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Finding your way around

Read about the various resources available on the Science Learning Hub and how to use the site.

The Science Learning Hub has been developed to make science more accessible to school students and teachers. Use the navigation tools on the site to find these resources (which are listed alphabetically):

About us
My Sci
Nature of Science
News and Events
Science Stories
Thinking Tools

About us

In About this site find out about who established the Science Learning Hub and why.


The resources in each context are arranged into collections. Each collection incorporates a range of resource types, including articles, profiles, student activities, images, interactives, animations and video clips.

  • New Zealand Research
    This collection provides information about the work of New Zealand’s world-class science and technology sectors in relation to the Hub’s range of contexts, and includes profiles of organisations carrying out work in this area.
  • Science Ideas and Concepts
    Scientific study requires a basic knowledge and understanding of ideas and concepts. This collection explains the ideas that are fundamental to each context.
  • Looking Closer
    This collection contains a wide variety of resources and information about each context, which supports the resources in the other collections.
  • People
    This collection introduces some of the people working or studying in the areas explored in each context.
  • Teaching and Learning Approaches
    Student activities are the main feature of this collection, along with a variety of resources for teachers to use in exploring each context.
  • Timeline
    An interactive look at some of the historical aspects of each context.
  • Question Bank
    An inquiry approach is a method often used in science education. The question bank provides an initial list of questions about each context and places where their answers can be found.
  • Key Terms
    This resource provides explanations of the key concepts encountered when exploring each context – the ‘basics’ that every student should understand.
  • Sci Media
    This collection is where you can find all the images, animations and video clips that relate to each context.


Connections takes you to a virtual map of the Hub where you can visually explore our teaching resources.

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Contexts are the heart of the Hub. Each context explores a major theme or idea and provides a gateway to related content and explorations. Each context is supported by a range of collections including multimedia files, classroom resources based on the requirements of the New Zealand science curriculum, and the stories of New Zealand’s science and technology sector in action.

Current contexts on the Science Learning Hub:

  • A Fizzy Rock: Limestone is the rock that fizzes with acid. It has a biogeochemical origin, a rich agricultural history and is literally ‘fizzing’ with uses and applications.
  • Ceramics: This context looks at the classification, structure, properties and uses of ceramic materials, and explores the role advanced ceramics play in the engineering and medical fields.
  • Dating the Past: This context investigates how geologists find out the ages of rocks and fossils to help explain how New Zealand’s structure – and the life it supports – has changed over millions of years.
  • Digestion Chemistry: This context looks at the digestion process and its hormonal control, and how food’s macronutrients undergo chemical breakdown as they move through the digestive system.
  • Earthquakes: This context explains slow slips, and showcases New Zealand’s world-class expertise in the field of base isolation.
  • Enviro-imprints: This context investigates the significant impact we have had on the environment since humans first arrived in New Zealand.
  • Exploring with Microscopes: Learn more about how microscopes work and how they can shed light on plant structure, cells, earthquake processes and more.
  • Ferns: This collection provides information about the work of New Zealand’s world-class science and technology sectors in relation to Ferns.
  • Fire: This context examines fire, how and why it behaves and how we can prevent and control it.
  • Flight: How would you explain flight? What is needed for flight? In this context, we explore winged flight through birds, planes, gliders, hang-gliders and kites.
  • Future Fuels: This context examines how we have relied on fossil fuels in the past and what will fuel our energy needs in the future.
  • Fighting Infection: This context investigates our immune system and its response to microorganisms. New Zealand scientists share their findings on infectious diseases, vaccines and cures
  • Food Function and Structure:This context looks at the five fundamental types of materials in our food required to keep our bodies functioning and the structure and function of these materials.
  • H2O On the Go: This context looks at how in the future, water may be our most valuable commodity. Understanding the water cycle – the continuous movement of water through the Earth's upper crust, surface and atmosphere – is crucial.
  • Hidden Taonga: This context looks at how scientists at Landcare Research use their collections as a reference book while they explore New Zealand’s hidden ecosystems to answer questions in classification, conservation and biosecurity.
  • Icy Ecosystems: This context introduces us to Antarctica – Earth’s coldest continent – and some of the researchers who are investigating its delicate balance.
  • Just Elemental: This context explores how elements are made and classified into the periodic table and how we use them.
  • Life in the Sea: This context examines how our marine organisms interact and how human activity affects them.
  • Light and Sight: Explore this context and learn more about the basics of light, how we see and how we perceive the world around us
  • Nanoscience: This context is about the very small – new materials, products and processes that could have a huge impact on our lives.
  • Pollination: Learn about the role of flowers in the life cycles of flowering plants. Discover how flowers ensure the transfer of pollen, and meet some of the unsuspecting animal pollinators.
  • Rockets: Rocket science includes ideas of forces and motion, how rockets work and some of the challenges for those wanting to make rockets go faster and higher.
  • Satellites: Learning about natural and artificial satellites involves ideas of gravity, circular motion and radio communication. Discover some of the many uses of artificial satellites in New Zealand and beyond.
  • Saving Reptiles and Amphibians: This context looks at what is unique about our native reptiles and amphibians, and why they are at risk. Learn more about the science behind conservation efforts for them here in New Zealand.
  • See-Through Body: This context looks inside the human body and at the medical imaging technologies that help us to understand its intricacies.
  • Soil, Farming and Science: This context examines the effects farming can have on the environment and looks at innovative science ideas that can help farmers and the environment.
  • Space Revealed: This context explores the way New Zealand astronomers use different wavelengths of light to reveal information about stars and galaxies and to find new planets. Learn about our Solar System at the same time.
  • Sporting Edge: This context considers ways in which human beings are gaining increased strength and endurance.
  • Super Sense: This context looks at how artificial sensors and probes enable us to overcome the limitations of our human senses and extend them in novel and useful ways, using the scientific concepts of electricity and waves.
  • The Noisy Reef: This context takes us under the waves to the reefs of New Zealand to explore sound and noise – what sound is, how it travels, what changes under water and how animals use it.
  • The Ocean in Action: This context introduces New Zealand scientists studying the physical and chemical properties of the ocean, and explores the ocean’s role in transporting heat, water, salt and carbon around the Earth.
  • Tōku Awa Koiora: This context investigates the restoration of the lower half of the Waikato River. Kaitiaki are working to restore and protect the health and wellbeing of the river.
  • Toxins: Learn how New Zealand’s most poisonous creature was discovered through the investigative work of scientists. Discover what toxins are, how they are identified and how they enter the food web.
  • Uniquely Me: How we look and act is the result of the interaction of our genes with our environment. Even identical twins, with an identical genetic make-up, have unique phenotypes. This context investigates what makes each of us unique.
  • Volcanoes: This context investigates how volcanoes work, where they form and what this means for the people that live around them.
  • Where Land Meets Sea: New Zealand's coastlines and marine resources need care and protection. The Coastal Marine Group focuses on the Bay of Plenty – with a particular emphasis on the Rena shipwreck disaster.
  • You, Me and UV: This context explores ultraviolet radiation, the effects it has on the Earth and on our bodies, and how we can put it to good use.

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A glossary of science-related words.


Where you are now!


This page provides a pathway to all parts of the Hub. The home page also presents information about the latest contexts, new content items and featured favourites.


This collection presents contemporary New Zealand innovations and inspiring interviews with innovators. Each story shows the value of a deep knowledge base in science, technology or both, but innovation is much more than this. Explore here the broader concepts, the questions, uncertainties, challenges and opportunities.

  • Biospife: Use this Innovation story to find out more about the Biospife – a novel bioplastic product incorporating fruit residue that can be made on existing plastics processing machines development.
  • YikeBike: In this Innovation story find out about Grant Ryan’s radical redesign of the traditional bicycle, the YikeBike.
  • Zealong Tea: In this Innovation story, we learn how Vincent Chen, of Zealong, began the lengthy development process of growing tea plants, establishing a tea plantation and processing oolong tea in New Zealand.
  • Revolution Fibres: Find out how commercial quantities of nanofibre material are produced and how nanofibres are an exciting new material with unlimited potential and many different applications.

My Sci

It is free to register for My Sci. My Sci provides access to additional features, for example, you can save bookmarked pages. It also offers ideas for teachers about how to use the content, insights from the writers and tutorials about using the Hub.

