Science Resource Library
Our science resource kits
- Cover a vast range of relevant topics
- Include at least 5 hands-on experiments, catering for Year 1-8 students
- Are easy to use - everything a teacher needs is in the kit, including all consumables
- Include bi-lingual student instructions and teacher manual
- Are fully aligned with the NZ curriculum and many reflect current National Science research
Kits are booked for one week at a time and are delivered to/collected from our member schools.
How is this all funded?
New kits are developed with the help of generous sponsorship from science organisations like the MacDiarmid institute, ESR, AgResearch etc.
Local sponsorship allows the regional House of Science branch to purchase a copy of a kit for their library and pays for the maintenance, delivery and upkeep of the kit.
- Each region has their own 'library' of science resource kits
- Below is a list of all the kits currently available for regions to purchase from the national office
- Not all regions have a copy of every kit listed
- Resource kits are developed by House of Science NZ staff with careful consideration of the NZ curriculum
- Many kits have significant input from NZ scientists and reflect current research
Kia Ngāwari te Whakahā
Hands on experiments include ‘pollution patrol’ where students compare the exhaust emissions of a variety of vehicles, ‘Smog Alert’ which involves students creating smog in a jar, and an extensive data crunching activity for the older children that uses locally sources air quality data collected over a five-year period. Covers the ‘planet earth and beyond’ as well as ‘Nature of Science’ strands. There are strong links to numeracy and social science and suggestions for extending this unit into surveys and connections to the Chernobyl disaster.
Students and teachers alike will love the comprehensive introduction to this important topic. From Earth's system 'Jenga' to ocean acidification, this kit covers it all. Key vocabulary is introduced, and students learn about the importance of plants as the 'lungs' of the earth. Thermometers in jars are used to simulate the greenhouse effect and there are some engaging experiments to demonstrate the importance of water to our planet. A total of seven different activities will leave everyone better informed and empowered to care for our planet.
Ngā Kōiwi Tuahiwi
10 small skeletons, a large skeleton on a stand, lots of X-Rays and a rabbit skeleton can all be found in this box of treasures! Children will love discovering all the bones in their own body as they examine skeletons, and images of Zac with his ‘see-through body’. With a focus on form and function they will explore individual bones and compare/contrast them with other species. Covers the living world strand with strong links to literacy and a great context for awesome writing activities. Optional extension ideas include researching animals with exoskeletons and exploring joints.
Bright sparks will have fun exploring electricity, moving from making simple circuits using playdough, battery packs and LED bulbs for L1 students, to making working torches and measuring brightness for L4. Students see how a solar powered car works and make a battery from salty water. Finally, they build their own anemometer to investigate the windiest place on the school grounds. The activities are sequential, each building on preceding learning, to build an understanding of electrical currents, conductivity, circuits, resistance and insulation. Curriculum strands: Physical World, Nature of Science. Curriculum links to numeracy and literacy.
Five activities that explore everyday examples of phenomena surrounding light. Experiments using mirrors, lasers, prisms and the colour wheel demonstrate refraction, reflection, diffraction, and the nature of the colour spectrum. Students play with light, creating rainbows with prisms, making periscopes, and using lasers to discover how light can be bent. Student will develop collaborative skills and the use of scientific language to explain this aspect of the natural world. Strands covered are the physical world and the nature of science.
From ‘fireworks’ in a test tube to changing the colour of a candle flame, children will love the exciting activities in this materials world box. There are many opportunities to predict, observe and explain natural phenomena, especially in the context of fire. What is the fire triangle? What are the different zones in a candle flame and what is happening in each zone? What creates the colours in fireworks? All these questions are explored in a safe but engaging way. This kit is a great springboard for creative writing and art.
