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Sourcing materials - consumables and equipment

An active science programme will involve using materials that cannot be recovered for future use – these are listed in this resource as ‘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.

Consumable items and equipment need to be bought from appropriate suppliers. The lists provide approximate costs for many items, and teachers are encouraged to ‘shop around’ to find the best value. (The costs given are at the date of the last update, which is given on the homepage .)

Lower-cost sources

Various organisations, such as the school’s parent-teacher association, businesses, or other local community organisations, may be able to help provide resources.

Many materials are common household items and can be provided by parents at the start of the year or unit of work. A sample request letter to parents is provided in this resource to help set up such a collection.

Other useful items can be collected over the years as opportunities arise. A suggested list of such items is given in the ‘Recommended collectable items’ page.

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

Other sources

Sources of materials can also be obtained through liaison with local intermediate and secondary schools and tertiary institutions, who may also be prepared to lend equipment and materials.

The New Zealand Association of Science Educators  in your region may also be able to suggest alternative local sources or help to set up partnerships with other schools.