us.
The University of Otago has a great Chemistry Outreach team and on their website you will also find many more useful links to chemistry related topics.
Monday, February 27th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Friday, February 24th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
This site has been reccommended by Esther Haines from The Phyisics Department here at the Univeristy of Otago as a very useful site for Physics students and teachers alike.
Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
If you are having trouble logging into KF, try the suggestions below from Ken Pullar our KF Technical Support person.
We have had some feedback to say that some of you are having problems logging in in the enhanced version of the software…
Students should check (as well as making sure ‘popups’ from
knowledgeforum1.otago.ac.nz are allowed on the
particular browser they’re using), that Java (latest version) has
been installed (get it from http://java.com ).
Monday, February 20th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
High quality revision materials using S-cool’s straight forward 3 steps to success process. This site is from the UK and has a sepcific section for A-level revision (Senior Science). Each of your classroom subjects will be found on this website.
1. Revise it
Check you know the main principles by reviewing the list of different topic areas, either click on the topic heading to quick learn the whole topic or pick individual principles to brush up.
2. Test it
Now you have learnt the main principles, test yourself with these sample questions. If you get stuck, go back and review the principle again.
Exam style questions
3. Remember it
Print these out and carry them with you!
Friday, February 17th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Below is the link to the ESA Publications website. Hopefully all of you will be focussed on achieving to the very best of your ability at the end of the year and during your internal assessments. These books offer great support for a vast number of subjects at Y13 level. They are useful for end of topic tests also and have full vocab lists for all of that tricky terminology (especially useful for Bio!). I highly reccommend these books as a useful support tool.
Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Welcome to The State of Science, a series in which Australia’s leading scientists give a snapshot of their discipline. This is not a “defence” of science, nor an attack on those who reject scientific consensus. It is an in-depth, sometimes playful, look at how science works, how it affects our lives and, yes, how and where it can go wrong. Enjoy.
This is the first part of The State of Science. To read the other instalments, follow the links at the bottom of the first page of the link. Series one – fourteen.
Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Monday, February 13th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
A great website for students and teachers covering all aspects of cell biology from Y9 through to Y13 plus. The site has great animations as well as images, quiz questions and so on. Would reccommend!
Friday, February 10th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
This site has been reccommended by our Applied Mathematics Project Leader as a great site for teachers and students alike. This site has fun games, resources, worksheets etc for all curriculum levels and abilities. Pass it on to your students/Maths Department/Homework Centre at your school.
Friday, February 10th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
This is an international research-oriented science camp, in which that about 100 students from more than 11 countries participate. It is
a two-week program that consists of science and engineering research in top-level university facilities, field trips to major institutes/industries,
cultural experiences and much more. Funding to assist with international travel is available from the Talented School Students Travel Award fund. Website: http://www.rsnz.org/funding/talent/ Students must be studying physics and chemistry to be eligible to attend. (See below on how to apply)
(Australia New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science) 29 June –
finishing morning of Friday 7 July, Dunedin Yr12 and Yr13 students This is a week-long residential event based in Dunedin that will coincide with the International Science Festival. 25 Australian secondary school students will attend together with up to 20 New Zealand secondary school students. The week will involve visits to science organizations and social activities as well as being involved in the International Science Festival. Students will be heavily subsidized by the Freemasons Travel Award however each student will need to pay $300.00 to attend. Students must be studying at least two science subjects to be eligible to attend. (see below on how to apply)
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT APPLYING FOR THE ABOVE OPPORTUNITIES
Criteria: Students must either be a New Zealand citizen or have permanent New Zealand residency, Students who apply should be excellent communicators and have a passion and aptitude for science in general or a particular area of science. Students should at studying
at least 2 of the following sciences being Biology, Chemistry or Physics, Students who are involved in Extra Curricular science activities could be at an advantage. Please send: 3 copies of your application which must be unstapled and unbound. Each application needs to include: Letter of recommendation from the HOD Science which has to be co-signed by the Principal; Letter from applicant outlining why they think they would make a good candidate for selection. A verified copy of NCEA results or equivalent, Brief CV (please include email address – maximum 2 pages), Verified copy of passport or birth certificate, Application form. Download from http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/programmes/competitions/international-secondary/
You may apply for one or more events if you are eligible. Complete applications must be received by 5.00pm on 30 March 2012 and sent to Debbie Woodhall, The Royal Society of New Zealand, PO Box 598, 4 Halswell Street,
Wellington. Fax: 04 473 1841, Phone 04 470 5762, Email: Debbie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Late applications will not be accepted.
Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
I was feeling a bit poorly a couple of weeks ago, so I crawled from my
sickbed and made one of my relatively infrequent trips to the Doctor, who
prescribed a course of antibiotics. While remaining bedridden and feeling very
sorry for myself, I had occasion to recall the interesting genesis of the first
synthetic antibiotic. It’s all to do with dyes, and a father’s great love for
Up until a couple of hundred years ago, brightly coloured clothes were almost exclusively the domain of the rich, as the dyes used had to be sourced from either plants or animals. The colouration of one of Julius Caesar’s purple robes, for example, reputedly came from the extracts of 10,000 molluscs, while to dye anything crimson required lots and lots of cochineal insects from far-off Mexico.
However, all this changed thanks to William Perkin, who in 1856, at the
ridiculously young age of 18, patented the first synthetic dye, the
purple-coloured mauveine. His discovery changed the chemical industry overnight,
and spurred an enormous amount of research into other synthetic dyes – indeed,
the chemical giant BASF was founded in 1865 for this very purpose.
In 1925, BASF, along with five other chemical companies, merged to form I.G.
Farben (‘Farben’ is an abbreviation of the German word for ‘dye industry’) and
it was to here that the German pathologist Gerhard Domagk took a leave of
absence from his Professorship at the University of Münster in order to further
his studies on bacterial infections. He was working on a virulent form of
streptococcus, and wanted to be able to ‘stain’ the bacteria so they could be
easily visualised. For this, he used a class of simple, highly-coloured
molecules called azo dyes, and found to his surprise that some of these showed
promising activity against the bacteria. Chemical modification of one particular
azo dye gave a molecule called Prontosil, and in 1932, Domagk showed that this
protected mice against lethal doses of streptococci.
While this was a huge breakthrough, it was by no means certain that Prontosil
would be as effective in humans. And here, fate intervened. In 1935, Domagk’s 6
year-old daughter, Hildegard, pricked herself with a needle and suffered a
streptococcal infection – in those days, such infections were often fatal. She
was rushed to the doctor, who recommended amputation of the arm to save her
life. Domagk, aghast at the suggestion, gave her a dose of Prontosil – two days
later the infection had subsided and, soon after, she was discharged from
hospital. This incident, along with other somewhat more controlled clinical
trials, confirmed Prontosil as the world’s first effective synthetic
Domagk was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1939.
However, a law passed by the Nazis forbade any German citizen from accepting the
award, and he did not make the journey to Stockholm until 1947. Sadly, while he
was awarded the diploma and the medal, he didn’t receive the monetary portion of
While Prontosil was soon overtaken by Penicillin as the antibiotic of choice,
Domagk’s work laid the foundations for all modern synthetic antibiotics. For
this, we should be very grateful.
Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 | hamvi58p | No Comments
We hope you are settling into your Year 13 year at High School and that you had a fabulous time in Dunedin during your OUASSA January experience. We certainly enjoyed meeting you all and we will soon be busy arranging the timetable for July.
If you have any photos that you would like to share could you please email them to us at email@example.com.
