For Teachers

Welcome to TALKFEST 2014


Interactive Learning Experiences Bringing Schools and Scientists Together

Engaging students in learning that supports development of Scientific Literacy, Health Literacy and Communication

TALKFEST is about Youth engaging with Science to talk about Issues for our time.

LENScience TALKFEST 2014 is for your class!

Thursday March 13th (New Zealand)

Wednesday March 12th (Cook Islands)

What is TALKFEST 2014

Lord Robert Winston

  • TALKFEST 2014 will see young people from New Zealand and the Cook Islands debating issues that matter with internationally famous scientist and TV presenter, Professor Lord Robert Winston.
  • TALKFEST 2014 consists of two interactive webinars broadcast live from the University of Auckland’s Fale Pasikifa on Thursday March 13th (NZ time)
  • The TALKFESTS are designed to enable Year 7-13 students to engage with the science community and with each other in discussions about socio-scientific issues.
  • You can join TALKFEST 2014 in your classroom and participate in LiveChat throughout the event.
  • Schools can apply for 10 students to be a part of the STUDIO AUDIENCE at Fale Pasifika during each of the TALKFESTs.
  •  The Blog BLAST student competition provides a pre-learning activity for teachers and a chance to join Professor Winston on the Expert Student Panel.

Target Audience


  • Year 12-13 Science and Biology Students in New Zealand and Cook Islands schools
  • Year 7-10 classes in New Zealand and Cook Islands schools
  • Schools from other Pacific Nations that can access an adequate broadband internet connection are welcome to take part.

How do schools take part in TALKFEST 2014


  • Schools can take part either in the connected ONLINE Audience or in the Auckland STUDIO AUDIENCE.
  • To find out whether your school has adequate broadband capacity, click the TECH CHECK Button>>
  • LiveChat will link all parts of the audience together.
  • Students from throughout New Zealand may compete in the Blog BLAST competition to be selected to be a part of the Live Audience Panel.
  • All schools wishing to take part in the TALKFESTS must register.

TALKFEST 2014 Discussion Topcs

Puberty-13Reproductive Technologies-13

  • The topics for discussion are:
    • Puberty for Year 7-10 (10:30 am, NZ time)
    • Reproductive Technologies for Year 12-13 (1:30 pm, NZ time)
  • These topics have been chosen because they are relevant to the students, the science community and society, and link to objectives in the New Zealand and Cook Islands curricula.
  • The TALKFESTS are designed to link into your learning programmes either at the time of the live events or later in the year.
  • An online discussion community will enable students to continue to engage in conversation about these issues.
  • While the related learning activities are predominantly designed for use in science, health and biology classes, the contexts of Puberty and Reproductive Technologies offer opportunities to link to many other learning areas.

TALKFEST 2014 Blog BLAST Competition


  • Blogs are an important part of the modern scientists’ communication tool-kit.
  • The Blog BLAST competition is intended to provide teachers with a preparatory learning activity. This can be used to engage students in thinking about the discussion topics, science communication and the role of science in society.
  • The winning blogs will be posted alongside those of prominent scientists on the LENScience Connect Blog (site launching March 12, 2014).
  • The top four New Zealand student bloggers will win a trip to Auckland to meet Professor Winston and participate in the TALKFEST 2014 Expert Student Panels.
  • A prize package for top Cook Islands student bloggers will be announced shortly.
  • Please check the student Blog BLAST page for more information about the competition

Supporting Learning Resources


  • In addition to the Blog BLAST activity, the resource links below are provided for teachers. Please check the Curriculum Links page to see how these fit into teaching and learning goals.
  • Years 12 – 13: Assisted Reproductive Technologies
    • This is an ideal context to use in several areas of a typical Year 12 – 13 learning programme (please refer to the Curriculum Links page).
    • The learning resource attached below was developed by LENScience and Fertility Associates to support Year 13 learning programmes, however it could equally be used with Year 12 learning programmes.
  • Years 7 – 10: Me, Myself, My Environment – Growing Up:
    • This learning resource has been written for Level 5 of the New Zealand Curriculum, however does have some activities appropriate for Level 4.
    • Linked here you will find the initial set of learning activities associated with this module.
      1. Extract – Set A Growing Up Teacher Resources  – A resource outline for 4-5 lessons using the readings and resource sheets linked below.
      2. Growing Up Reading – A student reading to be used over several lessons in conjunction with the Growing Up Resource Sheets.
      3. Growing Up Reading – Essentials Ed. –  A version of the reading linked in 2 above for use with younger students or less confident readers.
      4. Growing Up Resource Sheets – Student resource sheets linked to the readings.
      5. Set A Growing Up Powerpoint– Visual resources to support learning within a classroom environment
    • The full module of work is part of the Healthy Start to Life Education for Adolescents Project and can be purchased from LENScience.
    • Research evidence showing the impact of these learning activities (within the full modules) on development of scientific literacy can be found in the LENScience Story and in the research article below, for which there is a direct link from our website.
      • Bay JL, Mora HA, Sloboda DM, Morton SM, Vickers MH, Gluckman PD. (2012) Adolescent Understanding of DOHaD concepts: a school-based intervention to support knowledge translation and behaviour change. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, 3 (6), 469-482.

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