‘Bounce’, ‘flex’, ‘spring’ – what is elastic potential energy? Energy is in everything. It is the force that allows things to go, move and happen. Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot disappear. This resource ‘unpacks’ a difficult concept using familiar everyday items such as rubber bands, slingshots, catapults, springs and a variety of balls – tennis balls, table tennis balls, golf balls and bouncy rubber balls. Gravitational potential, chemical potential energy and kinetic energy are also introduced. There is a strong ‘inquiry focus’ in this resource. A concept or idea is introduced at the start of an activity, with extension ideas and activities given for students to discuss and explore further.
Float my Boat
Te Whakamānu i Taku Poti
Will it float? Why does it sink? What is “flinking”? By experimenting with a variety of objects, recording their observations and making predictions, students will find the answers to these questions. Concepts of buoyancy, density and displacement are also introduced. Students can calculate the density of solids and compare the density of liquids, as well as exploring the relationship between volume, mass and density.
Food for Thought
“Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it!” – Alton Brown.
Each ingredient in a product formula or recipe adds different functionally. Adding or removing an ingredient can alter the structure, texture, colour and taste of food. Why do jellies wobble? What is curdled milk? Is popcorn really a seed? Why does heat make corn kernels pop? What is gluten? What does it look like? What does it feel like? What is the difference between baking powder and baking soda? How do you add or remove moisture from food? The activities in this kit allow students to explore the answers to these, and many more questions in a hands-on engaging way. Lots of mess, but lots of fun too!!
What is energy and where does it come from? What is fuel? Where does the energy in fossil fuels come from? Students explore these questions through a series of activities involving careful examination of several fuel samples, hands-on fossil fuel chemistry and creating a model to visualise the formation of crude oil. The impact of oil spills on the environment is also introduced. Students evaluate the effectiveness of a selection of materials and techniques used to contain and clean up oil spills and land and in the water.
Ngā Kaiārai Kaiurutomo
How do scientists prepare for, manage and minimise the risk of invasive species? New Zealand has a large variety of unique plants and animals and we need to protect them. This kit introduces students to some key biosecurity concepts in an engaging hands-on way. They sort and identify a selection of seed samples, observe a variety of stink bugs, make traps to catch insects and model insect population growth. The kit culminates in the invasion busters board game where groups play a collaborative game that simulates New Zealand’s biosecurity system.
Dirt, water and bugs! Five activities introduce students to soil types, soil health, the properties of soils, and the flora and fauna present. The nitrogen cycle is discussed, and related to soil and water catchment pollution. Students learn how to assess soil health, observing texture, porosity and earthworm numbers. They use coloured sugar to demonstrate how leaching can occur. There is insect classification, through a mihi for an insect they have found in the local environment, plant identification and studying a stream catchment. Curriculum areas covered are The Living World, and Plant Earth, levels 1-4. Strong links with numeracy, and literacy skills of research, assessment and presentation of information.
Do opposites attract? Students experiment to explore the properties of magnets, magnetic fields, how compasses work, and the phenomenon of magnetism. Students discover magnetic poles and how magnetism can be used to manipulate metal items. They discover that different materials respond differently to magnets, and temporary magnetism is demonstrated. Students make a compass, and as an extension, discuss cardinal and ordinal points. Using compasses as magnetic field detection devices, the magnetic lines of force around a bar magnet are mapped. Curriculum strands: Physical and Material Worlds, and The Nature of Science. Activities appropriate from levels 1-5. Curriculum links to Maths.
May the Force be with You
Kia Tau te Tōpana ki a Koe
No less than six activities here, with a focus on force, friction, mass and weight. Students will explore everyday examples of forces using pulling, balancing and friction activities. The older children can explore the effects of friction, mass, gravity and weight on the motion of a toy car as it moves down a ramp. Lots of links to numeracy, especially measurement of force, time and distance. Gravity is also explored with extension links to earth and space science.
Ten digital microscopes – hook them up to your laptops or desktop computers (windows or Mac is fine) via the USB link and explore the world at 50 or 200 times magnification. The scopes are illuminated by LED lights and can capture images for use in projects. A great collaborative way to use a microscope. Safe to use outdoors as well. (Do not work with i-Pads sorry).