Nature of science

The Nature of Science is the overarching and unifying strand in the New Zealand Curriculum’s science learning area. This collection of articles and activities unpacks this strand and points you to many different places within the Hub where you can find examples of the nature of science.

News and Events

News stories about the latest science research in New Zealand are provided on a weekly basis and in the Events section you can view upcoming science events in New Zealand.


Read the latest newsletter or Subscribe to receive our newsletter and we will keep you up to date with the latest articles and teaching resources on the Science Learning Hub.

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Science Stories

Our Science Stories are smaller collections of resources, putting the focus on key science themes, ideas and events.

Current Science Stories on the Science Learning Hub:

  • Butterflies: Meet our small and secretive native butterflies and some of the people helping to fill the gaps in our butterfly knowledge.
  • Celebrating Science: (the) KuDos awards help to recognise and honour world-class science expertise throughout the Waikato region. The 2007 and 2008 awards are currently featured.
  • Conserving Native Birds: Investigate the issues surrounding the conservation of some of our unique bird species.
  • Cycling Aerodynamics: This story looks at cycling aerodynamics, drag and rolling resistance. It shows how wind tunnel tests are helping New Zealand cyclists reduce drag to reach faster speeds.
  • Earthworms: To most of us, one earthworm resembles another. Although earthworms do have common characteristics, species differ widely in their size, skin colour and in the roles they play in the soil ecosystem.
  • Ever Wondered? Series 1: This series of 30-minute episodes, is from the TV series Ever Wondered?. It is presented by Dr John Watt and answers challenging scientific questions as he talks to Kiwi scientists and researchers and joins in on high-tech and hair-raising experiments.
  • Ever Wondered? Series 2: A second series of 30-minute episodes, Presented in partnership with The Royal Society of New Zealand and hosted by Dr John Watt, featuring an exciting range of science stories.
  • Harnessing the Sun: Scientists have learned to harness the Sun, transforming its energy to meet our need.
  • TVNZ Innovation Stories: A series of exciting and entertaining short video clips featuring 14 innovative Kiwi companies, which featured on TVNZ 7 during the Spotlight on Science + Innovation month in August 2011.
  • Measurement: Measurement is the process of obtaining the magnitude of a quantity relative to an agreed standard.
  • Microorganisms: Since their discovery, microorganisms have been found in almost every environment on earth.
  • Our Heritage Scientists: New Zealand scientists are revealed through people profiles and timelines that let you see aspects of their life and work and how these fit into a wider science picture. Scientists currently featured are Frank Evison, Alan MacDiarmid, Joan Wiffen, Athol Rafter and Beatrice Hill Tinsley.
  • Our Senses: The five sensory ‘gatekeepers’ of our bodies – taste, smell, touch, sight and hearing – help us survive.
  • Research Voyage to Antarctica: Join this 8-week voyage to the Ross Sea to survey the marine environment and explore the variety of life forms (biodiversity) in the region.
  • Resource Management: By following sustainable practices in how we farm, the way we build, how we deal with our waste and how we prevent pollution, we hope to preserve our natural environment for the future.
  • Science Made Simple: These 15 short video clips are aimed at demystifying commonly used but little understood scientific and technological jargon.
  • Seeds, Stems and Spores:  In this plant reproduction resource for NZ Curriculum levels 1 and 2 explore some of the science ideas behind plant life cycles, seed dispersal and how some plants reproduce without seeds.
  • Strange Liquids: Some liquids display strange behaviour because their viscosity makes them flow differently to ‘normal’ liquids.
  • Tsunamis and Surf: Learn how the two wave types differ and how ocean waves of all kinds affect New Zealand’s coast.

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If you are looking for something specific, do a word search. You can search all resources by keyword, context and/or curriculum strand, or choose ‘Selected resources’ to search by collection, audience and/or resource type.

Thinking Tools

The Science Learning Hub Thinking Tools contain interactive teaching tools.

Science Learning Hub Survey 2014

Dear Hub visitor,

You're invited to participate in an online survey about the New Zealand Science Learning Hub. This survey was designed to help Hub staff enhance and develop further the site. This is different from our November 2013 survey, so even if you took part in that survey, we would appreciate you taking this survey as well.

Take the survey