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Consumables list

An active science programme involves using materials that cannot be recovered for future use – these are "consumables".

The list of suggested consumables includes sourcing information, suggestions for use, and relevant notes. To go to the desired letter group, click on the link in the list below.












Downloadable version

Download the Microsoft Excel version of the "Consumables" list and adapt it to suit your school’s particular needs. Extra columns can be added to record such information as:

  • stock levels of existing equipment and materials
  • priority for obtaining new equipment and materials
  • dates, prices, and sources of purchases.

These records provide the information needed for regular stocktaking and for planning new purchases or collection campaigns.

Excel icon. Science Toolkit - Consumables list (Excel 51 KB)

Word icon. Science Toolkit - Consumables list (Word 112 KB)

Lower-cost sources of consumables

Consumables such as chemicals can be obtained in a variety of qualities or grades, which are reflected in the price. A school science programme does not usually require high-grade (Analar grade) chemicals. Many substances of a suitable quality can be bought from a supermarket or garden centre.

Low-cost alternatives can be used for some items, such as spring clothes pegs instead of alligator clips.

Many materials are common household items and can be provided by parents at the start of the year or unit of work.

Word 2007 icon. Sample request letter (Word 2007 15 KB)

Other useful items can be collected over the years as opportunities arise.

  • Bones (for precautions when handling bones, feathers, and birds’ nests – see page 32,  Safety and science: A guidance manual for New Zealand school (Revised edition, 2000)  .
  • Feathers
  • Birds’ nests (preferably stored in zip-lock plastic bags)
  • Shells
  • Cones (from pine and conifer trees)
  • Stones, rocks, and minerals
  • Leaf skeletons
  • Sand
  • Dried insects
  • Fishing floats
  • Pressed leaves and flowers
  • Seeds
  • Old appliances or toys
  • Cross-sections of tree trunks.

For storing these items, large four-litre margarine or mayonnaise plastic containers are useful. They are often available from restaurants.