This is the first of our resources specifically aimed at the Nature of Science – how scientists look at the world. Four activities that help students think like a scientist – ask good questions, distinguish between an observation and an inference. Some common science myths are dispelled and the science inquiry process is introduced. Inquiry can lead to investigations: good investigation is a fair test with repeat trials and accurate record keeping, usually involving a range of numeracy skills. Lots of links to literacy.
Nanotechnology is the application of chemistry and physics at a very small scale. This box explores material science and introduces students to nanotech. NZ’s leading scientists from the MacDiarmid institute have joined forces with the HoS resource developers to bring you this exciting box. From polymerisation to crystallisation, hydrophobic surfaces to glow in the dark ‘worms’, this box will enthral and engage students of all ages. Properties of materials are not always predictable and the reactions in the beaker will generate lots of ooohs and aaahs from your young scientists.
Hot stuff! The energy of heat is explored using a variety of activities. Students predict, observe and explain temperature increases and how that related to a variety of difference colours. We then move onto insulating properties of different fabrics, again involving lots of measurement. The final activity uses UV sensitive plastic beads to observe and measure the effect UV light has and how sun screens can block UV energy. Best used on a sunny day, with lots of numeracy links.
Plants, Pests & Produce
Ngā Tipu, Ngā Kīrearea me Ngā Hua
This kit explores some of the science that supports our primary sector producers. Students identify and discuss the differences between pests and beneficial insects. The parts of a plant are discussed as well as the effects of pests on plant function. Students have fun doing “squirt science” as they explore droplet size and its effect on spray coverage and density and discuss its agricultural applications. Insect communication is explored using an innovative scent game and these concepts are investigated further with the use of pheromone traps.
Plants, Petals and Pollination
Ngā Tipu Ngā Raupua me te Ruingahae
This box is bursting with equipment that helps students ‘see’ the structure of plants and flowers. Activities include germinating two varieties of bean seeds, linking plants to food through a simple matching activity and playing the ‘pollination game’. A digital microscope allows students to see parts of a plant that are very small but crucial in its survival. Numeracy and literacy links are very clear and this is understandably a very popular box with kids of all ages.
Another resource specifically aimed at the Nature of Science – how scientists look at the world. Activities that help students think like a scientist – ask good questions, distinguish between an observation and an inference. Students use a range of senses to make observations and use scientific thinking in order to find explanations (inferences). They also appreciate that science is a way of explaining the world and that science knowledge changes over time.
Rock my World
Kia toka tōku ao
Earth Science Rocks! There are four interactive activities in this box that all help students explore and describe natural features. Modelling the earth’s layers using plasticine, completing a tectonic plate puzzle and a liquefaction activity all help to clarify the implications of living on a tectonic plate boundary. Making a fossil to is also a hit with students and helps them visualise the age of the earth.
3-2-1 … we have lift-off! This box is full of exciting activities from stomp rockets using compressed air and ‘foot power’ through to chemical reactions in a ‘pocket rocket’ that packs quite a punch! (Safety glasses included). Balanced and unbalanced forces are introduced, conservation of energy is demonstrated in a simple but very effective ‘reaction rocket’ and there are lots of opportunities for numeracy links.
This engaging kit looks at our place in the solar system, the relationship between our star - the sun - and Earth and explores the components and scale of our solar system. Students make craters in ‘moon sand’ and investigate some modern applications of space travel. Finally, they can explore uses of satellite technology.
Jelly beans and smelly pots? Yes, it’s all here in a box that explores our senses. Students use their sense of smell to identify pairs of identical scents, and try to identify what the scents are. Links between smell and our long term memory are discussed. In the ‘taste tests’ students are blindfolded and asked to identify one of four flavours of jelly bean. This is harder than it sounds! Optical illusions look at the tricks our mind will play on what we think we see and lastly there is an experiment that measures the distance between touch receptors in our skin. Lots of real life contexts as well as practical numeracy activities.
