Horowhenua primary school teachers flocked to Shannon School this week to see the science kits the newly formed House of Science Horowhenua has on offer.

They also had the chance to hear more about science literacy for all as well as upskilling opportunities for themselves.

House of Science Horowhenua has begun distributing the first kits - huge blue boxes with material for a class of 30 pupils - to local schools and has employed a part-time co-ordinator.

House of Science started in Tauranga and has slowly been spreading around the country. In the Hutt Valley House of Science has the support of the local council and they dispatched 60 kits last week.

House of Science: part of the robotics kit
House of Science: part of the robotics kit

The kits, which cater for pupils years 1-8, cover a variety of topics from forensic science, to climate change, robotics to pollution, from study of skeletons to light, from fire to bugs, from nanotech to plant pests.

Local board chair Suzie Valentine said the kits are closely aligned to the national curriculum and most come in English and Māori.

The kits are developed in Tauranga. There are now 36 different ones, with help from experts in each field. Together they form a huge library of information and resources to help especially primary school teachers raise interest in science.

Dem Bones: a House of Science kit.
Dem Bones: a House of Science kit.

"Scientific literacy is more than reciting the facts, it is about how you look at the world," was the message from American astrophysicist, author and science communicator Neil de Grasse Tyson, in a video played for the Horowhenua teachers.

"Scientific literacy should drive curiosity, lead you to explore and experiment. Many issues we face today have a scientific basis," he said.

Each school needs to subscribe to House of Science to get a kit each week. Each school gets a login to the website where teachers can find more information about each kit and then book one.

Each kit is delivered on Monday and will be picked up again on Thursday morning. On Friday the coordinator and volunteers go through each box and replace what has been used and get the boxes ready for the next school.

This is what a House of Science kit looks like
This is what a House of Science kit looks like

Horowhenua has a number of kits on loan from head office and three have so far been donated. Each box costs $2000. Donations are welcome via a givealittle page:

For more information see www.houseofscience.nz/horowhenua or ring the coordinator Denise Keen at 0508 HOU SCI or 027 200 3361.