Likewise, please use this site to share any interetsing, inspiring or amazing Science resources that you think may be of use to the Academy Community. Or email the links and a brief description to me and I can post them for you:-)
Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 | hamvi58p | No Comments
->Covers human evolution, this website has excellent video coverage and resources
site applying genetics to examples
->Genetics applications, an excellent site
-> Gene Almanac, an awesome interactive
-> DNA from the beginning, an excellent summary of level 3 genetics
-> DNA Interactive, excellent case studies as applications of genetic practises and processes, an awesome site with case study approaches to assist in exam prep (especially for schol exam).
-> NZ evolution examples, excellent site for evolution with lots of good NZ examples.
-> Inheritance of haemophilia, an interesting case study, good practice for thinking.
-> NZ science research, home grown examples of applications of science, a good site.
->Royal Society of NZ webiste, Gamma Series, Science behind the news, great articles modelling good writing.
-> scholarship information, details of scholarship, an essential for scholarship candidates.
-> Biology Scholarship Information, details of exams etc, an essential for scholarship candidates.
->NCEA on TKI supplementary materials, summary of genetics and evolution at level 3
->NCEA on TKI supplementary materials, summary of Plant and Animal and ecology knowledge required for level 3 and scholarship
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011 | hamvi58p | No Comments
We hope everything is going well and that you are gearing up for your externals in November. If you are after scholarship support material in Bio/Chem/Physics and Math we can arrange access to the support material provided through Otagonet. You can access this material whenever you want and can work through a vast array of very useful resources/activities/readings and questions. Simply email me (Kate) at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will sort your log in and password details.
We are also in the process of arranging on-line tutorials for those of you after some extra support using OtagoConnect software. We will email you with details soon, alternatively email me and let me know if you are interested.
Keep up the good work,
Friday, September 16th, 2011 | hamvi58p | No Comments
This site has a vast number of resources covering much of your Y13 curriculum content… Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Maths (Calc and Stats) etc. Useful tutorials to watch when you are sick of writing out your own study notes etc and just want to keep learning….
Friday, September 2nd, 2011 | hamvi58p | No Comments
You’ll obvioulsy know by now if you are doing Biology Scholarship at the end of the year. If so, as you’ll know already your best preparation is to read as widely as possible on all things biology related. Here is the link to guidelines and exemplars from the NZQA website.
Also, as mentioned in an earlier post, the website that I would most recommend to teachers and students alike is the Teachers Domain site: http://www.teachersdomain.org/collection/k12/sci/. Make some time to have a look at the resources for wider reading, animations, powerpoints etc on all manner of science related topics. This site will really help you with developing wider thinking skills to get your responses in exams up to that Merit and Excellence level that you are all striving for!
Tell your science teacher about the Teachers Domain site and this OUASSA site and make their day!
Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Check out the section called ‘Background Essay’….. brilliant for your revision, here is a sneak peak.
‘When explaining a breakup, couples will often say, “We grew apart,” or “We both changed in different ways.” That’s a good metaphor for how species are formed: members of a population somehow begin to diverge, usually as a result of being geographically separated from each other. Eventually, they can no longer interbreed, and at that point a new species has formed.
Yet if the two groups continued to live near each other, it’s likely that mating attempts between naturally varying members of the two populations would tend to allow the species to merge again. This is called “gene flow” between the two groups. What keeps this from happening, and what allows new species to arise and endure, are what are known as “isolating mechanisms.” These are either behavioral or structural differences between species that make mating impossible……’ see website for remainder of article.
Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 | hamvi58p | No Comments
The Origin of Species
This is a great website for those wanting to apply themselves to what has been taught in the classroom. The extract below is the background reading, there are applictaion questions as well as the interactive slide show. A must for serious Biologists and Excellence/Schol. candidates!
The term evolution refers to the cumulative change that occurs in populations of organisms over time. Sometimes evolutionary change is so dramatic that different populations of the same species diverge to become two or more distinct species. In the case of a group of birds called honeycreepers, for example, a single species that colonized the Hawaiʻian Islands about 5 million years ago ultimately diverged into 57 different species.
