University of Auckland: Novel interactive science kits sent out free to schools

Kiwrious, an interactive learning technology that makes science fun, is being distributed to 35 schools in six different areas of New Zealand, at no cost to the schools.

The sensors allow school children to take real-world measurements, and then share the results with their friends.
The Kiwrious Science Experience was designed by Associate Professor Suranga Nanayakkara and his team at the Augmented Human Lab (AHL) at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, University of Auckland, in collaboration with Associate Professor Dawn Garbett from the Faculty of Education and Social Work.

Distribution of the Kiwrious class kits began in the first week of May and with an Auckland workshop in which the Kiwrious team met 12 teachers from Auckland and Northland and handed them the Kits – each containing 20 sets of six sensors.

The sensors enable school children to take real-world measurements using scientific parameters, such as UV light, humidity, volatile organic compounds (smell), temperature and heart rate.

The students can then plug the sensors into a computer (Chromebook or any other laptop), and launch the Kiwrious learning platform on a Chrome browser. This learning platform encourages students to make multiple observations, to represent them in creative ways and share and discuss them with their friends. The teaching resources are based on curriculum teaching guidelines, and designed to facilitate collaboration, discovery and learning.

Approximately 10,000 sensors and 70 kits will be distributed to 35 schools in six different areas of New Zealand will receive kits including Auckland Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Wellington and Christchurch. These are being distributed at no cost to the school; teachers were invited to register their interest on Kiwrious.com and the team selected those leading junior science programmes, and sought to include a representation of deciles and regions.

The month of May was a strong one for Kiwrious, as it was announced that Kiwrious was a finalist in Fast Company’s in the Education category and an honourable mention in the Best World Changing Idea Fast Company 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards.

“It is very exciting to have all our Kits ready to send out to schools,” says Dr Nanayakkara, noting that Kiwrious gives schools children access to scientific tools that would often be out of economic each. “We hope that Kiwrious will inspire a new generation of school children, to find the wonder and excitement in scientific discovery.

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