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Healthy Start to Life: Growing Up

This programme is part of a full module of work for New Zealand Curriculum Level 5 which was trialled and evaluated in ten Auckland schools during 2010-2012. The module, professional development for teachers and interactive resources for students, will be launched for general use in New Zealand schools during 2013. Research reports from the trial will be made available at the time of the launch.

Target group

Year 9-10 Science Classes

Class size: Up to 30 students

Programme aims

  1. Develop understanding of who scientists are and ways in which they work.
  2. Develop an understanding of what it means to be healthy and factors that may influence health and well being during our life span.
  3. Develop an understanding of what DNA is, where it is found, and appreciate that it contains information that will determine characteristics.
  4. Learn how to measure pulse rate and look at the heart's activity by measuring heart rate and blood pressure and explore the effect of exercise on heart rate.
  5. Develop an understanding of what a scientific model is and why scientists use models in their research.

Programme schedule

Classes arrive between 9:15am and 9:30am and leave at 2:30pm.

  • Interactive teaching and learning session: A healthy start to life? Students explore what it means to be healthy and learn about scientific research that is looking into the effect of early life environment on health and well-being.
  • Practical 1: Is it in your DNA?  Students learn about what DNA is and why it is important in scientific research before extracting their own DNA.

Short Break (10 minutes)

  • Puberty - what and when? Students explore what happens during puberty and learn about scientific research that is looking into why young people are now going through puberty earlier. This includes exposure to how scientists use modelling in research.
  • Practical 2: Vital Signs! Students learn about how to measure heart rate, and record their own ECG.
  • Practical 3: Exercise matters. Students investigate the effect of exercise on heart rate using data loggers and stationary exercise bikes.

Lunch Break (40 minutes)

  • Meet a Scientist: Small group discussions with scientists about their work.
  • Putting it all together. Students create a mind-map to explain what they have learnt about health and well being, and scientific research and the impact on their own lives.

Curriculum links

The New Zealand Curriculum 2007 | Level 4-5 Science

Nature of Science: Level 4-5

Understanding About Science

Appreciate that science is a way of explaining the world and that science knowledge changes over time.

Identify ways in which scientists work together and provide evidence to support their ideas.

Understand that scientists’ investigations are informed by current scientific theories and aim to collect evidence that will be interpreted through processes of logical argument. 

Investigating in Science

Build on prior experiences, working together to share and examine their own and others’ knowledge.

Ask questions, find evidence, explore simple models, and carry out appropriate investigations to develop simple explanations.

Develop and carry out more complex investigations, including using models.

Communicating in Science

Use a wider range of science vocabulary, symbols and conventions.

Participating and Contributing

Use their growing science knowledge when considering issues of concern to them.

Explore various aspects of an issue and make decisions about possible actions.

Develop an understanding of socio-scientific issues by gathering relevant scientific information in order to draw evidence-based conclusions and to take action where appropriate.

Living World:

Level 4 | Ecology

Explain how living things are suited to their particular habitat and how they respond to environmental changes, both natural and human-induced.

Level 5 | Life Processes

Identify the key structural features and functions involved in life processes of plants and animals.

Describe the organisation of life at a cellular level.

Level 5 | Evolution

Describe the basic processes by which genetic information is passed from one generation to the next.