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  • This interactive timeline highlights how students investigating the Oruarangi Stream engaged with the nature of science.

    Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato Published 14 February 2017 Referencing Hub media

    Students from Manurewa High School and rangatahi from Makaurau Marae investigated the ecological restoration of the Oruarangi Stream. Learn about their work and how it reflects the nature of science.

    Note: To use this interactive timeline, move your cursor or finger over any of the labelled boxes and select to get further information. You can also scroll forwards and backwards or use the arrows in the top section.


    1 July 2013 – Dye spill

    More than 1,000 litres of dye spills into the local Oruarangi Stream system.

    Nature of science
    Science is a knowledge system. Scientific research is not about emotional or legal responses, such as assigning blame – it works to identify and assess any damage and facilitate restoration.

    Acknowledgement: Eel image © Auckland Council and Stream image © Te Warena Taua

    1 August 2013 – Ongoing restoration

    Iwi and Auckland Council continue with restoration work that had been in progress prior to the dye spill.

    Nature of science
    Participatory science is a form of science in which the community is actively involved in all aspects of a project, often working alongside scientists.

    Acknowledgement: Victoria Metcalf/Participatory Science Platform

    1 February 2015 – Asking questions

    Students from Aorere College and rangatahi from Makaurau Marae ask how they could measure the effectiveness of the stream restoration projects.

    Nature of science
    Observing and asking questions is a fundamental scientific process. Questions form the base of every scientific investigation.

    Acknowledgement: Sarah Morgan/Comet Auckland

    June 2015 – PSP funding

    Aorere College teacher Chloe Innes applies for funding. The government’s Participatory Science Project pilot projects are selected.

    Nature of science
    Science both influences society and is influenced by society. As society’s priorities change, so do scientific priorities. Funding is often tailored to meet these priorities.

    Acknowledgement: Crown copyright, 2016.

    16 November 2015 – Mātauranga Māori

    Students spend the night at Makaurau Marae. They learn about the validity of cultural knowledge passed down through generations.

    Nature of science
    Mātauranga Māori recognises that Māori have a long and close association with the natural environment, collected by careful observations, often over years or even generations. This information is important for how we understand changes over time.

    Acknowledgement: Sarah Morgan/Comet Auckland

    17 November 2015 – Collaboration

    Students work with scientists from NIWA and Waicare. The experts introduce students to sampling and identification protocols.

    Nature of science
    Collaboration is common among scientists. Each person can bring specialist knowledge to a project. Combining different areas of expertise adds depth to investigations.

    Acknowledgement: Sarah Morgan/Comet Auckland

    24 November 2015 – Fieldwork

    Students use the protocols to gather data on water quality.

    Nature of science
    Data is recorded observations. Data needs to be collected systematically. Collected data also needs to be relevant to the questions that have been asked. Using standard scientific protocols helps ensure reliability of results, enabling data points to be compared.

    Acknowledgement: Sarah Morgan/Comet Auckland

    24 November 2015 – Ethical decisions

    Students leave nets out overnight to sample fish species. They catch both pest and native species. Students decide not to return pest fish to the stream.

    Nature of science
    Credible scientific evidence can help address difficult socio-scientific issues like pest control.

    Acknowledgement: University of Waikato. All Rights Reserved.

    24 November 2016 – Microscopy and biological drawing

    Students return to Aorere College and use magnifying lenses and microscopes to identify macroinvertebrates collected during fieldwork. They make observational drawings.

    Nature of science
    Scientific observations can be made directly with our own senses – sight, for example – or we can extend and refine our basic senses with tools like microscopes.

    Acknowledgement: Sarah Morgan/Comet Auckland

    26 November 2016 – Sampling setback

    Students are unable to complete fieldwork due to E. coli contaminating the stream water.

    Nature of science
    It is common for scientific investigations to suffer setbacks, for example, when something unexpected and dangerous occurs or because of changes to funding, staff or even public perceptions.

    Acknowledgement: Public domain

    2 December 2015 – Documenting the research

    Student groups choose a variety of methods to present their findings – via slideshows, videos and skits.

    Nature of science
    Scientists share their findings in many ways – from informal conversations with peers through to the all-important publication in journals, where the work is first reviewed by other scientists.

    Acknowledgement: Sarah Morgan/Comet Auckland

    7 December 2015 – Presenting the research

    Students present their findings to whānau and manuhiri and finish the project with kai.

    Nature of science
    Scientific investigations often bring people from a range of experiences together for a shared purpose.

    Acknowledgement: Sarah Morgan/Comet Auckland

    1 July 2016 – Asking new questions

    Aorere College applies for and receives new PSP funding to answer new questions about local waterways.

    Nature of science
    Scientific research isn’t something that is ever considered ‘finished’. Scientists regularly use information from past research to help shape new investigations.

    Acknowledgement: Sarah Morgan/Comet Auckland

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