Science (Pūtaiao)

At Cashmere our motto is that “Science is Fascinating and Fun!” We aim to make our lessons relevant and useful, challenging ākonga to make sense of the world around them through experiment and observation, as well as allowing them to experience the joy and wonder of discovery. The University of Berkeley capture the essence of science well in these points:​​​​​​​

Science is both a body of knowledge and a process. Science is a collection of observations, facts and theories built up over many years. Just as importantly, science is also a process of discovery that allows us to link isolated facts into coherent and comprehensive understandings of the natural world.

Science is exciting. Science is a way of discovering what's in the universe and how those things work today, how they worked in the past, and how they are likely to work in the future. Scientists are motivated by the thrill of seeing or figuring out something that no one has before.​​​​​​​

Science is useful. The knowledge generated by science is powerful and reliable. It can be used to develop new technologies, treat diseases, and deal with many other sorts of problems.

Science is ongoing. Science is continually refining and expanding our knowledge of the universe, and as it does, it leads to new questions for future investigation. Science will never be "finished."

Science is a global human endeavour. People all over the world participate in the process of science. And you can too!

In Aotearoa New Zealand, there is a growing interest, appreciation, and integration of mātauranga Māori (traditional knowledge) in our understanding of the world. We believe that a rich curriculum for science is one that acknowledges, respects, and draws on the similarities and differences between both world views and we aim to bring this to all ākonga at Te Iringa o Kahukura.  He waka eke noa is a whakataukī that also sums up our view of Science, that we are all in this together. Whether cooperating with each other in class or solving problems related to planet earth with its finite resources that we all share.​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​Science/Pūtaiao at Cashmere breaks into several senior subjects at Year 11 and 12

Agricultural & Horticultural Science

Learning how to grow plants and animals for food production is a really important part of life. The course in Agriculture and Horticulture allows students an opportunity to experience aspects of agriculture and horticulture in New Zealand. It allows students to gain an understanding of the primary industries that fuel New Zealand's economy. Students will experience a diverse range of knowledge from animal physiology to orchard management. Students will learn practical skills in horticulture and plant propagation in the school vegetable garden and orchard including pruning, potting, seedbed preparation, spraying, cuttings, and plant management practices. They will also look at soil management and

"Poipoia te kakano kia puawai" 
Nurture the seed and it will grow

Biology Mātai koiora

The Greek prefix ‘bio’ means 'life’ and biology is the study of life. In te reo Māori, kaiora means life, hence our Maori name for Biology, mātai koiora; to inspect or look closely at life! 

Biology is an important subject. It connects us to the world we live in and reminds us of our interconnectedness with all other life forms. To understand the world, we must understand the relationships between ourselves and the environment in which we live and our role as guardians of the land, kaitiakitanga.

In our courses we provide opportunities for our students to learn about biology at the molecular level within cells, right up to the whole organism, including how humans have evolved and are adapted for survival. We look at a wide range of diverse ecosystems within our planet, including New Zealand’s unique fauna and flora.

The department provides a range of courses to help our students personalise their learning through a different balance of internal and external standards. Students are taught evidenced based cognitive science skills to help prepare for their external standards which is essential to pass Biology at level 3.

In reference to our whakatauki above, we provide the knowledge (the feathers) which underpins the many skills that Biology develops. We pride ourselves on engaging our students through a programme that is relevant, enjoyable and provides a rich understanding of the subject, empowering our students to fly!

Ma te huruhuru, ka rere te manu
Adorn the bird with feathers so it can fly

Chemistry Mātai Matū 

This can apply to the individuals who make up communities, such every ākonga in our Chemistry classes, and also to atoms, which are the foundation of Chemistry and make up all the matter in the universe. 

In te reo Māori, matū means matter, hence our Maori name for Chemistry, mātai matū; to inspect or look closely at matter. Chemistry is the study of the structure and properties of matter and how and why atoms and molecules react to form new substances. 

Chemistry is often thought of as the central science because it interlinks and contributes to Physics, Biology, Earth Science and Astronomy.

Knowledge of Chemistry and the atomic world provides an excellent scientific basis for understanding the world around us. Chemistry has a key role in solving many of today’s global challenges in health, environmental sustainability, energy and engineering.

Our courses allow students to develop an understanding of and use the fundamental concepts in Chemistry, such as the structure and bonding of matter, thermochemistry and equilibrium. Students have the opportunity to develop their practical skills through regular experimental work to investigate the physical and chemical properties of different substances. We look at how chemistry concepts link to the real-world and how Chemistry is used to meet the needs of society and develop new technologies.

