was very much a team effort and something for all staff to be proud of. Our year always gets off to a hectic start, with planning and preparation for the Year 12 field trip to Temple Basin. We were very pleased the weather was kind and the trip was a huge success. Finally giving in to the offer of being catered for was a big bonus for staff and students, and we will certainly do this again in 2020. We were also pleased to welcome back David Johnson in Term 3 to cover HoD Graeme Swanson’s classes while he was on a well-earned sabbatical. Graeme had an amazing trip, experiencing a diversity of natural wonders and highly-regarded science departments in Australia and the United Kingdom. Highlights were observing Asian Elephants in Sri Lanka and visiting three Cro- Magnon cave painting sites in France. We look forward to his many stories and pictures in 2020. We would also like to thank Kirsty Howatson who did an amazing job of stepping up to the Acting HoD role during this time. It was a great opportunity for Kirsty to gain experience in this role and she was very effective, providing a seamless transition for the department. Another focus of the year was the implementation of new junior courses. We designed and implemented completely new Year 9 and Year 10 courses based around an awards system. This provided opportunities for differentiation and was coordinated through new Schoolbox courses. One spin-off has been that it allowed us to pilot the live reporting facility in Schoolbox, which is to be rolled out across the school next year. The general feedback from students has been positive, but we have refined a few aspects for 2020 in response. Throughout the year the Science Department hosts various events for primary and intermediate students. This year, we offered a range of successful activities and tasks that received positive feedback. We always enjoy the opportunity to share the love of our subjects and hopefully
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year achieved by Ben Davis. Finally, the next 30 per cent of students earn Bronze awards, this year gained by three students: Henry Eglinton, Scott Cranstone and Andrew Kwak. Of note is Scott Cranstone’s success, as he is in Year 11. All students who earn a top placing are invited to continue with the Olympiad training programme, and all have opted to take up this opportunity. 2019 was the International Year of the Periodic Table. To celebrate the significance of this vital scientific tool the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry held a range of competitions throughout the year, including a student video competition, which asked students to submit videos on their favourite element. Year 10 student Thimeth Wijesinghe entered a video on Neodymium, an element that appeals to him because of its unique magnetic properties. Thimeth’s impressive entry won first place in the senior category. He was awarded a book and $300 in prize money, and his video was screened at the NZIC national conference. General Science and Earth & Space Science 2019 has also been a big year for the other science courses. General Science, taught by Callum Bell and Emily Priest, has continued to offer a broad course at Year 11 for students who want to keep their options open. The three core sciences of Chemistry, Physics and Biology are covered within the one course, which allows students to explore and access the sciences without sacrificing passions that may lie elsewhere. Earth & Space Science has continued to grow under the vision of Dr Anna Johnston. Assessment tasks continued to evolve in a way that engages those students who love a hands-on and real-world approach to science, and the Year 13 Astronomy field trip to Tekapo made a welcome return. This immersive experience is always well received by students and is a real asset to the Science Department. Anna continues to do important and invaluable work in this space.
Chemistry As 2019 began, the Chemistry team were delighted to receive notification of NZQA Scholarship Chemistry results for 2018. We had a total of eight students earn the Scholarship award, with three students receiving Outstanding awards. As there were only 30 Outstanding Scholarship awards given in 2018, we were delighted College students obtained 10 per cent of them. Furthermore, Wills Wynn Thomas, being the top Chemistry student in New Zealand in 2018, was also awarded the Top Scholar Award. This is a phenomenal achievement and one that can be put down to his hard work and determination. The other two recipients of Outstanding Scholarships were Fawzan Sugarwala and Andreas Nicolaou. Scholarship awards were earned by Alex Hlavac, Jisu Kim, Joshua Murison, Jayavi Premaratne and Josh Ting. There were no staff changes in the department in 2019, but Dr Briar Wait was appointed to the role of Housemaster of Rolleston House, beginning in 2020. This places two Housemasters and a Deputy Housemaster within the department from 2020. We entered a small number of students into the Australian National Chemistry Quiz this year, with five High Distinction, and five Distinction awards earned across Years 9–13. A number of Year 12 students (plus one Year 11 student) also embraced the challenge of the Chemistry Olympiad programme, which involved them first developing a good understanding of Level 2 Chemistry and then studying extension material to develop their knowledge and grow their problem-solving skills. Eight students sat the final examination, run by the New Zealand Chemistry Olympiad Trust, to select the top Year 12 students in the country. The top 10 per cent of students earn a Gold award, and this year we had two recipients: John-Paul Lay and Matthew Gibb. The next 20 per cent of students earn Silver awards, this
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