This process, which evolutionary biologists call speciation or adaptive radiation, can happen anywhere. However, it is most clearly demonstrated on geologically young land masses, such as newly formed islands or mountains. In these environments a population of organisms will typically find a set of environmental opportunities and pressures very different from the conditions they experienced in their place of origin. These environmental differences come in many forms and often cause sweeping evolutionary changes in a founding population.
Several environmental factors affect the process of speciation. The structural habitat of an area determines the ease with which creatures are able to move around and find shelter from weather and other organisms. Food, both the type and its availability, dictates the ease with which animals are able to acquire the energy they need to survive and reproduce.
Competition for various resources is another factor that can drive the process of speciation. Competitive pressure can come from organisms of the same species or from organisms of different species. Generally, in highly competitive environments, traits that minimize competition — traits that, for example, allow two different populations to feed on very different types of food — are advantageous.
Another factor that can influence speciation is predation. Predators typically reduce the rate of speciation because they limit other organisms’ access to resources. On newly formed land masses, however, the number of predators is typically lower than on older continents. These younger environments, therefore, provide more opportunities for species to evolve into new and different species
Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Lisa and the Zoology Team have asked that the Zoology students read through the following information prior to their project work.
Dear Zoology students
You will find some activities attached here to help prepare you for the Zoology project during this camp. We will be focusing on invasive species, in particular species found within urban areas. As I’m sure you are all aware, this topic can be quite emotive, particularly when addressing issues of impact on native communities and management and control methods. We have asked you to research a couple of questions related to invasive species, gather some viewpoints on invasive species and control, and then finally to do a bit of research into a specific role. At the end of the project we will be undertaking a role play activity where you will be taking on a specific persona and have to argue your case for control. We do realise that the role you are assigned may not reflect your own personal view point, but sometimes they are actually the easiest to argue!
Just a reminder to make sure you bring warm clothes, sturdy boots and a torch or headlamp for our early morning excursion on the tuesday. Remember its COLD in Dunedin and snow is predicted this week already.
Looking forward to working with you all again.
The Zoology team.
Questions to think about over the holidays
There are many introduced species in New Zealand: >2,000 plant species, 32 mammals, and 33 birds have been introduced. But not all of them are considered to be invaders.
Can you think about the following, and be prepared to discuss when we meet.
2. What makes an invasive species a pest?
Here are two quotes about possums: think about the implications of these different viewpoints of possums and be prepared to discuss them.
1. This quote is by S. Bracegirdle of Egmont Skins and Hides, in the Taranaki Daily News (June 2011), describing his business which collects dead possums, plucks them for fur to sell to wool factories for possum/wool garments:
“We’re turning a pest into something creative”
2. This quote is by Potts (2009, Society and Animals Vol 17: pp 1-20):
“Possums are positioned not only as unwanted and dangerous foreign invaders but also as unworthy of compassion and deserving of persecution: it is as if possums are responsible for the prejudice and malice they now face”
Finally, please gather three viewpoints from your family or acquaintances on possums as pests and their knowledge of current methods of possum control.
Role Play Exercise
Management and control of invasive species is often a very emotive subject resulting in a wide range of very different viewpoints. It is important that we consider all of these different views when planning and implementing management programmes. This exercise is designed to give you an opportunity to explore some very divergent view points.
It has been proposed by a group of local environmentalists that an area of land, which includes a cluster of farms (some dairy), significant remnants of native vegetation, and including some small urban areas, be managed to be predator-free with the purpose of improving its biodiversity value. Given that it has been recommended that possum management strategies should include the development of community processes that can assist in the design of appropriate strategies, the leader of the group proposing this plan has organised a meeting at which local stakeholders can express their opinions about the concept of the plan and the control methods used.
Each of you has been assigned an identity. Be prepared to make a statement based on your identity and defend your point of view. You need to agree on whether the eradication should go ahead, and the methods used to carry out the eradication. Feel free to immerse yourself in your role!
Monday, June 20th, 2011 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Monday, June 20th, 2011 | hamvi58p | No Comments
Keeping on track