Sweet and Sour
Te Reka me te Kawa
Acid and base chemistry in the context of foods that students will be familiar with. Test tubes, indicators, colour change and fizzing will have your students engaged from go to whoa. The littlies make sherbet and experience chemical reactions in their mouth. Slightly older students can observe pH paper change colour with the variety of chemicals in their student kits. Staying with the indicator theme they can make their own colour changing liquid using the red cabbage. Neutralisation is explored using baking soda and vinegar.
The Sea and Me
Te Moana me Ahau
Mussels anyone? Four interactive activities with a marine theme. Students classify shells using beautiful rocky and sandy shore guides, they explore how a shell fish ‘eats’. Students predict, observe and explain filtration and compare and contrast a variety of shellfish. Litmus paper is used to test water sample’s acidity and links are made to specific species’ adaptations. The learning outcomes from this whole unit are revised using a snakes and ladder game.
Up, Up and Away
Whakarewa Ake, Ki Runga Rawa
Fly, float or fall? The definition of flight is explored – and beware, this is harder than it sounds! Students discuss which objects fly and how. Paper planes are of course a must, but we introduce fair testing for the young ones – who can make the best plane? How do we define ‘best’? How can we measure that? Students also make a variety of ‘wings’ and test the best shape for creating lift. Finally there is a technology challenge for the older students – can they make their pig fly? Great open-ended inquiry learning here.
How healthy is your stream? Many schools have a body of water nearby and this kit provides all the equipment needed to test water quality. From pH, turbidity, nitrate and flow, to invertebrate (insect) guides and their use as ecological indicators of environmental health.
Te Takatū Mō Ngā Huarere
Where is the air? Good question! Students will discover that the air is not ‘empty’ space – a crucial concept when trying to understand wind and clouds. This interactive kit will have the children constructing models to visualise cloud and rain formation and the movement of hot and cold air in the atmosphere. They also get to explore a tornado in a bottle and interpret simple weather maps
What's the Buzz?
He Aha Tērā Huhū?
Bumble bees like you’ve never seen them before! Examine preserved bumblebees focusing on the structure and function of their body parts. Learn about the interesting life-cycle of the bumblebee, their preferred habitat and compare and contrast the differences between bumblebees and honeybees. By exploring how we see colour students investigate how flowers have evolved to attract bumblebees and other pollinators. Children will observe and discuss the relationship between sound and vibration; this will allow them to create a model that demonstrates “buzz pollination”, which is a unique characteristic of bumblebees that enables them to be extremely efficient pollinators. And finally the children will have the opportunity to construct their own bumblebee nest.
O Wai te Tangata Hara?
Forensic Science II. Building on the success of the ‘Who Dunnit?’ kit, ESR have partnered with House of Science to bring you this exciting addition to the resource library. Activities include aerosols; ‘blood’ splatter; trace evidence and casting footprints. There is a Set of crime scene scenarios for students to solve using their new sleuthing skills.
Nā Wai i Mahi?
Forensic science I. Forensics is hugely popular and so is this kit! Students learn four different forensic techniques: finger printing, hand writing analysis, fibre identification and white powder tests. Once these techniques are mastered they can solve a crime using suspects’ police information and evidence collected from the crime scene for one of four crimes.
He Wai Whakamīharo
Water, water everywhere! Five activities that thoroughly explore water as a solid, a liquid and a gas. Make ice balls using balloons and watch the children explore the effect of heat, salt and time on the melting process. Students explore surface tension of water droplets, a unique property of water and essential for so many life processes. Evaporation is explored using puddles and mirrors, and students make a model water cycle in a plastic bag. The last activity links social science as students explore freshwater allocation uses and discuss possible effects on natural ecology as a direct result of human interaction.