WESTEM projects funded in 2021 #
Te Hononga Akoranga - COMET received funding this year from the Ministry of Pacific People’s Toloa Kenese Fund to pilot a Participatory Science Platform in west Auckland. This new programme, named WeSTEM Pico Projects, provides project-based learning opportunities for schools and community groups in west Auckland, with a particular focus on engaging Pasifika youth.
The projects are smaller and shorter in duration, but still offer the same partnerships between STEM experts and communities and fun, hands-on learning.
Congratulations to our very first WeSTEM projects that were funded in May 2021:
Leata’ata Samoan Preschool – Sina and the Tuna
Combining Samoan mythology with ecological and environmental education, the students at Leata’ata preschool are learning all about our local tuna (eels). With the help of Whitebait Connection, students will also explore their local awa and do a stream clean up to protect their natural eel habitats.
Kelston Intermediate School – Te Mara Rongoa o Onewherowhero
What is rongoa and how can traditional indigenous knowledge support our community’s sustainability, wellbeing, and cultural identity? These are the big questions that students will explore as they design and cultivate a mara rongoa (Maori medicinal garden). This is a collaborative community project supported by Te Kawerau A Maki, Kelston Community Hub and Sustainable Schools.
Ranui135 Youth Trust – Above the Rim
Ranui135 engages with rangatahi in the Ranui community with a range of after-school events and activities, investing and growing youth leadership and community pride. Their evening storytelling and basketball clubs have combined forces with the University of Auckland’s Exercise Science department to explore the intriguing question – how can we jump higher and dunk better?
Glen Eden Primary School – Bug, Insect and Skink Science Sanctuary
Students at Glen Eden Primary have always been fascinated by the bugs, insects and skinks they see in their school garden. With support from scientists at Ecomatters and Garden to Table, students will be researching the different roles these creatures play in the ecosystem and how we can attract and protect helpful insects into the garden.
Parakai School & Kiwrious Limited – Kiwrious about plants
The Parakai School community has planted over 800 trees in their local area. But they want to know, what makes these trees grow? What can we use these trees for, and how were native plants used in the past by our Maori and Pacific ancestors? Students have teamed up with the Kiwrious scientists and local community leaders and will work together to integrate scientific data and traditional knowledge to answer these questions.