Pupils take on farm study

St Hilda’s Collegiate Schoolpupils have been getting their heads around lamb weights.

The Dunedin school was among 26 nationwide to trial a red meat profit partnership programme last year, aimed at engaging primary and secondary school pupils in farming.

The resources, including assessments within the programme, have received the New Zealand Qualification Authority quality-assured assessment materials trademark, and the programme could be used to gain NCEA credits. It will be rolled out to further schools this year.

St Hilda’s head of maths, John Bradfield, said the school had coincidentally been looking for dairy farming data at the time the RMPP programme "popped across the radar".

The programme was used by statistics pupils and it was good to have fresh and real data and to look at real issues.

It concerned lamb weaning weights, dates and single and multiple births. Some St Hilda’s pupils came from farms and, while that did not make a difference to how they did with the programme, it "helped them as a whole get into it", he said.

In a statement, RMPP project manager for people capability Diane Falconer said the resources were developed in response to requests from farmers and to a need identified by the Ministry for Primary Industries for more skilled and qualified people to enter the industry.

Schools had little New Zealand data they could use in their curriculums so the programme was very useful, she said.

The programmes were written by the Core Education professional learning and development organisation and managed on RMPP’s behalf by New Zealand Young Farmers.

The primary school resource, for years 7 and 8 pupils, was designed to fit into the school curriculum and be applicable to different subjects.

It examined the common stereotypes and was aimed at debunking the myths and broadening understanding of the many skills farmers needed. At the end of the primary school programme, the children visited a farm.  

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