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Science education at Wanganui City College contributes to the development of individuals who are able to understand the relevance of Science in their everyday life and its importance to a modern industrial economy.                 

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A differentiated junior Science programme is taught in Years Nine and Ten and covers basic Biology, Chemistry and Physics. In addition, students are taught practical laboratory skills, investigation skills and information research skills.

Students may then choose to follow the NCEA Level One Science course in Year 11 which prepares them for Level Two and Three Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Alternatively, students may opt to complete the Internal Science course or Horticulture.

The department is sensitive to individual educational needs and provides a broad mix of internally and externally assessed Unit and Achievement Standards. The department is well resourced and laboratory refurbishments are expected to begin late 2009 to improve teaching and laboratory space.

Science Staff

Geoff Osborn; Head of Department, Science and Teacher in Charge Chemistry, BSc (Hons), PhD (Leeds UK) PGCE
Dave Ellwood; Science and Teacher in Charge Horticulture, BSc Dip Teach
Leighanne Signal; Science and Teacher in Charge Biology, MSc Dip Teach
Blanche Cloete;


Biology is the study of living things and the course offered at City College is a balance between ecology, structure, genetics and evolution.It is a fully integrated course with each stage building on the previous one and concepts developing in complexity in line with the rise in the curriculum level.

Level One focuses on basic anatomy of cells and their importance as the building blocks of all living things. Basic genetics ideas are also explored including simple dihybrid crosses. Ecology basics are also explored as the importance of relationships between all living things are shown.

Level Two continues to build on the knowledge gained at level One. Cell structures are explored further including conducting experiments on cell functions. Single celled organisms as well as plant and animal cells are explored using a light microscope and students develop the ability to draw what they see on slides that they prepare.

Genetics concepts are further developed along with the structure and function of DNA. Basic concepts of evolution are also introduced at this level. Ecology prinsples are put to practical test as students carry out a study of a habitat to better understand the relationships between all parts of an environment both living and non living.

Level Three of the course continues to explore genetic principles and the techniques used in modern DNA applications are explored. Evolution in the human context is also explored which introduces the ideas of palaeontology as well as cultural evolution.

Staff in the department are Mr Dave Ellwood and Leighanne Signal.


Year 12 - Year Planner
Year 12 - NCEA Level 2

Horticulture is one of the growth areas within the school. 

The Level One part of the course focuses on the anatomy, lifecycle and care of plants. It is a very practical course with students required to demonstrate their ability to create, plant and maintain a garden. This is achieved within the Schools own raised garden complex. A part of the course is also use of plants in a landscaping setting. Students are introduced to the business of landscaping and the uses of plants within the industry.

Level Two of the course builds on level One but now focuses on growing plants as a business. Farming systems are introduced as a concept and the importance of water as an input into this system is explored extensively. Landscaping is developed further with a challenging practical task to assess two sites in the school environs and to redesign these to meet theoretical user needs.

The Level Three course focuses primarily on the business of agriculture and Horticulture and its importance to the economy of New Zealand. Students undertake extensive research projects into produce which is economically important to New Zealand. Students also learn about the impact on the environment of farming in New Zealand as well as exploring some of the measures introduced into farming systems to minimise this impact.

Staff in the department are Mr Dave Ellwood BSc Dip Teach and Leanne Signal MSc?or PHd? Dip Teach. In addition experts in the industry are used as guests or visits to farms are used to make the course as relevant as is possible.


Year 13