The Chemistry department is passionate about their fascinating subject and supports students to develop the problem-solving, communication and numeracy skills necessary for success.

Ahatoa he iti he pounamu
Despite being small you are of great value​​​​​​​

Earth & Space Science Papatūānuku takiwā 

The study of Earth and Space (ESS) covers a range of key strands in Science, including Geology, Astronomy, Marine Science, Environmental Science, Antarctic Studies, and Earth System Science. It will allow Year 12 and 13 students to understand the interconnections between the land, ocean, atmosphere, and the wider universe.

Students who take Level 2 Earth and Space Science will explore:

  • The historical effects of meteorite impacts on Earth and wider solar system
  • How humans and animals adapt to survive in extreme environments
  • The life cycle of stars and other planetary bodies
  • The unique geology of Castle Hill
  • How tsunamis’ earthquakes and volcanic eruptions shape the natural world. 

The Level 3 course is highly flexible and allows students to take ownership of their learning. They will investigate:

  • Current socio-scientific issues of interest
  • Potentially habitable moons and exoplanets 
  • The likelihood of a megaquake at the Alpine Fault
  • The importance of the ocean to humans and ecosystems
  • A relevant practical investigation of their choice

Right now it is more important than ever for young adults to understand the complex  systems of our universe. As Jay Inslee said, "We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it."

Mai i te Kōpae ki te Urupa, tātou ako tonu ai.
​​​​​​​From the cradle to the grave we are forever learning.

Electronics (Year 12 & Year 13)

The technological world develops at an astonishing rate, but one constant is the microcontroller. The microcontroller is the brain buried within many devices that we interact with on a daily basis.  Microcontrollers are seen in areas such as clean energy production, electric cars/smart vehicles, telecommunications, medical and healthcare applications, and industrial and consumer electronics.

In 2010, approximately 4 billion microcontrollers were produced and embedded inside these everyday devices. In 2020, worldwide production is expected to near the 30 billion mark. Future production numbers look even greater as we move into the IoT era (Internet of Things) where more and more devices such as smartphones, televisions, tablets, home appliances, gaming consoles, smart meters, and security systems become connected to the internet.

Therefore, the understanding of how these amazing devices work will provide an avenue to participate in this huge area of future growth.

At Cashmere High, students start their journey by looking at basic electronic components and circuit construction. From there, we develop CAD (Computer Aided Design) and CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) skills to allow students to produce high quality electronic circuitry.​​​​​​​

Next, students start working directly with microcontrollers such as the Arduino Uno, Mega or Nano, the ESP32/8266, and the Raspberry Pi. A key component of this stage is the development of programming in C/C++ specifically in relation towards managing electronic devices.

While there is a strong theory content, most learning and assessment is done via practical projects which students often proudly take home. As the student gains confidence and can work independently, the projects become more student influenced and more complex.

The study of Electronics will provide invaluable skills to succeed in a variety of ways such as further tertiary study in fields like Electronic, Electrical, Software or Mechatronic Engineering and Computer Science.

Additionally, these skills would be highly adaptable to Trades roles such as Auto Electrician, Instrument Technician, residential/commercial/industrial Electrician, Electrical repair and servicing or any Electrotechnology based role

Physics (Year 12 & Year 13)

Physics is the study of the world we live in and the many secrets it holds. From tiny particles like electrons in wires which drive our electrical systems to the large entities like black holes and stars, physics is devoted to removing the mystery and harnessing the knowledge of nature to better our lives and the environment.

At Cashmere High, we follow a program covering many basic principles of Physics such as the wave-particle duality of light, the wonders of magnetism and electricity generation, the motion of rigid bodies and even delve into the intricacies of the nuclear world. There is also a healthy appreciation of the many personalities and historical discoveries that have created and shaped the modern world.

A key skill taught is the ability to independently analyse and think-through solutions to complex situations and problems. Therefore, the Physics student is well equipped to move into tertiary study of Engineering (Environmental, Marine, Civil, Chemical, Mechanical, Electrical, Mechatronics, Software etc). Further areas of study where the Physics student will find their skills invaluable include Medicine, Finance/Economics/Business, Computer Science, Architecture, Veterinary Medicine, Sports Medicine, Radiography, and any Science.

Additionally, students completing Physics at this level will find the skills learnt applicable to Trades areas such as Building, Plumbing, Electrical repair and servicing, Machining and Fabrication and the residential/commercial/industrial Electrician fields.

In this fast-changing world, students need to be ready to adapt and Physics provides a fantastic base from which to move forward in any direction.mal ​​​​​​